Monday, August 15, 2011

Annie gets her groove back.

I'm going to be honest: I was starting to contemplate giving up on being a mountain biker.

I started to flirt with this idea a few weeks back due to a real dislike of how I felt after each ride. Constant frustration and lack of improvement really began eating away at my excitement to the point where Michael would say "Let's ride this weekend." and my first thought would be, "Again?".

Where this desire to give up came from, I'm not sure. In the beginning it was so much fun to go out with Michael, even though it was freezing at the time. Somewhere around May or June I started to plateau and every ride I felt like I was disappointing Michael with my slow speed, fear of rocky hills and crappy endurance. Biking wasn't really fun anymore, and I couldn't figure out how to turn it all around --- thus, I started to consider just stopping.

Then this past weekend Michael suggested we go to Cutler and spend the day on the actual trails and not just the lake loop that I like to do. I was uncharacteristically a little excited about going, and I'm going to tell you why. As girly as it is, Michael bought me riding gloves that are super cute, and I was looking forward to using them.

Yup. New accessories turned out to be the key to getting me out there. I'll give you a second to finish your eye roll before I continue.



So I should also mention that I was feeling pretty comfortable with the ride for the day because I knew Michael had just been on the same trails two days before and knew exactly what parts I could handle and what I'd need to jump off and walk. I've mentioned before that not being familiar with the trails is a real huge frustration for me because I never feel I can work on my gear shifting, maneuvering or endurance because I have to stop every 10-20 feet.

Well this trip was so different. Michael told me beforehand that there would be some familiar riding at first since the trails were off of the loop I know so well. I even knew where on the loop we'd be exiting -- so I felt pretty comfortable. Michael proceeded to tell me that the part he was sure I would like was only accessible through some janky sections he was sure I wouldn't like. Since I knew the funky, rooty, rocky section was temporary, I didn't have a hissy fit about having to get off my bike a bunch. It was official, Michael had figured me out.

Finally we made it back to the trail Michael had scouted out for me. It was awesome. The trail was smooth and fun with lots of turns and a few inclines. I was able to go at a fast and consistent speed while also practicing shifting since I was able to see a hill well before I got to it. I had a blast, and because Michael took some video of us on the trail he was able to give me some feedback on my technique once we reviewed the tape.

So it seems I'm over my "whiny quitting phase" and moving into my "let's perfect my skillz" (that's right...skillz...with a "z") phase. I'm already pumped for another ride.

Thanks Michael!!


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