This I Believe

Doug - Bixby, Oklahoma
Entered on March 23, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: pleasure
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Fall Boldly

I ride a mountain unicycle, which is a knobby tired unicycle ridden on a rough mountain trail.

This, I believe, is the best conditioning and cross training for me. In addition to the obvious physical aspects, mountain unicycling works on driving out fear and gives me practice in being focused. Fear is generated from the potential of falling. Intense focus is necessary to remain upright in the harshest of conditions.

My riding was done for a few years on a large wheeled unicycle that is strictly for the street. That type of riding provides a lot of exercise but provided no challenges or much room for improvement. After trying unicycling off-road I was hooked. Modifications were started on my other unicycle for this type of riding. My muni has undergone several revisions as it continues to evolve.

Every mountain and off-road trail provides one obstacle after another to overcome, just as there are always multiple obstacles in life. I believe there is always a path or ‘line’ through those obstacles. I’ve learned to stop, study, pick my line, and ride it out with tenacity.

Unicycling among the rocks, ravines, and tree roots brings about fear. It is fear that prevents most people from even trying what at first looks impossible. I believe in the opposite of fear. Many terms can be wrongly interpreted as the opposite of fear: fearless, courageous, brave. The true opposite of fear is faith. I have faith in my own abilities, developed by much practice and preparation. I have faith that my God will maximize those abilities at the appropriate time.

I believe falling (or failing) publicly can be embarrassing only if I let it be that way. Preparation and practice are the best ways to avoid failure. I know how to roll out of a fall and lessen impacts. Although people that I meet on the trail expect to see me fail to stay upright, they are usually disappointed. If I do fall, damage is patched up. If I do fall, apologies are made to those whom I’ve scared. If I do fall, embarrassment is minuscule.

Fall boldly.