I rode a mountain bike today.
Not for long, mind you.
My wind lost somewhere among last Fall’s leaves and the elevation in the Hurricane Town Forest.
The winter was unkind to me this year.
Shrinking my riding clothes substantially as they simply hung in the closet.
Funny how that happens.
Despite it all being my choice.
But twenty minutes was long enough to clear my head of the rats.
Yes, I have rats.
In my brain.
A phrase coined by an amazing mentor early in my teaching career.
When he saw me performing instead of teaching.
“You need to get the rats out of your brain, Dougie.”
“They have lied to you.”
“This isn’t about you. It’s about the kids.”
“It’s always about the kids.”
“You seem anxious. Hyper. And focused on yourself.”
He was right.
Bless you, Bobby.
And although I worked really hard to remediate those rats, they still show up from time to time.
With different messages.
Scurrying around my brain and scratching at the walls of untruth:
“Your anxiety is too much. It owns you.”
“You are mediocre at your job.”
“You make so many mistakes as a father. So many.”
“You suck as a husband.”
“Leaders do not lack the self-confidence you lack.”
And their untruths.
But #circleswithmyfeet puts them in their place.
Exposing their lies.
The circles of my feet going faster than their feet.
Even when my biking clothes fit too tight from a long winter on the hanger.
And my feet are slow in their circles.
Still the rats cannot keep the pace up.
And eventually give up.
And end their screeching.
And eventually their untruths.
Which is why I love my mountain bike.
And my students.
And my job.
And my daughter.
And my wife.
Not in that order.
The last is the first.
And I love my mountain bike community.
Who show up on a Sunday one hundred strong.
To improve the trails.
And to work.
So I have the opportunity to get rid of the rats in my head.
Is there a better place to live?
With people like that?
And a bike shop like that?
Who understand rats.
And how to remediate them.
By helping me tell them to ‘fuck off. ‘
Supporting my ability to make #circleswithmyfeet.
Gosh, I love my mountain bike.
And the community that comes with it.