I've just started mountain biking as a bit of cross training.
Those of you who know the Athletic Powerhouse may be alarmed at this turn of events. After all - contrary to what images my online alias conjures up - I'm not the most confident or proficient cyclist on two wheels.
But there is nothing like being out on the road, whether it be riding somewhere for coffee with a group of friends or clocking up the big ks solo, in pursuit of 'the perfect ironman'. After just a few turns off road, I'm sure I'll feel this way about MTB too - once the fear of impacting a tree fades just a little... I've already sensed a freedom of being out in the bush that you don't get when you're restricted to the shoulder of a busy road.
I've ventured into MTB at an interesting time in my life. As a woman in my mid-thirties I am just starting to grapple with my own mortality. While not an issue for me personally, several of my friends are struggling with their ticking clock. On my last visit to my hairdresser, I was told that my ever-so-slightly thinning hair is normal for women as we "get older", and, well, in general, things just aren't as they used to be.
Just after my birthday last year, I told one of my long-time friends that my issue with turning 35 was physical. She quickly reminded me that I did Ironman triathlon for fun - clearly, I was in the best physical shape of my life.
(Of course, she was right.)
MTB is just another chapter in this journey. Like all the other ones before it, it poses some risk. And like those before, if the payoff is greater, the risk is worth it.
I can't think of a better payoff than challenging my fear of getting old.