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Benefits of Getting Outside the Comfort Zone

There probably aren't many readers who are interested in bicycling. Nevertheless I will write about a certain kind of bicycling as an example of a principle that applies broadly and beneficially to early retirement and full-time travel.  

Lately I have given advertisements for adapting to steep land by pushing the mountain bike up the hills and coasting down. This makes me uncomfortable, more so psychologically than physically. It helped to consider the history of mountain biking: it originated by using cars or ski-lifts to get up the hill, and then they would ride the bike down.

But I overlooked the examples of other "one-way" sports, such as river canoeing or kayaking, downhill skiing, hang gliding, and parachuting. None of these practitioners think that their sport is ruined by "one-wayness." They would probably have a hard time imagining it any other way. 

The "push up/coast down" style of mountain biking is somewhat similar to a surfer, who drops their belly on the board, and paddles out past the surf-line, and then turns around and takes a wild ride back to shore.

What is the result of this experiment? Back onto sagebrush hills near Gunnison where one can do normal "two-way" mountain biking, I have the pleasure of feeling like a young superman. The pay-off of suffering that discomfort in the San Juan mountains shows on every ride.

Gunnison, CO. High altitude BLM hills at sunset, after an evening thunderstorm. That gives it a "Brahms moping over Clara Schumann, in November" sort of mood.


This is a nice little example of the principle of doing things that are difficult instead of merely entertaining; of 'experiencing' rather than consuming; of reaching out in different directions instead of fixating on trophy scenery; and of living rather than vacationing.


Ed said…
A fine portrait of Coffee Girl.

You have taken Mountain Biking back to it's roots. Better equipment but the same mind set as those that modified heavy cruiser bicycles with better brakes and fat tires. The goal was Repack Races that involved freewheeling down mountains in Marin County, California in the mid-to-late 1970s.
I have always believed that Marin County, CA, was the birthplace of mountain biking. But when you are in Colorado, you always hear Crested Butte and Durango brag about being founding fathers. But the terrain is ill-suited in both places, so I haven't mountain biked in either one.

And I avoid CA.
Ed said…
The Crested Butte and Durango mountain biking was not the same as the Repack Racing and came later. Repack was more like what is now called Gravity Mountain Bike Racing. Most of that is done on ski slopes with riders taking the ski lift to the top and then falling off the mountain while astride a bicycle. Angel Fire, NM has a Bike Park which uses the ski facilities for Gravity Mountain Bike Racing.
A person should not think that because stunt-riders and racers practice gravity mountain biking as an EXTREME sport, that they must practice the sport in the same style. What I was doing arduous, but safe.