Mountain biking always held a romantic appeal to me. Crisscrossing rugged terrain while avoiding trees and boulders while zipping through the beautiful scenery at top speeds. Again this was the picture I had as I prepared to start my first “true” mountain biking experience. Previously, my bike had only been christened by gravel and sandy flat roads. The mountain bike trails at Fancy Creek State Park were highly praised and described as moderate difficulty. It was no more than a few hundred yards and I was already dismounting to avoid obstacles or going at a snails pace to maneuver around roots and trunks. This was definitely NOT the image I had in my mind…..each time I had to get off I felt defeated and further disheartened.
Yet, I kept reminding myself, Progress is Progress. Even though it felt as if I was crawling compared to what I had originally visioned, I was still making good time despite the fact I was walking my mountain bike most of the way. As I’ve reflected on this past experience it has stirred many comparisons to this year 2020 and the countless challenges it has presented:
There is Still Beauty: Even though I was frustrated and disappointed during my first legit mountain biking experience it did not lessen the beauty of the scenery when I took the time to stop and smell the crisp cedar trees while taking in the spectacular views of Tuttle Lake. Has there been disappointments in 2020? Have there been serious heartbreaks? Has there been…you fill the blank…all of this is true. YET, there has still been beauty. I’ve witnessed it first hand, others offering to help in ways well beyond the call or strangers extending grace/love even in the midst of their own personal struggles. Sometimes we cannot accept the true beauty of where we are until we are forced to truly take it in. 2020 has slowed many of our lives down, COVID has forced some of us to cancel well laid plans, rather than become perpetually upset. Look around and discover the beauty which has existed all along.
Progress is Still Progress: Even though I was not zipping along the trail at top speeds, each step I took was one step closer to accomplishing my goal of finishing the trail. We’ve all had goals and dreams disrupted this year, but what can we do and what are we doing today that will take us those next few steps forward? Prior to COVID I would have described progress as crossing at least ten things off my To-Do list…during COVID era somedays it is an accomplishment simply to make a To-Do list! 😉 We must recalibrate progress in these times and accept that so much is out of our control, but we must NEVER accept that everything is out of our control. Identify where you can maximize progress and begin chipping away, bit by bit. Remember Progress is Still Progress!
Becoming Better: As I continued on the trail, I became more and more confident. Though I never experienced top speeds, I had finally gotten to the point where I felt comfortable enough to ride past a few obstacles that previously I would have dismounted to avoid. Each mile under my belt was another mile of improvement and growth. Slowly, yet surely I was becoming a better mountain biker. It’s been my hope during 2020 that I’ve slowly, yet surely made the same progress as a person. I joked at the start of March 2020 I was beginning my March to 30 plan…it quickly turned into less of a march and more into a dogged crawl. Though my March to 30 plan didn’t come into full fruition, I still learned much about myself and the areas I still must grow in if I’ll be prepared for the next steps in my life. COVID may have taken away countless experiences, but it has not and can not take away our capacity in becoming better people!
There are still several weeks left in 2020 and if this year has taught us anything…it is we can never know what is around the next bend. Yet, even with that lack of foreknowledge we can still Walk our Mountain Bike and get to where we are called to be!
Thanks for reading and sharing in this journey with me. Never hesitate to reach out if you should ever need anything!
Take care and take heart my friends, Anthony