5.22.2007,1:20 PM
Ozark Highs: Part One

Life is a long giant lesson book. No matter where you go, or when, every journey and adventure offers lessons to learn from. When we stop learning, we might as well be dead. And in some cases, those who don’t learn may find themselves in that state, or staring it in the face.

Riding a bike on twisting, curving, winding mountain roads offers many lessons to learn. I challenge anyone to claim their self an ‘expert’. The true master is one who knows he or she is not an expert rider, cannot predict all outcomes, and applies lessons learned both on and off the road, achieving a 'oneness' with him/herself, the bike and the road.

In all situations the law of probability rules: form conclusions about the likelihood of potential events and the underlying factors of complex systems. Given a set of circumstances, these are the possible outcomes and risks, and this is how I reduce the risks but reap the reward.

And remember: everything in life is a trade-off.

During this recent trip to the Ozarks with a group of riders, I venture to say that we all learned a little bit about ourselves, each other, the roads, our bikes, our skill and endurance levels, and about probabilities and consequences. Some of us challenged ourselves where we’d never been before, some pushed the edges, and others may have pulled back before they reached their limits. Some were self-aware of limitations, honest with themselves, formed and executed decisions accordingly. The end results teach us many things.

Such is the School of Life: Never stop learning.

As long as we came home with new lessons, or some reinforced, then our journey was successful and profitable.

The trip to Arkansas with a group of eleven bikes and twelve riders was full of new lessons and reminded me of old ones. More so, it restored some peace and confidence in myself that had eroded during and after my last trip.

One reinforced lesson was to rise up and meet the road as your teacher. Not an enemy to conquer. Rather, the rider should learn from the road to conquer him or her self. Being self-aware of limits and capabilities, self-honesty, observation, self-inquiry, discipline, steadfast resolve, and 'listening' to what the bike and the road 'tell' you. Each time you master a level, you re-evaluate and push yourself to achieve the next level.

Only these qualities will enable evolution into a competent rider.
A warrior never runs into battle without study and knowledge of his enemy and associated circumstances. Nor does the warrior befriend strangers without the same evaluation. Based on such information, only then can the warrior weigh the consequences, make decisions and challenge himself and others. Riding a bike on winding roller coaster roads is no different. They are not to conquer, but to learn from and master; a synchronization of your body, mental state, bike and road surface.

Like playing an instrument in a symphony with other instruments. Each becomes fine tuned to the other, eventually becoming one: the symphony.

Let the ride begin.
"There is nobody to conquer, but oneself." - Zen proverb
Photo courtesy of Billy Downey

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posted by Macrobe
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