Consider the distance you’ve travelled (not in kilometers…or miles) from when you started riding to now in terms of skills, friendship, and enjoyment. I did a super quick sketch of this for myself between the ages of 13-35:
For me, skill doesn’t correlate with enjoyment. That’s a myth in sport. Now with trials for example, enjoyment and skill do follow each other quite closely at the beginning, and is probably the reason it isn’t more popular because it takes soooo long to develop the foundational skills; compare that to hitting the whistler bike park, where enjoyment can skyrocket on some of the easier trails with relatively low skill. No of course it’s great to have skills, it gives you access to a wider range of trails, there are just so many other factors that contribute to enjoyment that need to be included…
Ego can get wrapped up with skill level, whether it’s a technical skill, or fitness. This is what affected my enjoyment during part of my riding career. As we mature and develop as adults we have greater access to the time perspective and can use this to tame the ego especially when we begin asking the existential questions of ‘Why am I doing this?’, ‘How can I better contribute?’, and “Who am I’.
As I ponder the future I see a very gradual decrease in skill, increase in camaraderie, and never ending increase in enjoyment. Now regarding skill, I won’t be pushing the boundaries like I once did, however the ‘finer’ skills in my repertoire may increase. For example my ability to choose the most efficient line in technical terrain.
These are just three categories, but I did choose them based on three important dimensions of reality that are referred to as The Big Three in Integral Theory:
It: behaviors and things you can see and measure, such as skill
We: the interpersonal realm, such as friendships
I: our inner subjective realm, such as enjoyment
In ‘Ryan Leech Connection’, I posted simple instructions for a meditation that helps you determine whether you spend more time thinking about the past or the future; and a yoga class that pushing some boundaries that require you to determine how hard to push based on the amount of time and experience you have in the pose. Come practice with me there!