When Are You Courageous?

mt snow

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.

4 thoughts on “When Are You Courageous?

  1. I love that! “Mountain Bike Annie.” That was interesting to read because I consider you extremely confident. You interview people! šŸ™‚ But on that same note….I can relate! I’m viewed as confident I believe, but I’ve dealt with social anxiety my entire life. I don’t think I realized it at first, but I imagine I use my hair to push myself out of my comfort zone. By making myself stand out in a crowd, it promotes conversation and people ask questions. Now that I’m used to it I need to find something else! haha I also find that I’m MUCH more confident in a setting surrounded by theater, costume and events. I’m more comfortable and will talk up a storm with strangers like cashiers, people on the street, etc than say…speaking in front of a group or networking with peers. Scary! lol Thanks for this post. It was great to ponder the subject. The mind is a complex thing!

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  2. A fun read. I remember you being one of the leaders of a group of people that ushered so many of us into a love of the sport.

    As for me, I too am often thought of as a “confident” guy. But I actually dread interacting with people in most situations. I do however understand the need to project confidence if you’re going to succeed in creative endeavors. So when I’m teaching, talking about my artwork, or playing music on a stage, I take on a roll that is a little outside of myself, but also a reflection of a part of me that is hidden under the desire to just be left alone.

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