Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Concerning mountain biking

Specifically, why do I do it? Why do I cram my butt into padded, not-at-all attractive, spandex shorts? Why do I continue to stuff my cumbersome chest into a too-small sports bra and suffer the effects of armpit-boob? Why do I choose this particular extreme sport over another, like say, street luging or base jumping? Wait - that actually sounds fun and probably involves cooler clothing – I’ll give it earnest consideration and mention it to the kids.

What attracted me to riding my bicycle over tree roots and down jagged, rocky slopes wasn’t the risk of catapulting head-first over my handle bars and eating a pine tree. No, that wasn’t it. I wasn’t interested in mountain biking because it looked easy or leisurely, or that it wouldn’t make me sweaty or make my clothes smell bad. That was NOT it. The only reason I’m up on the mountain is because my kids are up there, pretty much kicking ass. So because they decided to buy mountain bikes and get all tricksy and bold, I’m up there making a mess of a perfectly good manicure so that I don’t lose sight of them as they morph into angsty, distant pre-teens who like to do really cool stuff without their parents around. Of course had they chosen bull riding as their “thing” I’d probably be complaining about how rodeo clowns freak me out and wondering if chaps make my butt look big. Or I’d be dead, either way.

Point being, I wouldn’t have chosen this sport without my kids’ influence. Sometimes the irony of the situation cracks me up considering I’m their teacher. I’m learning that it doesn’t always work that way.

I’m also learning that I make the most idiotic facial expression when I’m concentrating really hard on not falling off my bike and dying. I can only compare my facial expressions to the one people usually make the instant they realize a spider just landed on their arm. Or the moment they open their property tax bill.

When I’m on my mountain bike, I look like I’m perpetually freaking out. Or constipated.

Or sometimes I'm just closing my eyes and wishing the big scary mountain away in a puff of pretty purple smoke.

Or there are those times when I'm leaning off the side of my bike and watching the giant tree come at my head in slow motion, wondering if I kissed my children goodbye and if I had done all the things in life I had hoped to.

And sometimes, when I finally make it (in one un-mutilated piece) to the bottom of the mountain, I feel tough and assured – as though I’ve accomplished something I didn’t set out to accomplish but did anyway. As though a goal was set for me and without even knowing I’d be capable of doing it, I did it.
I know I look foolish and I also know there's a pretty good chance I’m going to really hurt myself one of these days, but apparently I’m okay with that.


Blogger preTzel said...

Just please tell me you wear a helmet!? It's important. :)

I think mountain biking sounds cool but:

1. My ass hurts sitting on those seats.

2. My ass hurts sitting on those small, hard seats.

3. My ass hurts for days after sitting on those small, hard seats.

Those 3 reasons deter me from getting on a bike. I used to ride for hours when we lived on the farm. Up and down dirt roads, flying down the highway in glee, and then racing my cousins to see who could "get there" faster. I'm still trying to find "there". :D

6:26 PM  

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