Scott and I went for a ride on Wednesday afternoon out by Starr Pass.
‘Let’s go ride Golden Gate.’ Scott had suggested. ‘It’s got some tech, it’s fun.’
I should have know better. Still licking the psychological wounds of the Lemmon Epic (I’m slow, I’m out of shape, I can’t ride anything), I should have known better to go ride anything even remotely techy, at least with Scott.
LW had asked me in St George if it was humbling riding with him on a daily basis. Humbling, definitely. Inspiring, most of the time. Frustrating beyond all belief, occasionally.
It was a stupid little move that cracked me. Like many difficulties at Starr Pass, the move itself wasn’t huge, it was pretty dinky looking by most standards, but it had an awkward entrance to it and a funny corner after it. After my third failed attempt, I declared, ‘I suck.’
Photo from Scott. Pre-temper tantrum.
‘No, it’s a tricky move,’ Scott tried to assure me.
‘No, I suck.’
‘Maybe when you don’t immediately get something, you should think ‘This trail is hard’ rather than ‘I suck.”
‘No, I suck.’
After the move went the next round, we proceeded to ride the rest of the way in silence. I’m good at acting like an 8 year old at times. Temper tantrums are my specialty.
The next day I went out solo, to try to convince myself that I could actually ride. To do so, I chose the easiest trails at Starr Pass that I knew of, which in the end, really aren’t that easy. But the chance to cruise around with no one watching made me feel a little bit better about myself.
Maybe I don’t suck that bad after all.
Out solo again the next day. I had in the back of my head that I wanted to ride Cat Mountain again. It’d proven challenging my first time riding it with Scott when we first got to AZ, so I wasn’t sure if my still sensitive ego could handle it. But I found myself at the top of Starr Pass again and had no desire to turn right and end up riding the Yetman wash back, so I went left and started up Cat Mountain.
Everything that I’d figured out my first ride went with only a handful of attempts. A new section went twice in a row. And while I lost a chainring tooth or two, a rock that was intimidating purely because of the cactus-ladden exposure very nearly went.
I cruised home, feeling pretty proud of myself.
I feel like I went from being a pretty big fish in the ultra-endurance world to a very small fish in the Tucson tech riding world. While I’d love to be able to let go of all sense of ego when it comes to this, and really just accept that I’m learning…well, the Type-A part of my personality won’t quite let it go. I guess the best I can do is to minimize the tantrum-throwing, embrace focused learning, and start taking the knee pads out on a regular basis.
Tucson riding – if it doesn’t kill me, it’s gotta make me better. And maybe I should work on that letting-go-of-the-pride thing, too.