11 March 2012

Mountain Biking Advice

I haven't been mountain biking in ages, but sometimes things you learn stick with you. One of the most important pieces of advice given to me when I first tried mountain biking was "Look at the path you want to take - do not focus on the obstacles you want to avoid." I had a tendency to focus directly on that rock garden, tree, whatever that was standing in my path and 9 times out of 10, I ran smack-dab into it. When you think about it, this actually makes alot of sense - both in mountain biking and non-sport areas of life. When things aren't going well - in a race, in one's personal life, at work - it's easy to focus only on the negative. We feel so surrounded by the problem, the issue, that it can be hard to see the path leading us around whatever happens to be standing in our way. It becomes a vicious cycle that's difficult to break. So. Turn your attention away from whatever has been bothering you. And you might find a clear path leading you to a better place (or at least one filled with less rock gardens!)

My little brother turned 25 today - Happy Birthday! I don't know quite how this happened, I swear it was yesterday that we were fighting over the front seat or the "way back" seat of my mother's minivan (in case you are wondering, I usually won. That's what happens when you are the oldest).

I finished a book this week - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. It's a book about the woman and family behind the HeLa cells that have been invaluable to science and health research. These cells were taken without Henrietta's knowledge shortly before she died of cancer; they were the first human cells that researchers were able to grow in a laboratory. They are still in use today, but it took decades for her family to find out how important their mother was to scientific research and how many lives her cells have helped to save. Vaccines were developed using HeLa cells, studies were done on the effect of radiation on human cells using HeLa cells, etc etc. Ironically, many of Henrietta Lack's descendants don't have health insurance. The author brings us the story of Henrietta's life and family and how they have been affected by the HeLa cells. Extremely well-written and brings up some good points for discussion (such as, when should doctors inform patients that their cells may be used for research purposes and, if such research is profitable, can patients lay claim to any of those profits?). Highly recommend this book.


Kathy said...

Perhaps this is also relevant to non-mountain biking concerns (probably depends on the problem) but I found one of the most important things to remember when on the trails...momentum is your friend.

Em said...

Mountain biking?! When are we going :-) ??? Love the reference

Another one that I've found relevant to dirt (and I suppose life as well) is that when you're going downhill, sometimes you just have to completely let go so you have the momentum to get up and over the next hill.

Caroline said...

@Kathy and Emily - LOVE the additional references. Am going to have to keep the thoughts of momentum in mind when things feel a little busy and out-of-control.