This past weekend, we managed to get away for the whole weekend to the very lovely Dunstone Country house in Wellington. They had a great winter special on (which I featured in my 5 Top Date Ideas) and it is literally on the doorstep of one of the most beautiful mountain bike routes in the country so hubby was super keen to go there.
I was very happy to go riding as well as since my husband bought my bike for me, nearly a year ago, I haven’t actually been into the mountains with it so this was a great opportunity to do that.
The route we were doing was classed as ‘moderate’ and was a 15 km route. Being relatively fit and always wanting to push my limits a bit, I was up for it. However, what I thought was just going to be a nice ride with hubby in the mountains turned out to be quite a journey and an amazing learning process for me.
As luck would have it, the day we decide to go, they were having a race but the guy at the office where we bought our permits said they would probably be ending soon so it was ok for us to go. And so we did…right into the stragglers at the end of the race of which there were quite a few. Let me just mention that because they were in a race, we were going in the opposite direction to them which meant that riding ahead was a bit of a challenge as they were coming zooming past while we were trying to go around corners. It was a bit hair raising to say the least and not the ideal start to my first ride. Eventually, after having to stand to the side, get on and off our bikes and having to wait for riders to pass, we decided to go find somewhere to chill for a bit until most of them had passed. And this was my first lesson in going with the flow.
Sometimes, we have an expectation about something and when the plans change or obstacles get in our way, we react to it and have a strong resistance to the changed plan. We try push and push for things to happen the way we want them to, the way it was all planned out in our heads and the more we push, the more it feels like we’re going in the wrong direction and things are ‘riding’ against us. We’re so set on the destination that we forget about the journey. So sometimes, when plans change, we need to learn to go with the flow. If the plans change, change with them. Change the course, take a bit of time out, do something else before going back and trying again. This is a lesson I am constantly learning.
After finding a nice little spot by the river and chilling there a bit, we headed off again. Now, I was already feeling a bit anxious because of all the bikes coming past us so when we got to some rather steep hills, I was not even going to think of attempting them so I got off and walked my bike down. I was seriously taken out of my comfort zone as we were riding on a single lane with quite a drop on the side. Not feeling totally confident on my bike, this was a real stretch for me.
At one point we stopped and my husband asked me if I was ok. Yes, I nodded with tears welling up. What’s wrong? he asked. I couldn’t really say what was wrong other than the fear was just bringing up a lot of emotion for me.
But once we got over a certain point, and my confidence grew I was riding with a huge smile on my face. With beautiful surroundings around us, the wind in my hair, riding on a mountain, this was an awesome feeling! And I got it. I got why my husband loves doing this. I understood the feeling of freedom and adventure it gives him and how important that is when our everyday lives as parents can be rather mundane and routine. I got why when he wants to go riding on the weekends, it has nothing to do with not wanting to be us, and everything to do with wanting to feel free and alive. How can I deny him that?
It was amazing how my confidence grew throughout the ride and how when we came to one steep hill which I would never have attempted in the beginning, I felt like I just had to do it. And I did! I nearly went over the edge on the one side, then down the hill on the other but I steadied myself and I did it! I was so proud of myself and so was my husband. I wish we had taken a video as I’m sure the expression of my face of utter fear must have been priceless!
And I realised then that him being proud of me was something I cherish. And it’s something I strive for. It was good for him to see me in a different light and way compared to my normal role of being a mom and wife at home. We can forget to see what the other person is about when we’re so stuck in our roles at home so it was great for him to be reminded of that side of me.
Because of our long start and a little bit of getting lost, the ride ended up being very long. By the end, I was feeling rather wiped out. The last bit of the ride was along stones which you really have to concentrate on and it was hard going. And I’d had enough. I was tired, I just wanted to get to the end now. But I pushed on and made it! We cycled back to our accommodation and I can’t tell you how good it was to take my shoes off and to sit on that lounger by the pool. Pure bliss and so well deserved if I do say so myself!
So here’s what I thought about on our bike ride. I thought about how, just like those steep hills I encountered going down and up, in life we too have our ups and our downs and although it sometimes doesn’t feel like it, they’re always leading us to our next destination. And the more we ride them, the more our confidence grows in being able to tackle and confront them.
In life, as on the mountain, you never know what’s round the corner. Is it going to be easy or hard? Am I going to be scared? It’s amazing how we can have so much fear about things which stop us from living the life we want to live. But when we face those fears head on and do the things that scare us, this is when we can truly strive to be who we want to be. This is when we grow the most. This is what makes us succeed. This was one of my biggest lessons as I have a lot of fear around certain things.
Life can be hard sometimes. A lot of the time actually. There have been days when I have felt like I don’t want to get out of bed. Where I just don’t want to do ‘this’ anymore. Where I want to give up. Stop riding. But I don’t. I carry on and it changes. It gets better. The scenery changes. The terrain changes. I change. I push on and I carry on and every struggle in my life, every push of that pedal, makes me stronger, wiser, better.
I probably could have done it on my own, but doing it with the amazing support of my husband made it so much better and manageable. He was patient (and I was really riding very slowly), supportive, tentative and encouraging. So yes, we can do it on our own in this life. But it makes it so much more enjoyable when you have support and love from those around you. When you’ve got someone you want to be proud of you. When you’ve got someone encouraging you as you ride this journey of life together.