From having to put on protective gear to feeling that hand let go of the seat for the first time, learning to ride a bike was scary. You went from solid ground to rocketing through space in a matter of seconds.
If you stopped moving forward, you fell. Shift suddenly, and be thrown off. Forget your protective gear, and get scared.
When you fall, you had to choose between staying down and sulking, or getting up and changing the course of where you were going.
Let me tell you, I sulked a bit the first time.
I remember when I was four, I had just learned to ride a bike without training wheels for the first time. My parents and I were going on a walk that night and I couldn’t have been more excited. So excited in fact, that my four year old self couldn’t wait any longer. I rushed out the door, snatched my bike, and off I flew with no thought of the helmet I left behind (Safety first, kids).
With every house on our block I passed (2) I felt bigger, stronger, and more confident.
Rapidly, my confidence became arrogance and I started cutting back and forth quickly. I mean how was I going to become the next big BMX champion of the world without testing the limits?!
Little did I know, all champs wipe out.
Next thing I knew my face slammed straight into the ground. I’m talking forehead first, road rash, embarrassment that lasted a month, kinda wipe out.
My parents (close behind with the helmet I forgot) came running to my rescue. We spent the next couple of hours cleaning my face of all the little bits of road that were now lodged in it. When we were done I had a silver dollar size rash on my forehead and smaller ones scattered down the length of my face with the last punchline right on the tip of my chin.
I had done it, I had fallen off my bike and the next step was to get back up. But with the memory of the concrete flying at my face still very present, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I knew how bad it hurt the first time and I just couldn’t justify trying again.
Until I did.
I missed doing the thing I loved. I missed that feeling of flying down the street without clanking wheels chasing after me—though I would never pass up a card in the spokes later in life (vroom, vroom). So eventually, the desire to feel those wonderful things again overpowered the fear I felt from getting hurt.
2016 has been a year of triumph for me, but with all triumph comes the grit it took to get there.
A pinched sciatic nerve
Edema in my AC joint
Shin splints in both legs
Constant aches and pains
When you spend a year pushing your body to new limits, you’re sure to get knocked down on more than one occasion. These injuries have taken me out of the game multiple times, but they have never stopped me from chasing down these dreams.
For a long time, I was scared to talk about the issues I’ve suffered through. Talking about them made them real. And being real meant that they could potentially take me out of the game for longer than I was ok with.
Recently, the arthritis in my shoulder has required me to stop training arms the way I was while I recover.
At first, this was so incredibly hard to mentally overcome. First of all, knowing that my workouts mainly consisted of leg day was horrifying. Secondly, not training at the level I was caused my brain to go into overdrive and the insecurity of becoming a girl I used to be set in.
Then I realized that through this last year I hadn’t only built a strong body, I built a strong mind. In the midst of training my muscles, I had also developed a mental toughness that is irreversible.
I am stronger than the fear of getting back on my bike.
I am more than the scars I’ve accrued from years of crashing.
I am greater than any limit my insecurity could ever set for me.
Since my training required the brakes be pumped, I decided to throw myself into my other passions.
I decided to dive into my love of everyone’s unique story. To be part of the moments you get back up.
So tell me, when did you get back up?
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