The pleasure and pain of trying something new

I have decided to name my new Focus cyclocross bicycle (a Focus AX 3.0) “Elsa” because of her paint job – and because I often need ice after riding her. As I write this I still have a slightly bruised tailbone; second skin applied over a tire rash on the back of my thigh; several bruises on my legs, and an incredible sore spot in the middle of my chest from running into a granite post.

That’s right – a granite post.

Staring at the list of current injuries, it’s easy to understand some of the incredulous looks I’ve received from friends and family, wondering why the heck I’d do this to myself.

Intellectualizing it, I would say my interest in trying something new breaks down in a few ways:

A new way to stay fit – Three years into my fitness adventures, I have definitely hit a bit of a slump. I’m trying hard not to fall off the fitness wagon all together. As I’ve stated before, I also hate (despise, detest) any fitness activity that keeps me inside or feels like busy work – putting bike trainers and treadmills on the top of my hit list. (I would not have made a good hamster). Cyclocross has reinvigorated my interest in cycling, and because it is a fall/winter sport, has extended the number of months I can avoid the gym.

A new way to connect – With my husband, who rather than feeling threatened or upset about me trying to take “his” thing has been encouraging and supportive (and a little bit worried about my current spate of injuries), with new friends Alex (aka “the luckiest woman in cyclocross”) and her family; and a new community of cycling enthusiasts.

Alex and I also discovered it’s much easier to chat and ride when spinning around a short grass course, compared to riding on the roads.

A new challenge – I don’t really need a new challenge, but learning something new is very exciting and invigorating. I’ve been reading up on different techniques, watching videos and attended a class with current European cyclocross champion, Helen Wyman.

I think it’s also important for our kids to see us trying something new – to witness us doing it badly; laughing at ourselves; icing our boo-boos and having fun.

A new way to have fun – Because, aches, pains and bruised tailbones aside, it’s great to just go out and ride. With the grownups spinning around the track and the children taking pot shots with their Nerf guns, Alex turned to me and said “isn’t it great to be a grownup?”

Yes, yes it is.