I love this old photo. I was at a national mountain bike race, and decided to enter the dual slalom competition on a whim. I wasn’t particularly fast, even though I went way faster than was comfortable for me. And on this day, I just barely made it through the first round of cuts to the semi-finals.
As a result, I was paired up with the racer with the fastest time, a young up-and-comer named Missy “The Missile” Giove. As I moseyed on down the mountain, I could hear the announcer over the loudspeaker, “And here comes Annie, she is obviously no competition for Missy.”
As embarrassing as it was to have my name announced and (in my mind) echoing around the mountains, I finished as fast as I could. And I was proud to make that first cut.
I went on from there to continue mountain biking and competing, although I gave up slalom racing shortly after this. I became a local advocate for trails in my area, helping gain access to parks and build trail around the Cincinnati area. (If you want to hear about those early days, check out my interview with the guys at The Gravel Lot.)
What does this have to do with courage? Mountain biking gave me courage. I am normally shy, but put me in my bike gear, I will talk to anyone.
I wasn’t even aware of this until a couple months ago. I was at a show opening at my gallery, Pique, and I really felt out of my element. There were lots of people there, and I was uncomfortable talking to strangers. I realized that I needed to channel “Mountain Bike Annie.” So now I just pretend I’m in my bike gear and I’m ok.
What are your thoughts? Are you more courageous in some settings vs others? Leave a comment, let me know how you summon your courage.