Arnica You Glad I Didn’t Quit?

I promise, I am not abused, just extremely ridiculous

A few weeks ago I found myself wearing a pair of fabulous red high heels and a cute black work dress while confusing the heck out of a 58 year-old male pharmacist.

DonloreeHi. I need some help. I am looking for something called Arnica … ? *shrug*
PharmacistSure. Over here … (looking and nothing named ‘Arnica’ was found)
DonloreeMy friend said it was by the A535, is that here?
PharmacistOh, that’s over there. What do you need it for? Are you trying to get rid of a massive bruise?
DonloreeUh, yeah. A few of them … would like to make this black eye go away and if we can sort out the hand, arm and leg … well, that would be wonderful.
Pharmacist – (Leaning into my eye, seeing under my foundation and suddenly looking concerned) Are you ok? What happened? Your hand! Arm. Oh … uh… How did you get those bruises? Did someone do this to you? Did your boyfriend or husband hurt you? Uh … why do you need Arnica?
Donloree – (Laughing) Oh no! I’m fine, totally fine. Mountain biking. I am not an abused woman, I am just clumsy and ridiculous. If you knew me, it would make sense. Promise.
PharmacistWhy do you mountain bike? Stop it. You don’t look like a woman who mountain bikes. No more biking.
DonloreeI like it. It makes me happy. I am going to keep biking, so I need Arnica.
Pharmacist You’re sure you’re safe … right?
DonloreeSafe? Nah. Good? You bet. Awesome. Thanks!

First Official Ride of the Season – 1, Donloree – 0

My first ride with the crazy mountain biking women was reminiscent of my first day of fourth grade when I had to change schools. Walking across the field to find my teacher and class so I could line up when the bell rang was one of the scariest things I had ever done in my short 9 years of living.

  • But here’s the good news; I am 36 years old which means I made it through the fourth grade despite feeing like I was going to die.

Standing there with my fabulous white and teal bike, I felt out of place and my inner nine year old wanted me to run away and to never go back. It was the first day of school and I just wanted to fit in.

Guess what? I didn’t fit in, not at all.

I decided to wear white because it matched my bike (yes, I am that woman), I had never been on a group ride before and I didn’t know any of the terms that were flying around in the conversation.

  • Fearless, I am not. Ridiculous and tenacious, I am. Completely.

I made it through my first single track without dying and managed to stay on my bike going down a massive to me hill in a single track, so when a big ramp appeared in the path followed by an uphill full of roots, I gulped down the desire to run away and went for it. After I fell off the a-frame, banged my white helmet (told you I am that woman) on a log, turned into a Donloree pretzel with my fabulous bike smooshing me into the earth while still clipped to my shoes and my white clothes covered in mud, I just laid there and laughed.

It is more epic than it appears ... first a hill, then a slight flat, then the massive ramp thing, then uphill full of roots. I totally had it ... until I didn't.

It is more epic than it appears … first a hill, then a slight flat, then the massive ramp thing, then uphill full of roots and turns. I totally had it … until I didn’t.

Who does this?

A woman who has continually experienced the value of courage and community.

Over the years I have learned that if I don’t actively choose courage, there is no way I will ever be able to do the things that I want to do. Saying you want something and actually going after it are two different things.

Don’t let fear keep you from traveling the road of epic failure to finally arrive at success.

  • Courage. Competence. Confidence.

You cannot be truly confident unless you are extremely competent and to even begin to be competent at something you have to step out into the unknown and choose to embrace risk. This is true in work, sport, love and personal growth; courage bridges the gap between where you are to where you want to be.

Bridge building is a process and is something you can rarely do alone.

The next ride with the crazy and amazing women, I was told, *ahem* strongly encouraged, to face my fear and go with the group that was going to ride the trail with the a-frame. My latest near death experience was not going to definite me and my Arnica advice giving friend helped me look fear in the face and pedal through it, or more accurately, over it.

I made it over once, screaming the whole way, and the second time a woman named Tracy kept me from repeating the near death experience off the other side and then it is possible tears of frustration leaked out of my eyes.

What was I thinking? The darned ramp is as high as my hip ... then add in my bike height ... Ridiculous!

My ridiculousness makes my brow furrow in epic ways. What was I thinking? The darned ramp is as high as my hip … then add in my bike height … sheesh!

  • Being courageous is vulnerable. Freakishly vulnerable.

In order to not die while going after what you want in life, grab great people and learn from them. Find resilient people who are willing to go through the obstacles of life with you. Without people who believe in you and who have gone farther and further and are stronger than you are, you won’t get very far.

Grab some Arnica, show up and embrace the bruises that come on the path of learning and challenge; what you want is on the other side of ridiculous.

AND whatever you do, make sure you have some fabulous people to ride with; it makes all the difference.

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  1. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stop and appreciate that it didn’t kill you. After that, if we are good at taking mental notes, the chances of future killing should be minimal. Besides, what are we supposed to do, climb into a coffin and wait…?


    • Complete and utter appreciation. And there will be no climbing into coffins and waiting for death to come – there is a whole lot of living to be done!

  2. Cara Burtis says

    Love love love. Admire you

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