Single tracks, bruises and falling... in love
About two months have passed since I started mountain biking, I have become better at getting my feet out the cleats in times of need, and I think I have become stronger on the climbs (at least I don’t feel that mixture of nausea and lung burn halfway up the mountain anymore!). But more than anything- I have fallen in love with single tracks! Like many love stories, this one had a rocky (!) start. I had done one or two easy single track rides in slow motion getting tips on body positioning, eye line, picking a line etc. but not ridden many proper tracks. Two weeks ago, I did.
Taking Ou Kaapse Weg up for endurance training, we rode into Silvermine to come down the different single tracks. The first one was Boulders, I had never done it before but felt ready to give it a try. About 50 meters into the route, I fell in a corner. Next corner, same thing. Another corner. Yip. By now I felt like a teletubby somebody had pushed down a mountain, bouncing down head over heals. ‘Ok stop wait why are you falling?’ my friend asks me. ‘Because I’m crap!’ I answer and get back on my bike. Three more falls before I get down to the parking lot.
A few hours later I sink my aching self into a hot bath and I gasp when I see how blue the whole left side of my body is! I don’t think I’ve ever fallen that much (on land). It’s hard, falling on land. Learning to surf I fell A LOT, but water- ah, so forgiving!
I lie in the bath trying to think something other than ‘I am never getting on that bike again, ever!’. I remember the corners, the bike slipping out from under me and I groan, slipping down and letting the water cover me- it’s so humbling (and embarrassing) to be an absolute beginner again, I can’t see how I will ever master this! Visualising another corner and crash, my eyes fly open and I sit up spluttering! That’s it! Seeing! I was so frightened of every obstacle and turn right in front of me, I forgot what Gary and Stu had said to us over and over- look ahead, never look down. On every single corner and obstacle where I fell, I was staring myself blind at that corner and obstacle! How could I possible make it over and around if I couldn’t even see what lay ahead!
So this past Tuesday I was ready. I was turning this (abusive!) relationship around. Chin up, eyes open I came down Boulders, Mamba and Fairy Garden faster than I thought I could, and without falling even once. Funny how cycling mirrors life, (or if it’s the other way round…;) focus on the obstacles, and you’ll fall… chin up and look ahead- and you cruise down fast, safe with the only
falling being- in love!