There's only been two activities I have done in my life that scared me. One was spring board diving (insert Louganis joke here..). My Father, and a few of my brothers were competitive swimmers. I really wanted to do something that my Father considered valid. I was a skateboarder, surfer, and a musician, all activities for the soft of head, in my Dad's eyes. I decided to dive my senior year. I was pretty good, but I could never shake the fear I felt, flipping and twisting in the air. I was able to do anything my coach asked. He loved the fact that I would throw my body, any way he deemed necessary. Just because I was scared, and by scared I mean, wake up screaming in a cold sweat scared, didn't mean I sucked. I just really didn't enjoy myself. My Mom and Dad were proud to have something to say at a party that didn't require an apology. There were some nice looking girls on the the swim/dive team.Things were good for a while. Eventually, a thought started creeping into my head, that it was just a matter of time before the board and I met under less than optimal circumstances. One day my hair hit it, then a hand. I moved up to three meter, where the mistakes had a higher penalty. On a Thursday practice that winter, I blew a back one and a half layout and landed flat on my front side. I got back on the horse, over rotated, and painted the back porch to match. My coach had to lift me out of the water, I was cooked. Thus ended a brilliant ten month diving career.
The other monster in the closet is road cycling. I have been doing it for eight years now and I can't shake the fear. I hate riding in groups. Like diving, the fear is not paralyzing and I still ride aggressively, but I am always thinking of the bad things. The horrible noise of the bike and rider meeting the ground. The fear of an unstable rider, taking me out. Road riding is all about being smart. It's about knowing when to lead, and when to follow. It's about, small refined adjustments of shifters, brakes and body position. These arts, are all lost on me. After all these years, I would still classify myself as a twitchy handler. Last and certainly not least, it kills my neck, on the ride, and for days after.
There's a lot I could say in defence of the discipline, but at the end of the day, I just don't enjoy it. I am tired of dreading road days, and all the feelings that come with it. I don't feel like it beat me, I feel like I am putting something to bed after a solid effort. Life is short and so am I. I will be spending my time in the woods if anyone is looking for me.