When I was in my thirties and first started out on my weight loss journey, I lived in Florida. There was a paved bicycle trail that went from one city to another, and a friend and I would ride it a few times a week for some exercise. My favorite part of the ride was when the path went through a wooded area. It was always so pretty and a lot cooler, because of all the shade the trees provided. I always took my time going through these areas of the trail because I enjoyed it so much.
Now I am in my forties and I live in Tennessee. My husband loves to go mountain biking and had been asking me to go with him. I have to admit, back when he first wanted me to go I was not too enthusiastic. I felt too out of shape to even try and get on a regular cruiser bicycle, much less a mountain bike! I promised him I would give it a try though. We were newly married and I wanted us to be able to do things together. Well, my first time out on the trail was a fiasco! I was riding my bike that I got from Walmart and let’s just say, although it was called a mountain bike, it definitely wasn’t put together well enough to actually do what it was made to do. I ended up walking the bike back to the car and sitting and reading a book while my husband finished the trail by himself. From the little bit I actually rode the trail (maybe 5 minutes) I realized that I had no clue how to ride on a mountain biking trail. This was not a paved path through the woods, but an actual dirt path with roots and rocks along the trail. All I could think to myself as I walked my bike back to the car is how there would be no way in hell that I would try that again!
A year went by and I never tried again. I started going to the gym regularly and began losing weight and gaining more confidence. My husband began wanting me to give it another try and I promised him I would when springtime rolled around. Springtime came and I kept my promise. This time, I rode one of his mountain bikes because he had gotten another one, and therefore there was something better for me to ride. I was so scared when we first started out. Here I am, just turning 44 (gulp) and I am beginning a new adventure in my life. Mountain biking.
I won’t lie; my first time out for real was both scary and exhilarating. I was scared that I would crash into one of the many trees and get hurt, but the thrill of going down hills and just getting some exercise outdoors kept me going.
When I completed my first ride, I knew I wanted to try it again, and I did. I’ve been a total of 5 times this year so far, and I plan on going a lot more over the course of the summer. I have had a few minor crashes to be honest, but they were not terrible. I am hoping to get my own bike sometime this year, but for now I will continue to ride the spare one we that we have. Every time I ride, I learn more and more and gain more confidence in my abilities, and what the bike can do. Having to learn what gears you need to be in, and when to shift into them has been the most challenging thing for me so far. Slowly but surely, I’m getting the hang of it though.
There is definitely room for improvement for me, and that’s okay because everyone starts somewhere. One thing I have learned in this stage of my life is that it is never too late to try something new. I may get passed on the trail a lot, but I don’t care. I’m out there and I’m having fun!
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