Monday, 21 August 2017

Lettin' it go. George the Apache. Ride or die.

The moment I let go of it
Was the moment I got more than I could handle
The moment I jumped off it
Was the moment I touched down

These are some lyrics from the song "Thank You" by Alanis Morissette that have really resonated with me.

There are a lot of things I've been attached to that don't really matter. My day to day life and work is good. If that stays this way at the moment, I will be happy. I am feeling more cheerful already.

I went and had my thaw scan today. My womb looks proper snuggly, there is a nice dominant follicle, everything looks textbook awaiting a special delivery/download at the end of next week. The doc has given my chances of this one taking at up to 50% - it is a tested, chromosomally normal embryo. This has given me more hope than I have been feeling. The doc has also said that I can continue my physical activity as normal, which will be very helpful in managing the anxiety of the 10 days of waiting. Before the download, I have wee and blood tests a-go-go.

By way of a 180 degree change in topic, I wanted to share a story from my stay in Sedona, Arizona.

The conference was held in the mornings, and we had the afternoons free. One of the afternoons, I booked in for a beginners mountain bike riding course. My fella loves mountain bike riding, but I am not terribly confident on a bike. Fortunately, I was the only one signed up on this course, the other person failed to show.

I was met by George the instructor. I quickly learned that he was 75 years old, and Native American (Apache). He had long grey hair, in a pony tail, was short with a belly, but strong looking legs.

George quickly figured out that I was quite an anxious rider. We started on the road, then flat off-road. We practiced turning tighter corners and going on uneven surfaces, like little bunches of rocks. To turn smoothly rather than jerkily. To pedal smoothly uphill and "find your BOO-DHA". There was some summer rain, but I was pumped to be riding around in such beautiful surroundings, with an enthusiastic instructor.

We got to the single trail. There were a few cycling rules / life lessons George shared. George was quite emphatic. The emphasis (capitals) was his

"Look PAST the DRAMA" - whenever I was riding past a hazard, I tended to fix my gaze on that. However, if you look at the hazard, and focus on it, then you tend to ride towards it. Which you don't want to do, obvs. He told me to look 10 feet ahead.

"There is an old Apache saying: If you think you are going too fast, you probably are. YOU are in CONTROL of the BIKE". Judicious application of the back brake is required when going down hill, and remembering, yes, I am in control.

"COMMIT, DON'T HESITATE". I tended to want to want to stop the bike when things up ahead looked difficult, although stopping would have meant falling.

George would not let me drive onto a harder part of track until he was satisfied I could manage the easier one, and ride this a few times.

There was a patch of downhill which freaked me out.

When I was 11, I was dared to ride my bike down a steep dirt hill near a floodway, by my little hoodlum 10 year old neighbour. I rode down. My bike swayed violently then I fell off, really hard. I was winded really badly and I thought I was dying as I couldn't breathe in a while. My front wheel was bent at right angles to the frame of the bike.

I was unable to stand up without feeling dizzy for a day or so after. Nowadays this might score a child a trip to the doctor or the emergency department for a check over. Instead, I had to sit at home with this little neighbour, as my mum had to go to work. I was sick and nobody seemed to give a shit. Without going into too much, there was a lot of frightening stuff as a kid, which I had to deal with alone, which always makes things twice as scary.

On this beautiful trail, I was back to my 11 year old self. I shared this with George.

I am fairly sure this is the root of my fairly morbid fear of falling over, my reticence with jumping, my fear on bikes. Perhaps my anxiety more generally.


George introduced me to a trail which would be a surprise. There were cuttings, downhills, small ledges, uneven bits. I did it! It was fucking scary, but I did it.

I tried going up some of the little steep hills I went down, but I found it hard to COMMIT. I was tired and sweaty, but invigorated.

We rode back to the resort. I was shaking a bit. Probably from hunger, a bit from fear. I think I cracked a bit of PTSD. I thanked George profusely, even gave him a hug.

I was quite emotional afterward. I hadn't realised this fall off my bike at 11 was such a significant event, nor did I anticipate that this ride would be so important.

Now, when I have something difficult upcoming, George's booming voice greets me.





  1. Sedona is such a powerful place. That resort is very special. Happy you had a lovely experience there too.