If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ll recall the original Pisgah Death March was my tearful and lonely Monster Cross journey last September. Version 2.0 was a death march of a different sort, and not so much in the heart of Pisgah, but rather a small snippet of “baby Pisgah”. My first experience was one I’ll remember for the rest of my life, and unfortunately, so will that nice boy who had the guts and the patience to take my dumb ass to Pisgah.
I don’t remember where we started, nor does it matter, but we had a nice little fire road climb to our trail destination. Feeling a little rough from the night before (Danny Brown show at the Orange Peel. Enough said.), I suffered like a dog and sweat like a pig. Once we got to the trail, my legs already felt like Jell-O and we had a bit of climbing to go. I struggled to keep up, but kept pedaling as to not look like a total chump. I had a rough time on the wet roots, mostly because I have NOT been riding my MTB lately.
I used to be an ok MTB’er. Those skinny tires have made me soft.
Wreck #1. I took a crappy angle on a wet root and hit the ground. No big deal…not a bad digger. It hurt, but I was more concerned with looking like a total D-bag. I got up, brushed myself off, and hopped back on my bike. Oh well, I got this, right?
We were at a chill pace, rolling along a flat, non-technical section. I decided to bunny hop a broken tree branch on the trail, but bobbled a bit when my back tire made contact. I slid towards the right, tried to correct my direction, and OVER corrected right off the edge. I had a moment of sheer panic when I realized I was going off the bank. In that same moment, I flew over the handlebars and my face made contact with a small tree. I immediately wanted to cry, but managed to save myself from the humiliation of crying in front of a boy…on a mountain bike…in Pisgah. I couldn’t tell what hurt worse…my face…or my pride.I rode like a frightened little child the rest of the way up. We stopped to eat a snack, and I sat down to collect myself. I was putting on my best tough face, but the truth hurt. No really, the truth HURT SO BAD. I was pretty angry at myself for being a dumbass. Since I had such a great performance on the easy trail, we wouldn’t be taking the planned route, and headed downhill for a while.
And in typical Archer fashion (CC: Brian Archer), I rode the technical sections without wrecking my brains out. So, so typical.
My shoulder will barely move, I have gnarly whiplash, my face looks stupid, and it hurts to pee because my handlebars made permanent residence in my belly…but I’ll get back on that bike. You know why? Because it’s always worth it. The joy my bike brings me is worth every drop of blood.
Am I scared? Hell yes I am.
There are times when I don’t ever want to feel that feeling again. The terror of commitment can be overwhelming. I know I’ll never experience all those great moments without a little pain, suffering, and heartbreak. It’s a risk. You look at the big picture and try to choose your lines wisely, but you can’t be totally prepared for the ride. You might bobble and throw yourself off a mountain, or you might nail it and gain the most amazing feeling in the world.
So, I have to chance this. I have to grit my teeth and choose my path. I can’t let up because I’m afraid of getting hurt. I can’t stop taking risks because it might not work out. I have to commit and let myself go. Sometimes you get a chance to wake up to something beautiful, and sometimes you’re left to lick your wounds alone. Just don’t let it get away without giving your whole self. Don’t wonder “what if”. Stop being scared, and just let yourself feel it…whatever that is.