Up until a month ago I never knew what falling really felt like.
[Photo by: John Pangilinan]
Sure, I’ve tumbled off my bicycle as a kid and even lost my balance attempting to climb a fence or two but I’ve never fallen while carrying a few hundred pounds of dirt bike between my legs while attempting to take high banked corner. Until recently.
Anxiety is the one word that comes to mind when I began to learn this new discipline – riding. It's where pain and “messing up” go hand in hand, but both feelings only make you wiser. Of course, outfitting yourself like an overprotective mother dressed you helps soften the blow. Helmet, pads, goggles, boots, gloves, etc all play a vital role in minimizing the risk on a ride. And for damn good reason. They work.
So when I entered my third corner of the first real motocross lap of my life I did so far too slowly and learned what Sir Isaac Newton had been talking about all those years ago: gravity. It never fails. My bike, tires and mental fortitude had reached its limit and my face soon found out what rocky mud felt like in the morning. Terrible.
The solution? Go faster, dummy! “Trust your gear, focus on the task and go for it.” I kept repeating this in my head with each successful lap completed. I refused to tumble like a wet blanket sliding off a hanger.
Knowing I had the right gear on only helped increase my confidence and practice the craft of riding. With each twist of the throttle I wanted to find more air, whip tighter through the corners and slide around the flat corners. All I wanted to do was ride, and that is exactly what I did. Even after falling.
Since my first experience, I’ve been building a collection of appropriate riding great for my next adventure. I snagged a sexy Bell Moto-9 Carbon Tagger helmet and have been anxiously awaiting the 2015 lineup of MX gear to hit the shelves. I’ve dedicated countless hours to Supercross and MX YouTube races to learn how to sit on the tank and approach a jump. Through my research, I also learned how to fall the next time I encounter an “oops” moment. If I keep riding the way I want to, my next fall won’t only be inevitable, I’ll know how to roll out of it like a ninja. Or so I think. Learning from the pros could come in handy, if anything it can only help. It’s not until you don the gear and take a spill you realize why your John Wayne cowboy strut through the pits makes sense.
Thousands of hours a year and massive amount of resources are dedicated to these products we put on to protect ourselves while we ride. They are meant to keep you safe and provide you with more confidence to push your limits further. You only realize this once you take a spill. Yes, some falls are worse than other and some are even unavoidable. The gear makes the difference.
So when I finally fell off my bike. The only thing that went through my head was, “Finally! I fell. Ok, go faster next time you dummy!”