Specifically, I am afraid of moving. Of things that move.

Mostly it is just things that move too quickly. Or might require that I get out of the way on short notice.

I haven’t always been like this. Or really ever been like this. The physical world has never scared me. As a kid, anyone could point me at a ramp and I’d run my bike off of it. I was never really very good at it, but I loved skating and poured myself into it (and there is nothing like dropping into a 10 ft. half pipe to teach you about the importance of committment . . .). In recent years I’ve picked up the pace of my mountain biking, become more adventurous with my skiing, and had even planned to try skydiving this year.

I was not afraid. I thrilled to these things. The physical risks and pleasures. I ‘ve slammed into concrete walls and picked myself up and finished a ride. I’ve gone head over heels off of a bridge and into a gulch, only to laugh about it the rest of the day. Part of the fun was the risk. The possibility that things just might go wrong.

No more.

I am now afraid even when I am just walking. I worry that I cannot get out of the road quick enough. I fear that I will stumble in a crowd of kids. I am convinced that I cannot make it down a stairway without holding tight to the railing. A life that had no physical fear is now full of it.

This has to change. Yesterday I finally found it within myself to get back on my mountain bike. I pulled it out a week ago. Cleaned and lubed it. Pumped the tires. Adjusted just right for service as a pavement bike. Ready for me. Ready to double the 3000 miles I put on it in the past few years (but not a single mile yet this year). So I pulled it out onto the street and got on the bike.

And was terrified. Just sitting there. What if I have to stop short? What if I need my right leg? What if I push it too hard?

Answers to these questions could only be learned by testing them. So off I went. And for 2.29 scary miles around the neighborhood, I learned no answers to those questions.

But I did learn that it is possible to go 2.29 miles on a bike.

I am still afraid. Very.

But maybe – just maybe – a little less so.

Daily Mileage: 2.29
2003 Mileage: 2.29