I was trying my best, pushing away mental images of open fractures by repeating my mantras: “faster, you’ll roll over” or “let go of your breaks”. I was white-knuckle-gripping my handle bar, determined to not let him slip away (read: I was trying to impress this guy I just started seeing with my beginner’s skills on a mountain bike).
Although I didn’t realize it right away, this was pretty draining. Not because he is stronger than I am. I don’t get that drained out when I go riding with other stronger girls and boys. It could be because I was not riding for me, but for him. Come to think of it, though, I think there was another reason it was sapping my energy.
In my short biking “career”, I’ve mostly gone riding with at least one other girl. That day, him being a good 200 m ahead of me, barely waiting for me to catch my breath when I reached him at a fork, the only human contacts I had were with the other guys going in the opposite direction. After 10 or so of these boy-encounters, I crossed path with the only other girl on the trails that day. Our eyes locked, which ignited sparkles, and a current of pride and fun ran through my body. I pushed harder on my pedals, I gave everything I had, just because it became fun, doable, share-able. And I swear, she too accelerated when she saw me. Invigorating!
So pardon me if I seclude myself on this grey Sunday morning, in my living room, to watch a bunch of Lynn Hill videos free soloing the Nose. Videos of Britney White hammering some crazy trails on a mountain bike. Or more seasonal videos of Tatum Monod double-backflipping on the hills.