Have you ever had a conversation, an exchange about a particular passion, that makes you wonder, “Why exactly do I do what I do?” I had that happen only yesterday; so I felt a little self probing was in order.
My question, the one I’ve just mentioned, arose while talking to a fellow mountain biker, one who had just finished his ride and had curiously claimed. “Man, this is tough, but I love beating the crap out of myself.”
For lack of a better response, I half-heartedly nodded my head and agreed, although I thought to myself, “That is certainly not why I do it.” However, many times, I do recieve bumps and bruises. And I’m almost always gassed after a ride. So, why do I do it?
I mulled it over a bit on my drive home, being that, during my ride, I was intently focused on choosing the right lines and being as efficient as possible. So, when I threw the bike in the trunk and headed home, I contemplated a bit; here’s what I came up with.
First, it’s more exciting than road biking. There’s bumpy downhills, root laden paths and tough turns all over the place.
Secondly, the scenery is beautiful, and although I keep a close eye on the trail, portions of my trek replay in my mind, a serene recollection of forested paths, when I drift off to sleep the night after a ride. You think I’m kidding, it’s actually that peaceful.
A third reason, and probably the most obvious, would be the exercise. On a normal ride, I burn nearly six-hundred calories. That’s practically a full meal erased in one shot. Hard to believe, huh.
And lastly, but certainly not least, it builds a ton of confidence. The trail I ride is not a black diamond(meaning very difficult) but it is challenging. And with the uphill climbs, it’s quite physically demanding. I believe the first time I finished the seven-mile loop, the ride took me over an hour and a half to finish. Yesterday, I traversed the same trail in a shade under 51 minutes, and I certainly believe there’s still room for improvement.
So that’s why I mountain bike. I’m no expert, nor will I ever be. The simple objective was to find an adventure sport hobby, besides kayaking, that would allow a little release. What I found was a ton more.
It’s an escape from city life, a place to vent aggression, in a serenely natural environment. But It’s also a challenge, reminding me, quite literally, that if I focus on the task at hand, eventually I will see results. Nothing beats that.