Failure # 1: Assembling a group of adventuresses to mountain bike with.
I have long been envious of my guy trail buddies. Not only because they do tons of cool things on bikes like wheelies and jumps that I wish I could, but because they have all these adventures in packs, and there is a whole mythology that springs up around that of crazy things that went down before, during and after said adventures—usually hilarious, and occasionally amazing or grizzly things, that become legends.
Heck—this was how the sport of mountain biking started, back in the early 70’s—a bunch of guys just wanting to have fun messing around on bikes in the woods.
My field research (aka- hanging surreptitiously around the edges while the guys play) has helped me see these packs I am so jealous of and long to be a part of are in some ways pools of forgettingness; where you get to lose your individual self and become one of a number. You get to be someone else for a little while, someone who is still you, but free of all your in-your-own-headness. The group feeds off its own unique energy. This sounds like an intoxicating relief sometimes.
It’s like in Peter Pan—Wendy and the lost boys? I always wanted to be a lost boy—running around in an animal costume. Or Peter. Not Wendy. Never Wendy; responsible, sensible, helpless Wendy.
But I am not a boy. I am not awesome enough of a rider to hang with the boys, and no girls (so far) want to ride around in the woods with me at my a little too slow to race, but too fast for most newbs pace.
Trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results is, as we know, crazy. What I really want is adventure, in a group, on 2 wheels. I expanded out of the woods and into the city and participated in an alley cat race this summer, and it introduced me to a whole new network of riders who like to do weird things on bikes. So far I have (potentially) a costumed Halloween rolling rave, a pizza ride, and a tweed ride lined up. Not sure if I’ll do them all, but I’ve found there are people out there who are up for 2 wheeled weirdness, and I’m welcome among them.
But what about riding in the woods? Costumey adventures in town fulfill some of my leanings, but I can’t see myself ever abandoning mountain biking. I’m too hooked.
I may have to change-up my style if I’m going to find riders to hang with. There is a woman mtb-er who has contacted me, about learning to ride a different way--- more technical, more gravity. This terrifies me a little, but then I think of my favorite features at the trail, both things that scared me to death when I first started riding, and now are the highlights of my rides.
I am not sure at all I’ll be able to do this. I have a lot of fear to overcome, but I do know almost every time I have walked through a scary door, I’ve come out the other side better for it.
--> I have a feeling I’ll never have a lost boys type pack, maybe that is really mostly a myth I’ve constructed in my head, and after all; I do have a batch of really cool girlfriends as it is-- they just don't ride. I’m just going to keep doing things that excite me, and trying to connect with people who energize me, and try not to let fears and insecurity stop me.