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She Loves Hills, She Loves Them Not

Thoughts on learning to relax a little and enjoying the ride.

Just a couple of days ago I rode further, faster, on my bicycle than I’ve ever ridden before. I only started riding 10 months ago after receiving a mountain bike for Christmas. I’ve been riding my mountain bike on the road at a park outside of Austin, TX. It’s a Shangri-la of awesomeness. Lake Travis spoons it from all sides and the road takes you about 6.3 miles when you do the full loop.
Since I’ve never really ridden mountain bikes before, I’ve been warming up on the road and only once popped my “mountain bike trail” cherry. I have scars. And some remaining lumps under my skin that maybe I should be concerned about.

Instead of stressing over the scars or worrying about my aesthetic value, I’ve resolved myself that they are badges of honor. Even though one of the scars is admittedly from a night of flammable margaritas to which I have no recollection. I think that was a good night and obviously left for another blog post.

But until I have a shit ton of protection like knee pads, elbow pads, and ego pads, I stay on the road waiting to tackle my nemesis once again and burn as many calories between now and then. The funny thing is, at the end of my 26 miles, which I know is peanuts for those of you who have cycling athletic prowess. I, on the other hand, am a clunky moob and even butterflies pass me from time to time.

This time, however, was different. I rode my 26 miles around the loop faster than I ever have, with a 1263 ft. elevation gain according to my cycling app.

So, let’s talk about that. I’ll call them by their given evil name, hills. Being the OCD freak that I am, I numbered all the hills and gave them names. That way I would know when one was going to rear its ugly head and cause undue perspiration and swearing. Lots and lots of swearing.

However, in my attempt to “organize” my ride I did myself a disservice. I’d be on the sweet hill number three that I refer to as “twisty Trois” but I’d be thinking the whole time about “sexy six”. Which I later affectionately began referencing as dick punch hill. (Thanks, DL for the vernacular.)

This is me in my head.  Omg, I’m already on twisty Trois??? Only three more and I get my dick punched!!  

For some reason, my mind always presses fast forward to the hard parts.

There are three difficult hills for me on the loop around Pace Bend Park. They are quite evenly spread apart. But every time I tackle one and get past it, instead of enjoying the big “Wheeeee!” on the other side, I can’t help but start thinking about the next “Omg, everything hurts and I’m dying” hill.

I find myself robbing ME of the good stuff because I’ll start worrying about the future hard stuff.

I’ve realized I do that in pretty much every area of my life. I’m worried about what I’ll do once I’m fired. Do I think I’ll get fired? No, I like my job, and as far as I can tell they like me. I worry about when I or people I love get sick. Are any of us sick right now? No.

I worry about my relationship. Because it took so damn long to finally get to a good one, I worry it will go away. Are their problems? No, none. It’s a daily magical gift of awesomeness.

My friend Sherry, who always brings me clarity will ask me if I’m happy right where I am and I always say yes. Things are good and I’m in a good place. So why do I think about future hills and allow them to rob me of a perfect moment of wheeee?

I think it’s a couple of things.

For one, it’s a lack of trust.

I’ll lack trust in my ability to handle difficult situations. Even though I’ve survived situations that would have sunk most people. If I had to actually say I liked something about myself, aside from my goofiness, I would say my power of perseverance. You’ve never seen someone fight as I’ve fought for my life.

But aside from trusting myself to survive or makes things right, it’s my lack of trust for God and that he will always have my best interest at heart. That’s what we call “trying to control shit you have no control over.”

The second thing is, not reeling myself in and bathing in the gratitude of the moment. The wheee moments are so good. I get so sad when they are gone. But if I work hard and keep peddling forward they always come back.

When I feel off-balance, and I have lately, I bring myself back through gratitude. I thank God for my hills and valleys and ask for Him to help me see the value in both.

And lastly, it’s about living in the now and not making mountains out of molehills. Most things aren’t as bad as we make them out to be in our own heads. Including hills.

On my big ride this week I did something new. I completely got out of my own head. I listened to my music. I basked in the gloriousness of a mild Texas day, finally. And I dodged all the butterflies. On one loop around I was daydreaming away and realized I had to lower my gears a bit but not by much. Then all of a sudden I looked up and I was on top of sexy six. I was so in the moment and so completely not worried about it, that I suddenly found myself on top of my nemesis with nary an ounce of sweat.

When we expect the worse and we look for it and that becomes our focus, then that is our reality.

But when we let go, stay in gratitude and stop thinking so damn hard about everything, we slay our dragons and don’t even worry about it.

All my life lessons go back to the same thing. Let go.

Breath, relax, and enjoy your life, the hills, and the valleys. Stop overthinking your overthinking….

And go ride your bike.

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