Whitney Taylor struggled her whole life with fear, but learned to overcome it and find confidence in her life on the bike. Hear her story in this episode.
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- IG: @strengthinlight
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- 9 Ways To Increase Your Confidence On The Mountain Bike
- Face Your Fears With Lindsey Richter From Ladies AllRide
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Hello, hello, my name is Whitney Taylor, and I am doing a guest post today on female cyclists. We are going to talk about riding dirty and confidence. A little background about me before we dive in. I live in Fort Collins, Colorado. I’ve been here about four years, so I am a transplant. Like most people, I’m a huge advocate for women’s health. I coach women on the importance of nutrition to truly thrive in their sport and their lifestyle. I truly believe that moving heavy weight around, okay, lifting is just as important as moving for miles on end. And my story has taught me these very valuable lessons. So let’s get into it. I have truly spent the majority of my life playing it safe. I’m not kidding. Literally from the from when I can remember, I was taught that the world is scary. everything around me is scary. And there is zero room for risk taking because something scary could happen. So I grew up living in my little bubble, taking the safest routes in every area of my life. I went to college very close to home, I chose fitness regimen, which was running because my mother did running and running was safe. Or at least safe to me. I thought I would jump in a studio or the gym on occasion, I would only lift those five pound dumbbells, you know, those like little muscle pumps, I would do that. Or I would get on a spin pike and do some. So are those like three pound weights while you’re riding, but I would never ever try any other sport. That’s why I actually did try some sports that involve balls in that ended very poorly on every occasion. So again, I went back to running. And then one day, while I was out doing an 18 mile run, I fractured my pelvis. At the time, the fracture was the worst thing that had ever happened to me. However, looking back the fracture was truly a blessing. Because it broke my bubble. It broke that idea that everything needs to be safe. It made me realize that things are gonna happen in life. And you’re gonna need to figure it out. And that’s what also catapulted me into this idea that there’s more out there in life. I’ve now been broken, I’m now been knocked down. What am I missing?
It made me realize that playing it safe was just me playing it small, fearful, insecure, disconnecting from my feelings from who I truly thought I was meant to be. I was living by someone else’s rules that they had created for me that they were living by yet I didn’t know who I was.
So as I was healing from this fracture, I started discovering more of who I am I started asking questions. I picked up triathlons because I couldn’t run but I could swim. And I eventually was able to bike. And then we introduced running again.
I then found CrossFit and in CrossFit I was terrified I was that little girl that could not do a pull up. never touched a barbell in my life. Yet when I did the first workout, I needed more I saw these women that had these incredible bodies. I saw these women that had different bodies than I’d ever seen because all While I was used to was the endurance space, I saw different perspectives, different lifestyles, it really just brought so many different people together. And that’s what made me excited to jump in. Not to mention, it truly did transform my body.
But at the same time, I had this component of endurance that I missed. I wanted to figure out how to do both. But I was so fearful, again, fearful to challenge the status quo. So I experimented on my own, on and off, and I kept it to myself. And during this time, I was also doing the mental piece of it I was experiencing and trying to figure out what this concept of confidence meant. I wanted it, I needed it. And I thought the way to achieve it was to chase goals, which is one of the reasons why I joined CrossFit. Maybe if I gained a certain amount of muscle, then I’d be more confident. If I competed in this CrossFit competition, then I would be more confident if I completed my half Ironman, I would be more confident, and it was just chasing one endurance activity or one fitness activity after the other because if I accomplish something, maybe that’s where my confidence was, in every single time, I was so disappointed. I never felt more confident. I rarely even celebrated the accomplishment of what I did. I just went on to the next thing.
I was also reading self help books, I was looking at online courses. And all of these things were great in the moment, but never gave me more confidence. I maybe implemented it for a week. But it was so uncomfortable that I would just revert back to what I was doing.
And then one day, my husband asked me to go mountain biking with him. I did. And I hated every single second. I also cried a lot. And as soon as we finished that first ride the words out of my mouth were hell yes. When are we doing this again? Why did I feel that way? Because it was terrifying. It was absolutely terrible. And I was going so slow. My legs were burning. I didn’t know where I was going. I didn’t know what to expect. I had to get off my bike a lot. I also fell. Luckily, I was going so slow. I didn’t hurt myself.
But it made me feel so alive. It was like this thrilling ride that I could do. That gave me all of these feelings inside. But it was also such a physical it was just like a euphoric feeling physically as well. It challenged me. in so many areas of my life, I felt like I was more mentally exhausted than I was physically exhausted when I finished. And for a type a girl that needs control that loves planning that needs to know exactly what she’s doing and where she’s going and what what’s gonna happen. It was just outrageous that I enjoyed this activity so much. And so of course, we went again, I spent a season where I was renting bikes, just trying to figure out what I wanted to ride. And of course, I was terrible the entire time and fell a lot and learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way. Like if you really ride slow over everything, you will fall often.
I’ve now been riding for a little over two years, and I still call myself a complete newbie, I still have those moments of frustration and tears. But I have finally found something that has truly transformed my confidence from day one. But it’s not just on the bike. Yes, I have more confidence while I’m writing, but I have more confidence in every area of my life. It’s given me the ability to feel comfortable being uncomfortable. It’s given me the ability to face fears head on. And the reason why I say that is like when you’re on your bike, and you are either sitting at the top of a hill and you’re looking down at all the rocks and everything that could go wrong.
You need to make that choice of are you going to go or are you not? And instead of just overanalyzing and crying up there for 30 minutes, you go, you know it’s fearful you’re shaking, maybe you want to cry, but you go in, you know, while you’re going if you slam on those brakes, if you grab your front brake, you are going over those handlebars, you’re gonna fall so you just have to ride through the fear. And I have chills as I say this because it’s like it’s, it applies to everything and applies to business. It applies to relationships, it applies to training. It’s just it’s such a great lesson.
It’s taught me about failure. is one of the most valuable lessons it’s taught me of, it’s okay to fail, you need to fail, so that you can learn from those mistakes, get up and do it again, rip shorts, bloody knees, and all you get back on your bike and you roll. And it’s proven to me time and time again, that it’s okay to start messy. It’s okay to feel like you’re out of control in your bike, but then hone it back, gain control and keep moving forward. But at least you’re moving forward. It’s brought community into my life, it’s brought connection and clarity, to what I value the most in my life. And it’s made me realize I can truly conquer anything I set out to do, I can conquer those mountains, I can conquer those technical trails, I can conquer anything in my business, I can conquer it.
As long as I believe in myself, as long as I keep going. mountain biking to me, has truly been the most transformational thing that I’ve ever experienced. And it lights me up, it gives me so much fire when I can get on my bike and just go because every single time I do that, I get better. And I know if I keep doing things in my life, every single time, I will get better.
So this confidence has led me to be way more vocal about the way I train combining both endurance and heavy lifting is led me to start my own business. It’s led me to have a stronger relationships with friends, as well as my family. And I have truly honest last week, I got on my bike, and I crushed a trail that I had struggled on for a long time. And it just made me realize that how much of a better rider I’ve become, because I got up, I got on it. And I did it even when I sucked and I fell down. And I did it even when I couldn’t do areas of the trail. Because I’m there now and I’m getting better. And so mountain biking has not only brought all of these wonderful things to my life, but ultimately it has given me the confidence that I need to be more of who I am to take those risks, to live truly in who I am.
And so I hope that this resonates with some of you. And I hope that you too, can find confidence in mountain biking, regardless of where you are in the journey. Thank you so much for listening to my story.