play with your edge
In yoga class as I teeter in half moon pose, balancing my body weight on my right leg and right hand, both stretched out straight while pushing to get my left leg parallel to the floor and my left arm towards the sky. If I lean too far back, I'll fall over. Negotiating the space between stretch, balance and pushing myself, looking awkward as hell.
"Find your edge." I hear the cheery yoga instructor say. "Play with it".
I played with it, and fell over a few times. I learned how far I can lean before falling. I found my half moon edge.
Fast forward about eight months. I read this article, Marching off the edge of the map the day after I thought I was going to fall off mine. Perfect timing.
A few weeks ago Ryan and I were lucky enough to take a kid-free vacation to the ultimate adult playground - Las Vegas. A bunch of us had plans to hop on a Harley and ride through the desert. By hop on a Harley I mean me tentatively climbing on the back, and putting my life in Ryan's hands.
Having only been on the back of a bike no more than a dozen times, I was nervous.
It didn't help I was (barely) handling more emotions than I knew what to do with. Travel began at 3am, all you can drink mimosas, and having to put down Wesley, my dog of 11 years over the phone. All by 10am.
The first time we rented a bike in Vegas I hung onto Ryan in a full body vise grip. I used all my strength to hold on for dear life with every inch of my body. I gripped his legs with my thighs, his back with my abs and his chest with every inch of back, shoulder and arm muscle. I squeezed so hard I shook.
Unreasonably scared? Maybe.
We picked up the bike the next morning after breakfast and headed straight for Red Rock canyon. We opted for the 13-mile, one way, 35 mph max ride through the park. A perfect day and a slow ride with breathtaking scenery to warm up. In awe of the gorgeous scenery, I tapped Ry on the shoulder and yelled, "I need to live in the mountains!"
Friday was the big ride day. We decided to hit Hoover Dam before heading to the Laughlin River Run bike rally after fueling with high-octane from Starbucks.
What's a bike rally you ask? Thousands of bikers, mostly men, loud rock music, beer, (no cider, WTF!? Does gluten not bother bearded, biker men?) and more t-shirts than the Gap for sale. No be-dazzler was spared in the making of the women's t-shirts.
The dam was a 45 minute, easy ride from the strip. We got off the bikes to take in the sights, and try very hard not look down over the edge and quell my unreasonable fears of falling over the edge.
There's a HUGE bridge that arches over the dam. With a warning today: High winds, high profile vehicles not advised. Oh crap. I seriously contemplated walking across the bridge and waiting for Ry to ride across. Ry laughed and told me to buck up.
After taking some dam selfies, we hopped back on the bike and headed towards Laughlin, but not before we had to cross.... the dam bridge.
We approached the bridge. I lowered my head just barely peeking my right eye over Ry's right shoulder and being careful not to look down. I looked straight ahead, and held my breath. I almost fell off my edge right there. In my head I envisioned falling right over the side rails and plummeting to my death. With the bike landing on top of me to seal the deal.
We made it the other side. It felt like 10 minutes, it was probably 20 seconds. I survived. I can do this. I can do hard things. New edge found. Until.....
The next 100 miles made the bridge feel like a walk in the park for my nerves.
I had no idea we'd be riding IN the actual mountains. Update: I no longer want to live in the mountains. I want to live near them so I can look at them.
Every winding turn of the hundreds of turns we took that afternoon, we took at 60 mph, with me screaming at Ry, "SLOW DOWN", the wind hammered me and wanted me to flip backwards off the bike.
Every turn we made, the only thing holding me on this planet was a rail. Beyond that rail was a big ass drop. I can't tell you how high though, because if I looked, I'd barf.
I gripped Ry SO hard that my engagement ring sliced my finger open, there was blood. I was squeezing THAT hard.
About 40 miles away from Laughlin, NV, one rider was running low on gas.
I needed a break. I got off the bike, and ran with wobbly legs to find a place to lie down. I laid down, closed my eyes, and continued to shake. Trying rather unsuccessfully to gather myself.
I seriously contemplated renting a car to drive the rest of the way. As if there'd be a budget car rental just down the street in the middle of nowhere.
40 miles left, I can do this.
We made it. I played with my edge all day. Dangerously, uncomfortably close to my edge.
Found it. Right over there.
A few years ago I would have told you I will never get on the back of a motorcycle. Look at me now!
Where's your edge?
What one event pushed you so far out of your comfort zone you thought you'd puke?