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So let's start briefly with 3rd May 2019. I had my exams going on since a month and still had another month to go. Like every engineering student; I was frustrated. We all know mountain biking is dangerous; so I stopped doing it till my exams got over. So between no sleep, constant attempt to avoid fights with family due to lack of sleep, thousands of pages of assignments and the fact that I was unsure and was considering changing my career, I was on the verge of a breakdown.
So I decided to go for a ride. This ride was like no other. I was for the first time letting my instinct do the riding, thinking only a little bit. Thus avoiding crashing. what was surprising was I was riding faster and better than ever before or after. I felt good. It was like nothing else mattered, just me, the bike and the dust.
At the end of the ride, I attempted the one jump I was dreading and had never been able to clear. I jumped it perfectly taking the exact back side of the landing. This I realized after landing. So I said "Let's do that again and perfect it!".
By this time I was exhausted. So this time I attempted the jump, there was not 1% of my brain working, it was pure instinct, went too fast, overshot the jump by a mile, crashed hard.
I don't remember what happened, I simply remember getting up, and a cloud of dust settling and from the other side, a blurry image of Piyush Chavhan running towards me.
I got up dusted myself and realized, my left shoulder stings and is numb. It did not pain, and definitely was movable, so I did not worry.
Somehow rode down to a cafe in pain, called my sister to pick me up.
From there straight to the orthopedic doctor.
He has treated me with multiple injuries.
Knowing my history, he took a look at the X-Ray and said, "You have been hurt so many times that your pain tolerance is extremely high, almost abnormally. But apparently, you have snapped your clavicle(collarbone) in half."
It was my first ever broken bone. and considering my ridiculous pain tolerance, I was baffled and could not believe what I was hearing.
So now I come home, and the only thing my mother told me, "Do not let this stop you from riding mountain bikes. Just return a wiser rider."
That stuck with me.
Fast Forward to 4 months later,
I decided to go for my first ride after the incident, I had gained a lot of weight, and I would get tired within 2 km of cycling. I was scared and slow.
But I finally felt alive. Went for 2 more rides like this and stopped again due to exams.
Fast Forward To December 2019.
I received an invite from Saurabh from Rolling Academy Bike Park.
"I hope you are coming to the Temghar MTB Challenge in January."
Due to the lack of riding I was desperate, I said yes. Pestered him to open the registration link soon and signed up immediately.
Now I knew I was unfit at the least, and also was really rusty, and my bad riding style and habits didn't exactly help.
I decided, this had to change.
So with a little help from Youtube and one of the best riding friends, best described as
Darshan: Why go Fast when you can ride 100 km without getting tired.
Abhishek: Foot Out Flat Out.
Shreyas: I don't care, Just send it!
Gaurav: Eh! I'm just here to explore.
I rode 5 days a week, 30 kilometers on each day.
6am--9am : Ride.
10am--6pm : Work in office(internship).
6:30pm--8pm : Ride.
The only time I ever trained harder than this was Athletics State Level Tournament 5 years ago.
And Finally Came January 2020:
I went to Temghar. Reached a day before everybody else, and probably put in more miles than most in that weekend. I did'nt end up doing my final race run, but that helped me realize. I am not a racer. I simply want to ride my bike and let my riding take me places I have never been.
Ever since that day, I leave the house every Sunday before sunrise. Sometimes with my friend Gaurav, sometimes without, forget about my phone's existence, and drive ride places nobody will ever think of, far away from civilization, and relax and ride.
To every mountain biker who feels racing isn't for him I say this,
" It isn't a race. Ride to have a good time. It isn't what bike you you ride, It's what you do on the rides."
To every other normal person who does not have a death wish like us mountain bikers but still dislikes the rat race,
"It isn't a race, take your time, go where you want to go. Don't sit idle. But definitely don't do something that doesn't make you feel alive every moment."
And to everyone down with a injury,
"Life is too short to let injuries tell you what to do!"
Part of the Life collection
Updated on February 13, 2020
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