With the exception of running, prior to meeting my boyfriend, I was an in between couch potato and gym rat. I love that my boyfriend has introduced me to all kinds of activities I have never tried before – surfing, bodyboarding, snowboarding, and kayaking. Most recently, he introduced me to mountain biking.
Since I’m a very safe person who talks a big game but terrified of leaving my comfort zone, my boyfriend has taught me to be fierce and to face my fears. He reminds me that I have run two marathons and many halfs, so whatever activity I do should be a piece of cake.
Background story before I go into my mountain biking story:
My boyfriend LOVES surfing, it’s his favorite thing in the entire world. He’ll surf the Oregon and Washington coast and will travel to Kauai to surf.
I’ve tried surfing more than a handful of times and even own a wetsuit and booties fit for the Pacific NW. Geoff was very patient with me and tried teaching me how to surf. But I suck at it and I’m not exaggerating.
I got terrified of surfing when I was at Short Sands beach after I hit my head from having a “baby” 5 foot wave crash on to me. But I gave surfing another try when I took lessons on my vacation trip to Kauai. Here’s a photo of me actually standing (with a pinch of self doubt)!
Then my boyfriend convinced me to try snowboarding (his other favorite activity). Besides my couple attempts at snowboarding in my late teens, early twenties, I don’t think I ever successfully snowboarded. Then this past Thanksgiving weekend, Geoff took me to Crystal Mountain in Washington where I took lessons with kids between the ages of 7-15. Very embarrassing, but moving on… I managed to hit my head AGAIN when getting off the chairlift and it HURT. From that day on, I knew I will never forget to wear a helmet.
I developed a chairlift phobia because I knew getting off of it I would always hit my head. I went snowboarding two more times with a lot of fear. Then I decided to go up to a girls snowboard/ski trip with Clarissa, Christy, Rachelle, and Taylor to the Ski Summit Area in Government Camp. It was such a fun trip because this is for less experienced snowboarders and I was able to ask the chairlift person to slow down my drop off 🙂 After that trip, I became fearless and was actually itching to go snowboarding again! Here’s a photo of me with my girls at the Summit Ski Area in March:
Kayaking was something I started up with my boyfriend a couple years ago and I REALLY love it. It’s probably one of my top 5 favorite activities. On my second kayaking trip, Geoff convinced me to go night kayaking in Scappoose – a very crazy idea but also really fun. I was freaking out when we got our kayaks in the water, but Geoff handed me my headlamp and he put on his. The only thing guiding us in Scappoose bay that is full of logs and trees was our not-very-bright headlamp. I kept running into trees and even got a few scrapes and bruises. It was scary for me, but I fully trust my boyfriend that he knows what he was doing and guess what, I survived night kayaking 🙂
I don’t have a photo of me night kayaking, but here’s one of me at Scappoose during the daytime getting stuck in the same tree I ran into from night kayaking!
Now back to mountain biking. I heard Geoff having fun mountain biking at Sandy Ridge and I was intrigued. I used to bike quite a bit and loved road biking until I had a bad accident back in 2006. I face planted into gravel and refused to get back on a bike. Since 2006, I rode a bike maybe two times tops. But Geoff took me to Fat Tire Farm in NW Portland to rent a mountain bike for the day.
I rented a Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp bike in small for men, and we took off to Rocky Point Road in Scappoose. Little did I know, the bike was WAY too big for me. I couldn’t get on the bike unless Geoff helped me out and I couldn’t get off the bike without jumping off and hurting my hips. I got extremely frustrated because it was getting dark (we started past 6pm) and every time I did get to ride the bike, it was very short lived because I would either crash to the ground or I would have to jump off because I saw something that scared me.
My poor boyfriend had to deal with me complaining and also asking for help to get on the bike. He was patient and would teach me how to get on the bike seat even though it was too large of a bike for me, and would cheer me on once I did actually bike. But then I would fall, get up, ask for help, jump off, crash, get up, and repeat. This went on for about 2.5 hours. But I give Geoff props for boyfriend of the year for being this patient with me.
Although I didn’t have a positive mountain biking experience, I am determined to go again with the right sized bike. I think just having confidence in my own bike is only half the battle 🙂 Thanks to my boyfriend for reminding me I’m fierce and fearless – I can conquer anything!