Monday, May 27, 2013

Finding A Proper Balance

I'm talking about the balance between aggressively tackling some sort of task directly in front of you versus the use of caution, maybe some careful analysis and the utilization of common sense when faced with that same task.

Okay, so before you start thinking that I have gone off the deep end and getting all philosophical on you, just relax. Today's subject is mountain biking, but there is a pretty clear analogy to life in general. I'll let you, gentle reader, draw your own conclusions and see what you want to see in these words. I'm flexible in that regard.

For you see, I did do a little Singletrack riding yesterday. I was aggressive at times. There were times I wasn't aggressive enough. I was also cautious at times, other times not cautious enough, and maybe a couple of times where I was just plain stupid. Yup! I'll admit it! 

This continuum happens all the time. Sometimes you don't have a lot of time to make a decision. Or more accurately, you don't take the time to better study and analyze a decision. So at times you respond aggressively, other times cautiously, and then (here we go off the deep end again) the process results in a data bank of experiences that you draw upon later to make future decisions. (Too deep for ya?)

Here's what happened.

With my daughter, her husband and a friend, we visited a Singletrack park we had never been to before. We heard it was hard which led to a bit of anxiety for me. People like me, 56 yrs old with a heart condition.... (What did I say about stupid?) maybe shouldn't..... But then again...... 

To put it simply, the course wasn't all that bad, parts of it really fun, a few parts of it not so much fun, and just a very few parts where it was like, OMG, how the hell are supposed to get around that!

I had a great time, but did have a small (that's a relative term) accident and sort of a big "scare" out there. And the whole series of events revolved around that little continuum (isn't that a neat word) that I spoke of previously. (Aggressiveness, caution, decisions, stupidity)

We did one of the loops twice. I generally lagged behind all the others. My age is my excuse. My daughter would regularly hold up and wait for me to catch up, just to keep an eye on me (remember 56 yr old & heart condition). This worked well.

The first time around the course, I was somewhat cautious, largely due to the initial unfamiliarity with the course. I recognized places where I would need to be more aggressive, or cautious, or even OMG, avoid that spot at all costs. There were lots of twists and turns, some short but steep uphills (and corresponding downhills), just a few rocks (which I hate) and only a couple of OMG moments. 

Theme there's that second time around the course. You're older now. Wiser now too (or at least you think you are, see where this might be headed?).

There were a couple of spots where I wasn't aggressive enough the first time around, that I successfully managed the second time. There were spots I continued to be cautious about. There were spots that I exerted myself harder the second time because I knew better what was ahead, felt more confident, etc (are we at stupid yet?).

Then there was that one OMG spot, a rocky little outcropping ( did I tell you I hate rocks?), at the top of a little rise, with a big tree just to the right of the track, with a gap in the rocks on each side of about 8 inches maybe, vicious snarling lions behind the tree and the grim reaper just on the other side to take you to your eternal destination should you not successfully negotiate the little "hazard". 

Second time around, I thought I could do it! (Remember stupid?)


Now if you line up your wheels just right, you can do this. Margin of error, arguably pretty small. 

Me? .....

Well, let us just say that I wasn't probably lined up as well as.... (Oh, it doesn't matter)

I crashed!

Actually, it could have been a lot worse. I just fell to the left, fairly hard, but not awful, scratches on my left knee and forearm, but caught the brunt of the fall with my left arm and jammed the hell out of my left thumb in the process. Probably would have been a good video for "America's Funniest Home Video".

But now comes the scary part. I was briefly sort of stunned. I didn't hit my head or anything, but I realized very quickly that I was breathing very fast, felt very winded and was having a little trouble catching my breath. I crawled over the "hazard", let the bike drop to the ground and sat down on the ground. 

I then realized that I was much more fatigued than I thought I was and became a little worried. My heart wasn't racing, or anything like that, but I knew that if something really bad were happening, it would be a bit difficult for emergency personnel to get to me because there I was, out in the middle if a mountain bike course, etc....

I sat there pondering my predicament a bit, but eventually began to feel better. A few minutes later I got back on the bike, finished the loop of the course ( with a little more caution), met up with my cohorts, told them what happened, and we began to laugh about it.

After all, some people say you didn't have fun if you don't hurt yourself a little bit! (Do you buy that?)

So what, if anything, does this all have to do with the great scheme of things?

Arguably, probably not much. Just a little rant from a blogger out there in cyberspace. 

But I'll probably go back and attempt it yet again sometime. After all, it's the experiences that count sometimes. I'll be a little older, a little wiser, a little less stupid (maybe) next time.

Like I say in my sidebar, How you live is more important than how you die! 

(There I go again off the deep end)

Ride On and Carpe Diem, my friends (in the continuum)!

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