So I’ve been thinking a lot about change.
I took up competitive tennis two years ago and it quickly became really meaningful in my life. I looked forward to workouts twice a week with my team and played three league seasons a year. It was something new and fun to think about and work on, in the hardest year of my life up to that point.
Then an injury came out of nowhere and stopped my running and tennis cold turkey. If I try to do either one, I can barely walk on my right foot all day.
I’ve had to switch sports for the foreseeable future. My tennis team went to districts and I was out. Now I’m sitting out an entire season. I can either whine about it or find something else I love. And I hate whining.
So I got a Cannondale, oh-so-light, carbon-frame road bike from an old college friend who owns bike shops around here. I go into the shop regularly and crow, “Do you guys know how much I love this bike?!” and they say, “Yeah yeah, we know! You want to marry it.”
I’m now decked out with all the accoutrements. Hand tire pump, Camelbak, hitch and bike rack on the car, odometer computer, clip-in cleats. (I haven’t yet succumbed to the cycling fashions–why do the clothes have to be so ugly?!)
I didn’t really WANT to be a biker, and I don’t have any friends who bike, but if I do something, I generally do it in a pretty big and committed way.
The first day I rode around for awhile and took my bike back in to the shop the next day. I asked Brian if I could have the clip-in pedals installed now, which he refused to do the day I left with the bike. NO, he said, you’re not ready. You want to wreck and die?
So I did another ride from my house in Lindon all the way to Vivian Park, up the canyon, where the Bonneville Trail ends. It’s so beautiful, animals and river and trees and breeze and mountains and so much green, and the smell of earth and trees.
Check out the photos of the terrible views I am forced to endure on my bike. Not to mention deer in the path, a flock of wild turkeys (I know where they live), and the extra protein I get from accidentally eating a lot of bugs.
At this point I’m starting to “get” the appeal of this sport. I go in and ask Brian again about the lock-in pedals, and he said “NO YOU CAN’T, give it three weeks!”
Next day, I get to Vivian Park and I call this guy I used to date who is a competitive cyclist about how the trail ends and I don’t know where to go. He said, “Turn right and go four miles up South Fork, great ride.” (See photo below of the turn to go up, with the twisty road sign.)
I said, “Isn’t it really steep? I’m not worried about getting up, but won’t coming down be scary?”
Silence for a minute. “Duh.” he said, “That’s the whole point, coming downhill!”
Great life lesson. Quit living in fear, just go for it. Don’t do all the work and be afraid to capitalize on the rewards. (Don’t think about the guy I met at the top of South Fork one day who had just spent two weeks in the hospital after a bike accident!)
So I did it. Downhill FAST. And O! M! G! I discovered my need for speed. I love it! Every day I don’t cycle now, I’m wishing I could. When you see my busted-up, bloody body on the side of the road when I hit a rock at 35 mph, don’t let your first thought be,
“Fat lot of good all those green smoothies did her.”
(Part 2, the whole point of this, tomorrow.)