It's a weird feeling, this fear of falling off my bike, this fear of riding gravel. I don't like it.
It's not that my I really dislike riding gravel or that every moment of my gravel rides is bad or scary. There are wonderful moments. There are some great times spend coasting down hills. There's the thrill in getting up a big hill. There are memorable moments like today when I scared up six buzzards feasting on fresh road-kill (today it was a young buck in the middle of the road. Thankfully the buzzards moved before I got to them). There are times when I'm overwhelmed with the beauty of my surroundings as I pedal down the road. There's the glory of finding a long stretch of fast gravel that rides better than tar.
|Pretty decent to ride gravel near my home|
I'm guessing the best way to get over the fear is to ride more gravel. And, since I have a gravel race to ride on June 21st I guess I will just have to deal with the fear and ride more and more gravel in the days to come.
Right now my goal is to ride my 30 mile gravel race averaging 10 miles per hour or more and manage to not fall off my bike.
Most of the time I believe I can do that.
But there are moments when I wonder why I'm trying to ride gravel at all. I know lots and lots of people are riding gravel and they go really fast - like 16 mph - and I end up just feeling inept knowing they are so fast and I am so slow and so unconfident. I recently got off a bike club email list because of how inept I felt every time I read about yet another fantastic really long, really fast, really difficult ride they were going to go on or just got back from.
|A big gravel hill and beautiful scenery|
Oh well. It's time I stop comparing myself with the fast set and just look at what I WANT TO DO and what I WILL DO to get ready for this gravel race. Here's the deal:
- What I WANT TO DO is get more confident in my gravel riding
- What I WANT TO DO is actually ride and finish this gravel race I signed up for
- What I WILL DO is ride gravel in the weeks to come so I get more confident at my own, slow and not-so-steady pace
- What I WILL DO is forget about everyone else who is faster, stronger, better than me and just worry about me (Okay, that's probably going to be the most difficult thing for me to do but I will do my best with that.)
- What I WILL DO is get out and ride with my friend and race partner, Lisa, and do more training rides with her. She's really cool, helps make me feel better about my riding and gives me great riding tips without having me realizing she's offering advice
- What I WILL DO is focus on the good parts of my gravel rides instead of the scary parts
- What I WILL DO is give myself credit for riding at all and as much as I do. A few years ago I wasn't riding a bike at all. Now I have four bikes and ride a ton. That's something...
Okay - Now that I've written about all of this gravel fear I have a plan to move ahead. Good enough. I have my work cut out for me. I may get to the end of my gravel race and decide to skip riding gravel in the future and stick to riding paved trails or something. That's a decision to make later. As for this moment, it's time for me to make dinner then get outside and enjoy this gorgeous evening. I hope you do the same.