We all have to start somewhere – Unfortunately it’s usually at the bottom…
On Sunday night I rode Majura Pines with a couple of mates. That’s right, we strapped some torches onto our helmets and bikes and rode out into the darkness.
If you asked me I’d tell you that I go all right on a mountain bike – well at least according to Strava as I tend to sit around the middle of the pack on the trails I regularly ride
Before Sunday night I would have considered myself an intermediate rider but the guys I rode with (the 2 Luke’s) were next level. I’m talking about completely normal looking, unassuming dudes – the only thing that may have given away their incredible capacity would have been the size of their calves and the lycra they donned…
Where as a normal person (eg. me) prefers granny gears and plush suspension, these guys opt for fully rigid, single speed mountain bikes and ride them at warp speed – Needless to say, I spent a good 40 mins of our 50 min twilight ride absolutely breaking myself to keep up with them – Just when I thought I might be able to keep pace, they’d pull away again and I’d watch their headlights disappear into the trees as they literally left me in their dust
As I desperately fought to keep up, grinding it out past all the branches, rocks and roots, covered in dust, sweating, swearing and feeling mighty sorry for myself, I couldn’t help but wonder and draw parallels between the excruciating torture I was currently experiencing and that of people starting CrossFit for the first time…
I was so frustrated with myself, feeling of inadequacy and a multitude of negative thoughts flooded my mind…
“This is absolutely shit… that’s it, I’m going back to the car!!”
“I can’t believe how much I’m falling behind… and YOU call yourself a mountain biker?!”
“I’m letting the guys down and I’m holding everyone up”
It almost made things worse when the guys would wait at each junction for me to catch up and let me catch my breath before heading off again. At one point I clipped a tree, got some branches caught up in my front wheel and had to throw the bike down to avoid going over the handlebars – I made such a commotion that one of the Luke’s rode back to see if everything was OK – “Yep, now I really felt like an idiot!!”
Realising that there was something to glean from my shitty experience as I rode along, dusty, sweaty and extremely frustrated – it came to me…
I’ve seen guys and girls come into the gym, people who’ve never before touched a barbell – experience the exact same thing – Pure frustration at their apparent lack of ability and while they may not verbalise it, you can see it in their face -> You can see the same things running through their heads…
“This is shit…”
“I can’t believe how far behind I am…”
“I look like a total idiot and I’m letting everyone else down…”
But here’s the thing: YOU’RE NOT
With my daughters…
When I take my daughters out for a ride – I ride at their pace
I’ll ride behind them, guide them through turns and/or ride in front of them when they’re unsure of the trail and wait (at junctions) for the them to catch up – I’ll share everything I know about riding, body position, cadence, negotiating climbs and descents – but it’s all done at their pace, I’m certainly not in a rush and I love the opportunity to hang out
Do they feel pressure? – Yes they do, but it’s self-imposed – Both Madz and Isabelle regularly apologise for holding me up and I have to constantly remind them that I don’t expect them to ride as fast as I do, that I’m not in a rush and that I’m genuinely stoked to be hanging out with them regardless of their speed
At the Gym…
The same thing happens in the gym when I’m coaching.
I know that a newbie doesn’t have that much experience on a barbell so I don’t have any unrealistic expectations of them and I’m happy for them to take it slow
As I do with my girls I’ll share everything I know with them about training, technique and provide them with handy little tips and tricks to help them lift more and/or move more efficiently – I only need them to listen. To shut up their internal dialogue for a second, hear and understand what I’m actually saying
Do my athletes feel pressure? – Of course they do but once again, it’s self-imposed – I have to constantly remind them that I don’t expect them to lift as much or do the things that the more experienced athletes can do, especially if they’ve only just started
I have to remind them that I was once where they are and that it’s been a 10+ year journey for me to get to this where I am today
I think we all tend to worry about what others will think… but if I’ve learnt one thing, running a CrossFit box for the last 7 years: it’s that people don’t care where you’re at – they care that you rocked up. They don’t care where you finish – they care that you tried #effortearnsrespect
Why I’m committed to Sunday night rides
I know that if I continue to ride with Luke and his mates, my skills and ability will eventually improve
I know that I must surround myself with people that are better than me, wiser than me, fitter, stronger and faster than me and I know if I do that I will become a better mountain biker – a better person for it
I know that my ego is in for some substantial beatings and there will be times when I’ll want to quit…
But I also know that if I commit myself to this journey, to the grind and the discomfort -> one day I might be able to keep up the guys I ride with – That being said they never even cared about how fast or slow I was – they just cared that I rocked up and had a go
- What makes you feel inadequate and like quitting at the moment?
- Who do you need to hang out with in order to develop/progress an area of your life?
- What do you need to make a commitment to as we gear up for 2017?
I’d love to hear back from you – leave a comment below…
Coach & Owner
PS: If you’ve been thinking about starting a new health & fitness journey but negative thoughts have held you back – I’d love to help you out. Reply back to this email or drop me a line on 0407900795 and let’s gee up a time to catch up and chat about ways to see you achieve the life you always wanted 😉 ~ B