"Girls Can't Do It"

Team sports don't do much for me. I've always been more of an X-Games kind of girl. I was a skater in another lifetime, am into street and dirtbikes, still love to rollerskate (quads only!), and recently took up BMX along with my son. Two years ago, I fought a lot of anxiety and self-doubt to even make it around the track for the first time. After much practice, I gained confidence, got smooth, and then started to get fast. It was so awesome the last few times we went because in choosing to work on speed, I ended up inadvertently catching air for the first time and finally "got" what that was all about.

I've always fantasized about being able to do air tricks on a bike or dirtbike and practically blew out the clutch on my XR250L trying over and over to do wheelies down suburban streets years ago. The best of which felt like I was going to fall over backwards but probably looked like my tire popped up about an inch off the pavement. Backtire automatically does huge ones by just thinking about it and has tried to explain the physics and mechanics of getting that front tire off the ground to me dozens of times (you get where the nickname comes from now). But although I understand it scientifically, I've never been able to feel what I need to feel to actually do it. I've tried really hard to no avail.

It turns out that trying was going to get me nowhere. Speed was what I needed and the bike just lifted itself up magically! or scientifically! but I certainly didn't feel in control of it. Now I know that if I get to the right speed I can get a little air on the top of any jump that I want and I can feel how with more speed and the right twitch here and there, I could get bigger and bigger air.

Then there's the steep drop ins. Although I eventually learned years ago how to drop into a small skateboard ramp and I've gone down steep hills on dirtbikes and mountain bikes and skis, and I know that how gravity and friction work and that the bike will be fine going down and all I have to do is calmly stay on it, when I roll the BMX bike up to a steep drop in, I always chicken out. Well, here's the new motivator- my 4 year old. He has been following daddy down the steep drop ins the last few times while I take another route (chicken sounds here). Screw that! Today I just started pedaling behind them before my head could get a chance to stop me and of course I was fine.

Then we headed over to the big bowl, part of the track I've never even considered riding and after Backtire went through it, Turtle asked if I would and I said "hmmm, I don't know, I never have" (more chicken sounds here) to which he replied "Well, girls can't do it." Screw that, too! Talk about double motivation. No way am I going to let my son believe that "girls can't do it" about anything! So, off I went. Right down the ultra steep drop in and up the other side without eating it. Whoo hoo! Who woulda thought?! And now I'm eyeing some of the bigger jumps and thinking about how I can work my skills up to the point of attempting them... what was fear to even try has become passion to get better. I'm hooked! In fact, where I used to begrudgingly accompany them to the track, I was the one who suggested going today because I really wanted to ride.

It took me two years to get to this point. That's longer than I believe I've ever stuck with something that I wasn't learning very fast. I've always tended to quit that which I couldn't get wired right away or at least make great gains in rapidly. Especially anything vaguely in the realm of sports. But now I'm growing - at the BMX track and in my approach to learning new things- and maybe I actually WILL catch that fantasy big air one day...

Not Me- I Wish!
(Photo Credit: http://www.future10.com/v2/blog/?m=200805)

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