A Break from Brakes

Hopefully you remember my good buddy Andrew Joyner (here’s his podcast if you don’t). Andrew is amazing at all things outdoors, and one of his talents is mountain biking. I had a trip to Whistler, Canada coming up, and so I consulted the best mountain biker I know (Andrew). He made it very clear that I needed to bike (meanwhile, there’s a biking competition happening in Whistler). And thus, I figured, I’m okay at trail biking…I’ll be totally fine.

If you couldn’t tell from my name (High-Clip), I can be a bit skittish at times. To say the least, I freaked out a bit pedaling up and down steep, exposed cliffs while my guide cruised through each sharp turn and slick rock. Anyway, I got tired of walking my bike up and down frightening hills (and internally crying and mildly hyperventilating). So naturally, I soaked up all that I could from my guide, and I took away a hugely valuable insight:

You have to let go of the brakes and trust yourself when you’re overcoming an obstacle.

I’m sure Andrew, or any biker, could have told me that, but the idea of letting go of the brakes, even when you’re scared, seemed outrageous to me. And trusting yourself??? What is this?? Lead climbing advice??? OUT-RAGE-UOS.

If you can’t see it, let me paint you a picture:

You’re on an exposed cliff. You’re on a snazzy mountain bike, though it’s a little too big for you. Below, there’s jagged rocks leading down to a turquoise lake. Ahead, the rocky path winds quickly downhill, with mini ravines traversing like snakes. You can feel your heart beating in your ears, and you can hear its tha-thump, tha-thump, tha-thump imitating your inevitable tumble down the mountain when you skid off of the edge. Alas, perhaps for your ego or for the endorphin rush, you leave the safety of the peak of the hill and begin your roll down the path, tracking every feature in relation to your front tire. You release your over-tight grip of the brakes and as your fingers uncramp…

What happens?

Do you trust yourself and ride? Are you feathering the brakes as you go down? Are you skidding left and right? Did you throw your bike off the mountain?

Finish your story and let us know how it ends! If you need some biking motivation, be sure to remind yourself of my past words about bikes (definitely no metaphor there…) in my old poem.

As we embark on this new year, will you trust your 20/20 vision and release your brakes?

High-Clip (Co-writer)

11 Replies to “A Break from Brakes”

  1. Please know I’m saying this with humor, but that scenario sounds like one of my very bad dreams. Oh no, I am not letting go of those brakes. I might crash into a tree, but I am not letting go of those brakes. : )

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Great post and it immediately took me to the time I skied down Whistler for the first time. I went up to the very top right before they closed down the lift due to extreme fog and weather conditions. Because none of us had skied there before we stayed in a line because we literally could not see our own hands in front of our faces. We literally could of all fallen of the side of the mountain at any time. I put my faith in God and prayed a lot that he would let me reach the bottom of the mountain in one piece. Afterwards I finally stopped shaking and went into the lounge where a band was rocking out and ski-bunnies with perfectly sprayed hair and skin tight ski suits that had never seen the mountain were drinking and dancing. I was soaking wet as it was raining by the time we hit close to the bottom as it took us over an hour to get down. I learned so much that day and grew as an individual. I learned I don’t have to prove anything to anyone but myself and that going all the way to a ski lounge to “hook-up” seemed like the most pretensous and ridiculous thing in the world to me at that moment. Good for you for facing your fears and accepting a challenge instead of sitting in a lounge drinking some where. Love Joni (Another Warrior) Yea!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a great point! It is really hard to let go of feeling inferior to all the other crushers, but if I tell myself they were once a plebe like me, things don’t seem so intimidating. Cheers to facing fears in Whistler!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Good advice, indeed. I too get a bit skiddish on some of those harder/more exposed trails. Funny, don’t get those feelings on my road bike riding here in the Sierra but I don’t spend nearly as much time on my MTB as I do on my road bike. Another related bit of advice I rec’d from a bike mechanic years ago: speed is your friend. Helps you roll over stuff you wouldn’t otherwise clear. HNY!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ooh I like thinking about it like that…thanks! I hear you on the road bike; even with crazy drivers and buses I don’t care at all, but as soon as I’m on a trail it’s game over. Weird how the mind works! Happy New Year to you as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. As a confirmed downhiller, I’m here to endorse giving your brakes a brake. Speed is your ally and there are times when the ONLY way to save yourself is to let the bike roll. Of course, sometimes there’s no saving yourself but then you’re having ALL of the fun you can possibly have.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. “You have to let go of the brakes and trust yourself when you’re overcoming an obstacle”

    I love it!

    Mountain Biking is a perfect analogy! It especially strikes me because I am absolutely NOT a mountain biker so I truly feel the anxiety while reading this post. Thinking about letting go of the brakes… oh MAN! It’s exactly like learning to let go of the climbing wall for the first time. It’s just terrifying.

    This makes me think further, venturing into how you navigate speed with your current skill level? Because staying in control at any speed IS the most important, I think. The biggest injuries I’ve seen (at least in snowboarding) happen when you lose control.

    The trick, for me, is that see-saw effect of working within my own abilities and also pushing myself out of my comfort zone. IT SO TOUGH!!!
    Thanks for the super fun read and happy New Year High-Clip!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Lauren!! I agree!
      It’s such a difficult balance…I guess you just have to inch yourself closer and closer to where you want to be.


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