Crush Your Comfort Zone

18 Jan

Some people have no problem stepping out of their comfort zone.  They are up for anything, will take a new adventure head on.  I am not one of those people.  I didn’t play with the other kids on the playground the first week of school, I had to assess the situation and figure out where I fit in.  I have had a few people tell me after they got to know me, that when they first met me, they thought I was shy or a snob.  None of which is true.  As my mom puts it, “I have a cautious personality”.  Even though I am mixed up in this crazy world we love called endurance sports, I only take calculated risks.

Mt. Biking is not a sport for someone with a “cautious personality”.  You hesitate, you fall.  You ride too slow, you get bucked off the bike.  That is why I love the road.  Besides the whole cars trying to kill you thing, it is pretty predictable.  You won’t find a huge rock in the path around the corner or a drop off along a descend.  Roads are predictable, comfortable (for me).

We live in a great area for Mt. Biking.  My husband loves to Mt. Bike and he is very good.  I would love to love Mt. Biking, but so often I end up hurt, frustrated, over my head or all of the above on a trial.  When I moved to Orange County, well over a year ago, I hooked up with a group of ladies called the Trail Angels.  An all women’s Mt. Biking club.  Their sole purpose is to get women on the trails, no matter what the skill level.  I had 2 reasons to contact the group, personal and professional.  I made up excuses for over a year (training for ALC, training for a tri, etc.) and finally after 6 month of letting a custom built Niner sit in the garage, I played it the dirt.

Kermie's First Ride

I started Mt Biking over 10 years ago.  I have never felt comfortable on the trails and we never rode consistently enough for my confidence to grow.  After my wreck, I was very apprehensive to get on the trails.  Sometimes you fall in Mt. Biking, it is part of the sport, and the idea of falling after the wreck was scary enough to keep me off my mt. bike (oddly I jumped on my road bike as soon as I was cleared).  So Christmas Eve Day, my husband and I took Kermie on his maiden voyage.  Very easy fire road to get me comfortable with the new bike and trail riding in general.

We got wind that Harding Truck Trail was recently groomed and very smooth riding.  It is a 2 hour very steep climb, but not technical at all, so I was okay.

Top of Harding Truck Trail

A MTB Couple

Then I got an email from the Trail Angels that they were conducting a beginners ride on Saturday.  My husband had been encouraging me to ride with them and the timing was good.  So I reached out to Jacke, the founder and leader of Trail Angels, and asked if she was going to be there to help me along.  She assured me that I would be okay, so I stepped out of my comfort zone and joined the ladies in a group ride.

Sometimes I feel like I am a pre-teen trapped in an adult body.  What if I embarrass myself in front of everyone.  What if no one talks to me (I know, silly right?)  What if I can’t keep up?  What if they think “yeah, Tough Chik my butt”?  So I put on my big girl pants (er, big girl cycling shorts) on and joined the Trail Angels for the Saturday beginners ride.  Guess what???  I didn’t suck!

I rode the entire route!  I was slow on some of the technical descents but no blood, no tears…SUCCESS!  One of the ride leaders, Tracy, called out the obstacles and let us know when to get into a low gear and how to ride through some of the more technical parts.  After the ride, I thanked her profusely.  I was flying high.  Very proud of myself, no only for the great ride but for showing up.  I told Tracy that I really needed to get back on the trail ASAP, while I am still feeling good, not wait another 6 weeks.  She asked, “What are you doing Wednesday morning?”

So I rode the trail again this morning and it was great!  There was one spot that tripped me up, hit a rock and bounced off but was back up and riding in no time! Crushing through my comfort zone of riding fire roads. Crushing through my comfort zone of only riding with my husband.  Crushing through my comfort zone of falling.

Trail Angels - Whiting Ranch Ride

When was the last time you crushed your comfort zone?


12 Responses to “Crush Your Comfort Zone”

  1. Jess @ THIR January 18, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    I too am scared of mountain biking!! I can smash a descent at 85kph in my aero bars, but something about 25kph on a MTB scares the out of me….
    I get out a bit more now, but I still stack, I hurt myself, I bleed, and always cry. But that’s ok. I’ll get better. And I’ll be a better road rider for it!

  2. Haley @ Climb Run Lift Mom January 18, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    That is so awesome!!! I wish we had something like that around here. I would love to get out and get some practice with a group of ladies like that. I’ve hit the trails by myself, which probably isn’t the safest and I have no clue what I’m doing, lol. Congratulations on getting out!!! So glad you enjoyed yourself. Next time you get to UT, you’ll have to share all your wisdom with me 🙂

  3. XLMIC January 18, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    Before long you’ll be thinking “Comfort Zone? What’s that?” 😉

    This is so cool, Shannon!

  4. Tammy J (@blondelvstorun) January 19, 2012 at 5:00 am #

    I got out of my comfort zone a year and half ago. In 2010 I decided I had enough of being heavy so I started exercising with DVDs, and I lost a little weight. In May of 2010, my husband kept encouraging me to go out to the park with him and start running. He said it would help me with getting the weight off. I was not a runner in school. I played a little sports not much, so I didnt think I was athletic enought to run. I too have a “cautious personality”, so I was nervous I would not make it past the entrance. I was scared people would laugh at me because I sounded like a freight train breathing so hard. I really did not know how to run….but I did it, and WOW! I have never looked back. I love it. I have had injuries because I pushed to hard at first, but I have placed in two races, and I have my hubby to thank.

  5. Missy January 19, 2012 at 7:23 am #

    I crushed my comfort zone when I registered to do Ironman this year. I think I will be leaving my comfort zone a lot this year. 😉
    I loved this post. Way to get out there and give it a go!

  6. skitrx January 19, 2012 at 8:21 am #

    Oh those skinny tires scare me! I’ll take the mountain bike any day! And I too live in my comfort zone so I get it. Awesome article – thanks for sharing. Pedal on!

  7. Gregg Howard January 19, 2012 at 8:37 am #

    You meet the nicest people mountain biking,grasshopper. Glad you’ve seen the light.

  8. Laura M January 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    I had the priviledge of riding with you last Saturday, and girl, you did AWESOME! I, too, have a “cautious personality” so I understand where you’re coming from. The Trail Angels are helping me change my mountain biking comfort zone. Now if I could just crush my comfort zone in the triathlon world and sign up for that Olympic distance race. 🙂

    See you on the trails again soon!


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