Ah, life. Sometimes glorious, sometimes painful, always requiring vision. If that description sounds a bit to you like our favorite thing to do outside, I won’t disagree. The parallels between time spent at our jobs and homes, and time spent on the trail are obvious. In times of strife and in times of joy, we would do well to look towards one to help the other.
You’re daydreaming at work, maybe seem distant to your significant other, or your kids wonder when you are going to pay attention to them and get some wrestling in. Of course, the equivalent trail malaise is when your weight gets too far forward, your center of gravity drifts higher, and your visor drops while your focus shifts from down the trail to the front tire. In all these situations you need to wiggle your body, shake your head, and reset your sights on what’s important. Knock it out at work, be present with your family, and bend your knees and lift your chin on the bike. Your speed and flow will return, along with a smile and a surge of endorphins to carry you through the rough spot you’re in.
Sometimes we are forced to deal with more than just an inconvenience. Not to trivialize any trials and tribulations life throws our way, but a metaphor can be created between a steep, long, rocky climb, and the end of a relationship. At the beginning of the climb, all seems hopeless, and you just want to turn around and go back to the nice, flat trail you were on before. As the climb progresses and gets rockier, you fight for control, which becomes harder as you go anaerobic, your legs burn, and your brain fights to find a smooth path through the debris.
Eventually, you find a rhythm, and while still challenging, you are able to read and react to the terrain without careening off of rocks or putting a foot down here and there. Then, the top of the climb is visible, you begin to calm down and breathe steadily. Looking around, you notice the wildflowers blooming from the last rainy day, and a smile breaks across your face.
Finally, as you crest the climb and look back down at the incredible view below, your lungs still feel like they are going to explode, but there is a sense of calm; your work is done, and that climb wasn’t all that bad now was it? Hey, look! There’s a ripping singletrack descent all the way back down to the trailhead! Suddenly your body is recovered, your senses are firing, and the world is a beautiful place.
So when the universe seems to be falling on your head, or when every time you crest a false summit three more stretch off into the distance, remember to tune into the present. Feel the pain in your legs, concentrate on your breathing, convince yourself that looking forward and doing the work is the right thing to do. Eventually, the trail will turn downhill, and all will be perfect for you again.