Tag Archives: adventure

Bruises Really do Make for Better Conversation: Downhill Mountain Biking

Posted on

Disclaimer: Title of this blog post is based on song “Bruises” by Train.

Ski mountains have always been a bit terrifying for me. The first time I tried to go down something other than the bunny hill, in 6th grade, I fell so hard that my skis popped off. I decided that this was the moment that instead of going down the hill–I’d walk back up it and straight into the lodge. After a dinner full of persuasion, my best friend had me back out on the mountain in no time.

A year later, my brother broke his arm and leg skiing.

And the following year, I took a tumble down a black diamond that had all my co-skiiers questioning how I’d ever survived the fall without breaking my neck. I laughed and said, “Let’s do it again.”

Even still, ski mountains are kryptonite to me. Smiling, I can take on any hill, but inside all my organs are twisting.

When I signed up for downhill mountain biking–I really didn’t know what I was getting in to. A Twitter follower had suggested it–and had suggested the perfect place as well. I reached out to Mountain Creek Bike Park and they were ecstatic about having me come out for a trial lesson and run on the mountain.

When I told my friend what I’d be doing, his response was:  “Oh that’s awesome! You know it’s like a ski mountain right?!”

HUH?

“Like a bunny hill though, right?”

“No–a ski slope.”

Oh…Right…I’ll be fine.
As I approached Mountain Creek Park on Sunday afternoon, I could feel myself bubbling with both anxiety and excitement.

I suited up, met my instructor Jon–and headed outside for a quick tutorial on the basics. Following our flat ground lesson, Jon took me to the lift–and said it was time to head up to the top of the mountain. Again, my insides bubbled. I remained calm and continued to talk to Jon along our ride.

We pulled our bikes off the lift-hopped on and headed toward the green hill. As we approached, I smiled and said to myself “Libs, you got this.” And then we were off. “This isn’t so bad,” I thought to myself. After a few turns, a couple of stops, some high fives, and a short  glance at a double – black diamond- that Jon has taken a ride down before–we took off for our next couple turns.

“Oh god. Oh Jesus. Oh God. Oh Jesus” (that was the most the holy man had heard from me in a long time). With each bump, my “oh Gods” became more frequent. As I came around a turn I began to lose control, my feet came off the pedals, and I came off the side of the bike as it fell to the ground. ‘Deep breath,’ I thought to myself as Jon asked me “what happened?”

“I hit the breaks too hard and I panicked.” That was the easy answer. But within moments, I was back on the bike, ready to take on the next challenging turns…I wasn’t ready to give up just yet.

And then it hit me–no not a lightning bolt–but instead my own bike.

As I went over a rocky area, I lost control of the bike, and took a turn persay–without taking a turn, sending me off track. As I tried to stop myself I felt my butt fall behind the seat–and as the breaks eventually caught, I felt the bike seat jam directly back into my groin muscle and–babymaker–aka pelvic bone. Pain immediately swelled over the lower half of my body. Jon came over and helped me to get out of this unpleasant situation….and I attempted to walk it off.

Realizing I couldn’t really lift my leg–I began to tear behind my helmet. “Just give me a moment. I got this…” But I didn’t. The pain didn’t subside, and the movement in my leg, due to the crushed muscle, was limited–My bike ride was over.

Jon understood. But my disappointment level was high. I do a really good job of laughing and smiling about things–even when I am experiencing multiple levels of pain-and frustration–but really I just wanted to curl up in a ball. The thought of physically not being able to get back up was just as painful as the bruised pelvic bone I’d have for the rest of the day.

Even still, there is a lesson in this. We’re not invincible–I’m not invincible. And it’s these falls–and these bruises that teach us about our pain tolerance–both mentally–and physically. It’s these falls and these bruises that teach us about the risk–in taking risks. And most of all, it’s these fells and bruises that give us something to go back and conquer later. This won’t be my last time at Mountain Creek Bike Park. I still have unfinished business to attend to.

____________________________________________________________

Mountain Creek Bike Park

bikepark.mountaincreek.com

What the professionals look like doing it:

The Hobby Hoarder Aims, Shoots, Fires: Shooting Range

Posted on

Inhale. Exhale. Aim. Shoot. Fire. Inhale. Exhale. Do again.

The last time, and only time I shot a gun, I was on a camping trip with my sixth grade boyfriend at the time. His father, his brother, he and several other men were excited to head out to middle of the woods at a deserted camp site and shoot guns. As a guest, I went along for the ride, believing I wouldn’t have to touch a gun.

Half-way through their target practice, the older–very good looking–brother handed me a gun–a pistol–and said here–aim at the target and shoot. Nervously, I took the gun. I shot, and I fired. Shaking, I handed the gun back to the older brother of my then boyfriend and said, “Not for me–not again–this is scary.”

I believed that my first time pulling a trigger would be my last time. But as the hobby project came into play, I decided that learning how to shoot a gun–for real–and safely–would be interesting and useful–in case of an absolute emergency. You see as an avid Law and Order SVU watcher–as well as action movie fan, I have always predicted that I’d be the girl to try to shoot the gun and discover very quickly that the safety was still on. In real life–this could be the difference between my living and my dying (in worse scenario–of course). The lesson at the West Side Rifle & Pistol Range served as the perfect educational model for learning to use a gun.

Two of my friends joined me, and we anxiously awaited our instructor on the day of our lesson. As our teacher described the parts of the gun, my palms began to sweat more and more. “I was really going to pick up a gun again.” As he told us that we needed to find out which eye was our dominant eye, I stared at him, and attempted to mimmick him…He laughed. “You are doing it wrong.”

I began to shake a bit more. “If I can’t get the parts right where we don’t hold a gun…How will this guy ever trust me pulling a trigger?”

But he did…and I shot-I aimed-I fired–safely–fifty times. Looking a bit nerdy too:

Thank goodness, I didn’t shoot my eye out.

West Side Rifle & Pistol Range
20 West 20th Street
Manhattan, NY


The Hobby Hoarder is the 10 Billion Dollar Libby: Boxing

Posted on

I didn’t set out, schedule, or predict that I would end up at a boxing lesson for the hobby of the week, this week, but I did. In fact, I should have been at a West-African dance class at the Alvin Ailey Center that I had put on my calendar two weeks earlier. I am not sure how I got to the boxing gym. I had called my mother hours earlier to say it was a beautiful day outside and that I wanted to change my hobby from West-African dance to something outdoorsy. She suggested being a “naturalist.” Apparently, I decided to act naturally on my current feelings because four hours later, I was sitting in a boxing gym, texting my best friend to say, “What the hell am I doing–do you think they’ll make me jump rope–and will I get hit in the face…I am a crier.”

I realized that frustrations that had built up from the evening prior, and the day of, had sent me to the boxing gym to release tension–in a safe way. I didn’t want to hit a person–I just wanted to punch my problems away.  I mean it… I wear yellow sunglasses, damnitt–I am NOT a violent person.

Besides, for self-defense–it’s not so bad to know how to throw a punch–or block your face.


________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
While on my back-to-back quest to discover how to defend myself, I realized that I was really just disguising another quest…to become Hilary Swank movie characters–I’ll be flying a plane on May 20–to take care of her role in Amelia.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Church Street Boxing Gym
25 Park Place
Manhattan, NY

%d bloggers like this: