Friday, August 2, 2013

Alex's Mammoth Mountain Mountain Bike Adventure - II



Song:  After The Fall

Group:  Two Steps From Hell



Although, for most of the trail...
it was fairly mild...there were some multi bumps on declines...
and especially near the top...with the combination of high wind gusts...
some areas which could prove to be dangerous should you lose control of the bike
(you could pick up speed and hurtle down the mountain side if you panicked)...
a thin trail with some obstacles...
Alex was getting far more tired than he should have been.

I realized that he was tensing up a lot due to fear.

It is good that he was very cautious...
and I don't blame him for feeling fear...
it is natural...
I had to overcome many fears as a child.

Although, he was adequately prepared to handle the technical challenge
of the ride...I hadn't factored in the fear of heights that we, as humans...
naturally fear (and rightly so).

Although I was having Alex moderate his speed...
and I kept near enough to stop a runaway bike situation...
it was all new to Alex.

He started hesitating on areas which were actually milder than the areas
of the mountain which he had already conquered.

He said he was getting very tired...he was breathing quickly...
 he was out of breath when he shouldn't have been.

Although I had told him it was because of the unnecessary tension
in his body as a natural reaction to fear...
I also knew that just by my saying so, it wouldn't help.

As a father...
I knew that I had to push him at these points...
I had to become a little bit of a drill instructor to keep him moving
without hesitation (in areas which were safe).

Once fear starts to grip a person...
it magnifies itself into a paralyzing force which then feeds upon itself.

Once Alex started listening to my very loud insistence to "Pedal"...
and for him to slow if he must...but to not stop...
he became better at negotiating the trail.




Alex took off his jacket here...
ate a snack...and rested.

He was hesitating at this point...
as the trail led into many rocks and bumps.

 After a rest...
and a heart to heart talk...
he started riding far better.

I knew this ride would push him to certain limits...
but one of my duties as a father is to prepare Alex to conquer fears...
to not let anything limit his potential in life.

I shall not allow my son to become a slave to fear.

Of course, fatigue was a factor...
however, the great fatigue he was feeling was because of the tension
in his body brought on by fear.

I had shown Alex how far we had come at that point...
of what he had already conquered.

I know fully well that fear is often irrational...
and to try to reason with a force which is irrational...
is often ineffective...
however, I also know my son.

He knows me...
what my rationale is for my insistence.

He is also a young man filled with justified pride...
and he always has a desire to conquer all obstacles.

I had to just get him to the point of caring more about his mission to overcome fear... 
than he cared about possibly getting hurt 
(not seriously hurt...I only pushed him when the conditions were relatively safe).

Alex started responding at this point...
and he made me proud with his efforts...
and the resulting actions.


This whole adventure for Alex was an extremely important life lesson for him.

This mountain was just a metaphor for life.

Just as these tremendous views only go to those willing to extend themselves...
 true beauty in life goes to those who dare.

Dare not...Live not.

Generalized fear of the unknown can stifle a man's life.
It will cause him to avoid potentially positive life changing situations
due to his unwillingness to face fear.

I could have allowed Alex to merely go at his own hesitant pace the whole way...
but not feeling fear wasn't the point.

In life...
there will be constant unknown and uncontrolled variables
which will create situations which he must then learn to overcome.

To merely not do something because it brings about anxiety...
is to be a slave to it.

In most things in Alex's life...
I ensure he is well prepared for it ahead of time...
and again...although he was prepared technically for this ride...
the unknown variable at play here...
was his very rational fear of potential danger...
which then turned into an irrational fear...
and his then, natural reaction to it.

Now...
I fully realize that the way to conquer fear is to do it in steps...
but once...at least once in a child's life...
he must know that irrational fear may be conquered.

He must know the physiological changes that occur when gripped by it...
and that he is doing it to himself.

By demonstrating that the symptoms subside when the conscious
overrides the subconscious...the great fatigue and anxiety disappears.

Alex now knows what subconscious, and irrational fear does
to the body when it is allowed to overcome him...
but most importantly...
he also now knows that it is controllable...
that many times in a man's life...
the mission must come first...
that while circumstances may limit him...
he must never allow fear to limit him.

Of course...
I won't be throwing Alex into fearful situations just to try to force him
to face his fears.

To do so would be to create unnecessary anxiety and a hatred of extending himself.

I have always taken careful steps toward the conquering of fears...
to make sure that he was successful in each step.


Through my insistence for Alex to go at a faster rate than he felt comfortable with...
he began to realize that he could do more than he had thought...
and that he could conquer his own fear by placing the mission before himself...
and in this...he was successful.

Alex started picking up his pace...
and he tried his little heart out.

Although I could see he was still tense on parts of the course...
he pushed himself forward as the warrior he is...
and he overcame his fear... of fear.

Because we have always prepared Alex so well ahead of time...
he had never really been overcome by fear before.

Now he knows what it is...and how he may overcome it...
through enforced relaxation... concentrating on the task at hand...
 by allowing his rational mind to guide him...and by mostly...
allowing his desire to succeed...
 override his fear.

He started enjoying himself far more...
and he was able to see the beauty around him.

Before long...
I had to insist that Alex slow down...
as he was starting to push himself a little too much  :)









We relaxed in the shade at the small lake for a while.
Then Alex wanted to continue the ride.



We had some uphill climbing to do before the final decline to the starting point.



A very tired Alex...
but a satisfied young man who had internally grown much during this ride.


On our way home after having had a meal in town.

We were both so tired when we got home...
we just showered and went to bed.

We were originally planning to watch another Korean Drama segment...
but I knew we both would have fallen asleep during our viewing of it.

I am so proud of Alex...
of what he had accomplished during 
his ride down Mammoth Mountain.

Alex now knows...
 that he can conquer himself.








2 comments:

  1. A very inspiring story! That is a very beautiful, but very challenging, trail to ride! It looked to definitely be a few steps up from your other trails. I'm sure Alex is better off for having gone through the experience... it will be interesting to see how he handles a similar challenge next time.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is sometimes strange...in these types of cases in life when I was young...my fears involved being outgoing socially...physically, I had placed myself stupidly in danger so many times due to carelessness. It is just the opposite with Alex...and I am glad for this. Alex will be extra careful in life where his fears are actually more rational than mine were :)

    ReplyDelete

Please feel free to comment on this article.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...