4th of July revelry and pushing past comfort zones

By Sarah Hansing

Alex Reveles* sends it over the tandem as Kazia ducks out of her comfort zone below.

Well. I have to say, this is probably the weirdest thing my co-worker (and friend) Candice has ever made me do, which is really saying something.

This month, the usual first Saturday of the Month “Girly Ride” from the shop didn’t go off, due to the 4th of July. So, instead of donning the … er… rather revealing lycra kit that I ironically DO feel comfortable in …

I was informed that I was to walk with Candice at the front of the Epicenter float at the Aptos Chamber of Commerce’s 4th of July World’s Shortest Parade. Now, I’m not saying that it’s not an adventure for me when it happens, but Candice and Kazia (two adorable sisters and Epicenter institutions) LOVE to play dress-me-up-Sarah. This usually means dresses, cute shoes, the full-on-makeup arsenal and in this case, even eye-lid glitter instead of just eyeshadow. (Honestly. I am so out of the make-up loop, that I actually just had to Google what “eyelid color makeup” is called.) I know I should feel pretty … but again – I do not feel nearly as comfortable in the dress-me-up-Sarah mode as I do in my skin tight lycra cycling clothes. Ironic, I know. But there you have it.

Oh wait – it gets better. I was also decked out in a long, wavy, bright red wig which was worn over my light colored, bleached out, short blonde hair. Basically, I did not look like me at all. Which IS kind of fun; even my co-workers and pretty close friends didn’t recognize me. So to recap: I am dressed up in the most uncomfortable way possible for me AND walking in front of a LOT of people at the front of a 4th of a July parade float.

It would be safe to say (and in fact would be an understatement) that this was in no small way out of my comfort zone. I mean REALLY out of my comfort zone. Really REALLY out of my comfort zone.

This got me thinking about mountain biking though.

You see, part of riding a mountain bike is that we all have to cross that line of our comfort zone on the trail. A new trail we’ve never ridden before, with elevations and technical sections we’re unfamiliar with. It’s a gamble, and is sometimes exciting but often nerve-wracking. Rides alone, instead of with the usual group, where maybe we are used to someone else leading the way: choosing the route, showing us the lines to follow, knowing what sections to avoid and what parts of the trail are perfect for our skill level. Maybe we hit a jump we’ve never tried before. Maybe we take a trail we’ve never seen. Maybe we finally go for that legendarily gnarly downhill that we’ve been avoiding for months.

All of these things take us out of our comfort zone.

And we become better for it.

It may not be an instant addition to our skill-set, but the fact that we were brave enough to try it helps us grow; expands our possibilities for the rides to come. Sometimes it doesn’t go as well as we had hoped, but we tried. And that means we’ll try again. We’ll keep growing.

Because the comfort zone isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

It WAS actually pretty cool to dress up. In fact, I’m thinking of … um … “borrowing” the dress that Candice loaned me. Forever. I felt different in it than I normally feel, but it felt good.

So take a spin outside of your comfort zone. It just might make you feel brave and pretty. (Or handsome). Because you are brave. After all, you took up mountain biking in the first place, right?

* Editor’s Note: for more on A-Rev and the Aptos Post Office Jumps, check out our article Inspired Farewell to the Iconic Post Office Jumps.

Candice (waving), completely at home in her costume ... with me, getting a feel for my July 4th persona. Photo: Michele Lamelin

Candice (left, bright red wig), completely at home in her costume … with me (right, darker red wig), getting a feel for my July 4th persona.

Zachary lets 'er fly.

Zach lets ‘er fly.

Store owners Shawn and Kazia rock the tandem and their festive duds.

Store owners Shawn and Kazia rock the tandem and their festive duds.

My shop fam.

My crazy and wonderful shop family.


​Fat Tire Tuesday columnist Sarah Hansing has been slinging wrenches as a pro bike mechanic for 15 years (with the exception of a one year stint working for Trek Bicycles in Wisconsin.) Epicenter Cycling scooped her up as their lead mechanic and the shop’s crew plans to ​keep her forever. Sarah loves riding singlet​rack, wrenching on bikes, and hanging out with her jerk-face but adorable cat Harlan. (Who is a jerk.)