The past few weeks have been a homecoming of sorts for me. A reawakening of my Inner Child who I'm learning to welcome back with open arms instead of rejection, acceptance instead of criticism, and unconditional love instead of disappointment.
Taking last place – and I mean dead last place – at a mountain bike race this weekend brought me to a pleasantly surprising realization.
No matter how much skill and fitness I may have lost over the past few years off the bike, how slowly I may currently maneuver my way through the single-track, or even my diminished capacity for competitiveness, I still love to ride.
I understand – and accept – that my racing days are long over. But that does not in any way limit my enjoyment of simply being on the bike.
Even after all these years, it’s still a part of me, still who I am in fact, and still brings my spirit to a joyous place like no other sport.
It’s a time for quiet reflection and listening to the music that calms my inner storms, whether it’s the sounds of nature in the woods or selected songs I play through my ear buds.
It’s a feeling of freedom.
An attachment to Mother Nature.
A connection to what I love.
An opportunity to attain goals and meet challenges, on my own terms, whether it’s making it all the way up a small hill.
Or just riding for a longer distance than the last time.
Biking gives me the chance to spend active time with my dog, Fry.
Sometimes he leads.
And sometimes he follows.
But he’s always my companion.
Even if he’s just watching and waiting for me.
I’ve tried many other sports and recreational activities over the years, but mountain biking is the one that speaks to my heart.
The one that makes me feel alive and complete.
I’ve come to realize I’ll never be fast, or competitive, or even terribly skilled. But none of that matters because even as I slowly pedal around the trails and walk the scary sections, I still love to ride.