Mountain Biking Is Like Skiing Is Like Life
…in the sense that you get what you focus on…
When I first moved to Utah (with my boyfriend Kyle) I was pretty eager to immerse myself in the outdoor lifestyle that is intensely prevalent. I mean, it’s sunny over 300 days a year – why wouldn’t you?
I decided this was going to be the year that I would take up mountain biking and add skiing to my winter sport quiver.
Kyle had lived in Utah for 10 years previously so he had experience mountain biking and was quite adamant that I too, would love it. Of course I trusted him; so before I had even set foot with a bike on a MOUNTAIN, I dropped over $1,000 in gear.
Off we went!
On our way to the trail he asked me, “Do you know what you’re getting yourself into?”
[Not a clue, but I just dropped $1,000 so we’re goin’]
“Not really”, I said, now starting to wonder what exactly I had gotten myself into. I don’t know, you’re just biking – how hard can this be?
Hard. It can be hard…and scary…and quite dangerous.
That first time we went I had the advantage of a pretty huge adrenaline rush which provided energy reserves in those necessary moments. But let me paint you a picture – you’re biking up a MOUNTAIN, then you’re biking back down a MOUNTAIN. It’s a difficult experience to explain unless you’ve tried it, but the frustrations of trying to navigate a bicycle up and over obstacles, shifting gears, exhausted, all while your feet are clipped into pedals – is a challenging feat to say the least.
And somehow I keep running over rocks – I see them and think – I do NOT want to climb over that, but then there I am, climbing over that same frickin’ rock! Surely there has to be a trick to this.
It wasn’t until several rides later that it hit me – “Oohhh”, I said to Kyle – “I get it now!”. You have to look where you want to go.
[This also comes in handy while you’re riding along a cliff – on a path that’s a foot wide with rattlesnakes potentially looming in the brush beside you.]
This realization didn’t exactly making biking easy, but it did make it easier to understand. The funny part about it is that even though I had made that connection, I still had to constantly remind myself – look where you want to go. I need to apply this to more things in life – I thought.
Then came ski season – the big season – the real season – and for some, the ONLY season. It’s a childlike experience living in ski town in the winter. You’ve never witnessed so many adults with pure joyful anticipation about an upcoming snowfall. When is it going to snow? How much? Which mountain will get more? Where are you skiing? – ‘I’m calling in sick’
As a matter of fact – the CEO of the company I worked at for a short time said – ” If it’s a powder day, you won’t see me until noon”.
Oh it’s like that? – I thought.
All this talk made a person wonder – can this really be THAT awesome? Yes it can.
Onto my next challenge! I had been snowboarding for the past 15 years or so and was convinced that I would pick up skiing and then I could float between skiing and snowboarding as I pleased. [Spoiler alert: I only snowboarded one time and all the while I wished I was skiiing]
So there I was again, investing in ski boots, gear, helmets, goggles, etc, before I had even set foot on the mountain.
A friend from the ski shop was the first to take me out – she had raced and been an instructor years before, but that didn’t change the fact that I was [again] green.
The details, complexities, and importance of your ski boot alone are enough to take up an entire page. I won’t bore you, just know there is A LOT going on. So now I’m stepping into bindings, facing forward (which I’m not used to), and dealing with these goofy poles. There’s a correct and specific way to use your poles too, and it’s not dragging them behind you like a rudder, so hard that your wrists hurt afterward. Which I did for at least the first 5 times I skied.
Now look, skiing isn’t hard. Any dope can fly down a mountain. However, skiing correctly and skiing well – is the challenge. Plus you’re on a MOUNTAIN…and there’s altitude…and you’re tired.
Not to mention, almost everyone that took me out skiing had been a skier for 20 years or so – which meant their tips were out of date and I truly don’t think they could recall what it was like to start this whole thing…as a newbie.
Each time I went, I learned to do one thing better. Someone would give me a piece of advice that would resonate, but I was still missing something. Additionally, I realized that a lot of the advice was like golf advice – at the end of the day – you need to golf like you or you need to ski like you – not how everyone else suggests you do it.
Soon after – I realized if I watched ahead of me further, and focused on the places I wanted to navigate that it became easier. Here we go again! I shared my realization with another coworker at the ski shop and his response was, “Oh totally!”.
HELLO! Was anyone going to tell me this? Mountain biking, now skiing – why am I left in the dark here about this one trick that changes the entire experience?
I began to seriously question my company. Only kidding.
What I did become curious about was the connection I had made, that seemed to make everything easier. Mountain biking is like skiing is like life – you get what you focus on.
We are frequently called to recognize the present moment, but often we don’t realize it until the moment has passed. We are urged to consider the Law of Attraction and the power of positivity – especially with manifestation. I don’t believe we choose to ignore those signals. We just tend to get so caught up in the frustration of the moment, the fixation on why something isn’t working instead of being curious how it can.
What if we choose to see the path of least resistance? Or the path that leads to success? Or just a positive outcome? I assure you it’s possible.
What do you think? Do you have a similar story? Please comment, or feel free to share if this is something that resonated with you.