This past Friday, I went mountain biking for the first time. Many people in Jackson think I am crazy for never having tried it before, but hey, I can only invest in so many activities. I can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars on new ski gear in December, and then 3 grand on a bike in May – no thanks. People here somehow do both. How? I don’t know, but it works for them, not me. Regardless, all I ever hear is how amazing it is, and it was about time to give it a try. Let’s do ittttt.
I grabbed a bike from Teton Village Sports, where I have worked in past winters. It definitely was more of a downhill bike, so apparently I was working a bit harder than my friends to go up hills – but hey – nothing wrong with an extra workout. We headed up Teton Pass, and started out on a trail called Arrow, which led to the Phillips Ridge trail. We were not able to finish the loop due to snow. We were able to work our way around it for a while, but at a certain point it just wasn’t worth it. Snow in late June: only in Jackson. The trail was a good mix of uphill and downhill. I was very excited but definitely a bit nervous as well. I am not the most stable when it comes to biking…not gonna lie. Last time I was on a long bike ride it involved biking across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and towards the end I was on a narrow street stuck between parked cars and a line of traffic. A large truck next to me knocked me over with their side mirror and I am quite sure I broke off a side mirror of a parked car…but I was so flustered and angry that I sped away in order to save myself – or maybe more-so save my pride…it all got lost in the moment…Not the best decision to speed off, perhaps, but…needless to say…I am clearly not the most stable on a bicycle.
This past week, my best friend from college was visiting. She arrived with a good friend and two mountain bikes. Both of these ladies are avid mountain bikers down in Salt Lake City, and were planning to explore what Jackson had to offer. The day after they arrived, we all woke up hung over, in the same bed, and were in definite need of some physical exercise. They invited me to join them on a mountain bike ride. I am not one to turn down something new, even if it is a little intimidating, so I said yes. We not only biked on Teton Pass, but we then took our bikes to Cache Creek, where we did a number of trails – Cache Creek Sidewalk and Putt Putt are the only two I can recall the names of… I felt like a pro by the time we got to Cache Creek; racing down hills as if I had ridden for ages. This resulted in a crash and a few close calls, but holy hell was it a great rush.
Our day ended by sitting on the deck of Dornan’s with a pitcher or margaritas and a couple pizzas. Could not have asked for a better afternoon.
It occurred to me at the end of the day that even after living in Jackson for three years, I had just participated in an entirely new activity. It gave me a sense of accomplishment and made me feel proud of myself. It reminded me how important it is to try new things, whether they are within your comfort zone or not. What is the worst that can happen? You don’t like it, and you don’t do it again. At least you can say you tried it.
I think so many times people get comfortable in their daily lives, that they refuse to try new things that ruin their routine or perhaps allow them to be vulnerable and no longer the top dog for a day. Here in Jackson, the need to be the best at everything you do seems to be a theme. Many times, talking about your day has nothing to do with how enjoyable it was or who you were with, it is primarily focused on how “rad” you got. How many peaks did you summit? How fast did you do it? What line did you ski? How big was the cliff you dropped? Sick bro. Sickkkkkk.
I will tell you right now, I primarily ski in the winters, and I am far from the best. I am learning so many new skills every season, and I am glad to do it. I surround myself with people that are better than me so that I can improve and reach new heights for my personal goals. It is easy to get caught up in doing something for the glory of it or the bragging rights, but then you realize at the end of the day you feel kinda worthless. Those days when you go out and do something entirely for you, and your enjoyment – those are the days you remember. I love hiking, I love skiing, I love dancing. I am decent at skiing, can keep up with most people hiking, and let’s be honest, I am a terrible dancer – but that doesn’t stop me. Don’t be afraid to try new things just because you may not be the best. You could work for years at something and trust me, there will always be someone better…so don’t drive yourself insane trying to be the best all the time or not doing things that others surpass you in – you’ll go crazy. Just strap in and enjoy the ride.
Trying new things is a necessary ingredient in my happiness. I think that for most people, it enables them to improve upon skills they already have, or perhaps learn entirely new skills. So what, you realize you are terrible at something. Sharing that experience with another individual who loves it and is great at it is worth the experience. I have never been worse at anything in my life than I was at ice hockey when I played in High School. I remained on the team for years because I loved being part of a team and it was a great feeling when you improved season after season. Not going to lie…I began playing because I felt like a badass. But I kept playing because I loved the family it created for me.
Whew! What fun! Mountain biking turned out to be an insane amount of fun. I loved it. I only hit one tree and crashed into a few large rocks. I will definitely be going again soon. I cannot feel my vagina, and my ass has definitely never been this sore, but hopefully that pain will subside within a few days. It was one of the more exhausting workouts that I have experienced recently, but well worth the reward of a long downhill. I definitely see how people get addicted. I think I may be after just one day..
So…try something new. If you feel uncomfortable, just make sure you go with people you trust and can have fun with no matter what. It helps your character, shows you new places, and introduces you to new people. What do you have to lose?