Sorry ladies, this is really a gender neutral post but I had to stick with the title because it was so clever…..:).
So then, do you mean hairy knuckles and the cro-magnon look?
Ok, maybe not that manly and typically not a good look on my lady friends, but then again if you wear it well I might not be too judgmental.
I guess the big question is, how far are you willing to push the envelope; how much of a risk taker are you?
You take the challenge
What got me thinking about this topic was from one of my mountain bike rides. The disclaimer is, everybody knows there are no mountains in Florida, but where I live there was extensive phosphate mining at one time and it left some really nice hills in its wake.
I normally ride in the afternoon, but during the summer when we get in the rainy season it can be hit or miss. Therefore, I have been sneaking out before work on Friday’s to take the weather out of play.
The biggest advantage to this is the temperature is much cooler (relatively speaking) so it is a very pleasant ride from that perspective.
Another advantage/disadvantage is I am usually the first one out there.
The advantage to that is I don’t have to worry about other people on the trails.
The disadvantage is I become the spider-web catcher and some of the critters are still on the trails (alligators, snakes, raccoon’s, and turtles).
Being a native Floridian and one who spends a lot of time outdoors, critters don’t bother me. I know how to respect their space and they typically do the same with mine.
So what’s the problem?
Because most of the trails are the remnants of old phosphate mines, you have bodies of semi-stagnant water called phosphate pits, and steep slippery slopes for the trails. This also happens to be an excellent breeding ground for some really big country-sized critters.
And most of the less elevated trails are right on the water. The elevated ones, it’s just a longer slide into the pit. More times than not, if you are going to take a spill you will get wet.
Knock on wood, I have not been wet yet, but went over the handle bars for the first time last weekend so I’m sure that wet day is waiting out there for me somewhere. One of my riding partners took his first plunge a couple of weeks ago.
Did I say it was stagnant water?
Anyway, I feel my technical ability has increased tremendously since I started trail riding and I am now very comfortable on all the intermediate trails and starting to be bold enough to start trying most of the advanced trails.
Well, I was feeling pretty confident last Friday morning and as I had maneuvered through most of the course there are 3 advanced trails toward the end and these are called fingers. They jut out into the water and the entrance and exit to these trails from the road are essentially at the same place.
As I approached the entrance to the first finger I knew I needed momentum because it is on a steep incline and the second part of the incline has a narrow passage-way that you need neutral pedals to get through. Well, apparently I did not have enough mo and right as I got to the narrow entrance I could tell it was not enough to make it and just hit my back brake to put my foot down and walk myself through.
Well, that sounds pretty easy then.
As soon as I put my foot down I heard this huge splash to my left on the exit trail and knew immediately it was either somebody getting rid of a dead body or a huge gator rolling off his (or her) perch. I softly chuckled to myself and thought ‘I don’t think so,’ and turned myself around and just went right back out the way I came.
You big sissy.
You damn right; even though the gator was getting off the perch and not likely to come back for awhile, I took that as a sign ‘not today pal.’ Have you ever heard of the saying “there are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are never any old, bold pilots?”
I might be somewhat less risk averse in my golden years, but hopefully some of this wisdom I have accumulated can still be put to good use.
What risks are you willing to take?
My wife is not in favor of this mountain biking gig, at all. She thinks I am too old and it is way too dangerous.
There is certainly an element of danger too it, but age is just a number and I am a reasonably coordinated and athletic person, so I liken it to downhill snow skiing. The more I ride the better I get, which can be good and bad I suppose; it all depends on how far you push it.
I will also tell you I have a high level of self-preservation too. I’m looking to test my abilities and make myself feel alive at times, but I certainly want to see tomorrow because it’s still good to be Billy.
I like to let my hair down but most would consider me a pretty conservative person. I mean, if you stay in one job and marriage for 31+ years, how wild and crazy have you really been?
Where do you stand; are you more willing to push the envelope with your hobbies than you are your finances or your career?
What is the riskiest thing you have ever done or are doing? Any regrets?