Updated: Jun 10, 2018

Written By:Cole Cown,LPC

hope for families recovery center
Biking through the desert

Life Can Get Prickly!

It all started with a mountain bike ride through the desert.  On a trip to Arizona awhile back, a friend and I decided to mountain bike around Sedona.

Being relatively new to mountain biking at the time, I consulted with my buddy, a much more experienced rider, about what I need to do.  Among his advice was this crucial message:  ¨Let the bike do its job and trust it, man.¨

I thought, “Sweet, I got this.”

The ride started splendidly, as we zipped through the desert among red rock formations.Sedona really is a sight to see and go there if you ever get the chance.  Then, things got, well, tiring. 

Remember the inexperience thing?  I’m huffing and puffing, but not quitting.  No sir!  No way am I going to show any weaknesses!  I am pedaling along, bouncing over rocks, zooming around corners, and doing my best not to slow down my friend.  Because one’s pride, obviously, is more important than one’s neck, right?

So the cactus.  Somewhere in my fatigue, I started getting tight on the bike.  This means I´m trying to force everything to go the way I want it to.  Instead of trusting the 29 inch tires and full suspension to do its´ job, I’m trying to muscle the bike over every rock and root.  I’m also looking about 5 feet in front of me instead of keeping my eyes up on the trail. 

So, I approach this rock on the trail.  Staring directly at it, I pedal hard and ram it with my front tire.  Hard.  Before I know it, I’m catapulted over the handlebars, then using my chin to bounce off the front tire, I make a perfect 10 landing into a cactus.  A cactus!

Trust and Pride… Still Can Control My Life

Stunned, I jump up and examine my wounds.  A few cuts here and there as well as a few prickles.  Of course, I´m looking around to see if anyone saw that. 

My plan was to crawl under a rock and live there forever if anyone saw me fall.  Luckily, no one was there, so I don’t live under a rock in Sedona, which is good.  Catching up to my buddy, he´s like, ¨Where you been?  You ok?  And I’m gasping, ¨Yeah, man. I´m good. Let´s keep going.¨

Because admitting my problems would make too much sense.

The ride ended up being somewhere in the 15-20 mile range on several black diamond trails.  I also ran out of water sometime after the cactus incident.  Strangely, this experience meant a lot to me though.  It sounds terrible and, yes, parts of it were, but it was so enlightening.  I learned that trust and pride still can control my life if I let it.

There were so many examples during this ride…

The rock I ran into?

 It would have been fine if I had kept my eyes up, weight back, and let the bike do the work.

The fatigue I felt?  

That resulted from hours of doing more than my job.  My job was to stay loose, pedal, keep my eyes up, and keep breathing.

My bruised pride (and bum)?

It would have felt better to just admit I am in over my head and need some help.

So, life is a little different from a mountain bike ride.Or is it?

Our Pride Will Cause Us to Hang on… Past Exhaustion

For myself, I know when I try to control my environment too much, I usually end up unhappy.  I also know when I don´t reach out to others, I feel alone. 

Consider what areas of your life you are trying to force things to go the way you want them to.  A good indicator would be to think about what is exhausting you beyond belief.  If you can think of some areas, it may be time to reach out for help.  Our pride will cause us to hold on way past the point of exhaustion, so do it before then.  Because falling on a cactus is painful and unforgiving, but also incredibly enlightening.

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