Look where you want to go

Look where you want to go

This is the universal mantra of mountain bikers and motorcyclists. On a bike this is done to avoid a crash, on a motorcycle it’s necessary to avoid death. Mistakes have much bigger consequences on a motorized two wheel vehicle. The mantra flowed through my mind as I rode the steeply banked trails at the Bike Park in Winterburg, Germany.

While biking I often apply this principle when I deliberately look away from a tricky root, or a line I don’t want to follow, and focus my attention on the line where I want to go. It surprises me every time it works, but it’s really true, if you’re looking at that rock in the middle of the trail, your tire will go directly over it and you’ll probably crash. But, if you purposefully look away from the obstacle and focus your eyes on the tiny sliver of clean path just to the left, that’s where your tire will go.

On the drive back from Winterburg, I got to thinking about this phenomenon and how it’s also true in life. It’s important to consciously decide where you want to go. Once you do this, I can say from experience, everything in the universe will line up around your goal. I’m not saying it will easy. Heck no, sometimes you have to fight hard to refocus your attention away from some shiny object that suddenly appears and back on to the durable, although still exciting, object you’re focused on pursuing.

Sometimes the goal becomes less intriguing and exciting over time and this is when you should reassess – do I want to take the known, safe route, or should I try an experiment and do something totally different. Such as, maybe I’ll learn how to ride over that rock instead of taking the safe track to the left around it. Interestingly, to make this happen, you’ll need to refocus your attention on the Rock and then balance your body correctly over the bike to make it to the other side without a spill. And, you know what, it you crash, odds are you’ll be ok, or you might be laid up for a while recovering, which can be a great time to reassess your goals.

In the end, it comes back to looking where you want to go. The truth is you’ll be doing it subconsciously, or consciously, so why not take control of your thoughts, and deliberately choose the path and accomplish your goal?

Oxford to South Boston

Back home in the US one of my favorite pastimes is to travel the back roads on my Harley following the lead of my husband on his bike. We took a trip in October 2014 and here is what I wrote.

Fingers gripping the clutch, throttle twisted open, tears run from the corners of my burning eyes.

Ears assaulted by the thunder of exhaust.

Eyes scan the horizon and fall upon “The Honey Hole” – delapidated, boarded-up windows – a relic from the past.

Tobacco leaves, yellowed but soft, flutter in the road.

Buzzards circle overhead, casting dark shadows.

Walls of pine trees shelter homes from the assault of exhaust.

Blue sky above, dotted with billowy clouds.

Fatback, biscuits and grits washed down with scalding hot coffee.

The road calls, we answer, rumbling along to the next town.