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Ready Player One

I was pushing my bike up a steep goat path/fire road. The trail at the top is called Bon Scott. It’s a fitting name for a trail, because every time I reach the top of this grueling uphill, I just want to puke and die like Bon Scott did. My friends had pulled away from me and were out of sight. This left me with time to ponder my thoughts as I pushed my bike up the hill.

I thought about something a friend had mentioned. He said he likes to follow me off jumps because, I’m "really smooth in the air.”  I was very grateful to hear a compliment like that. But, I also realize that it was a pretty specific compliment. It didn’t mean I was all-around awesome. It just meant I had skill in one certain area of mountain biking.

  Mountain biking is comprised of many different skill sets, and it’s hard to excel at every one.

This reminded me of when I used to play video games. Often times the game would give you a choice of which character you could be, or which race car you could choose.
The strengths and weaknesses would be displayed in a bar graph next to a picture of each option.
As you might remember, a racer with the fastest top speed might also have the poorest acceleration and handling ability. And the racer that can accelerate quickly and turn on a dime probably tops out at a lower max speed.



Image result for jet moto 2 characters


As I pushed my bike up the hill, I imagined my player profile with slightly higher than average jumping ability. The next category would be endurance, and mine would be barely measurable. The remaining skills, like top speed and cornering might be about average.
Image result for cool boarders 2 characters
Image result for jet moto 2 characters

Breaking down your skill set into a player profile can have pros and cons. After spending decades on bikes, I’ve got a pretty good sense of who my player is. I know when we start riding that I’m not going to surprise myself and suddenly clean some massive hill climb. I’m also not going to nail a hundred-foot manual or bunny hop over a guardrail. My character simply does not have those abilities. Because of  this, I never approach a guardrail with the intent to bunny hop over it.

Being aware of my limitations prevents me from trying some things. Maybe this holds me back in some ways...or maybe this keeps me out of the hospital. But, just as I know my limitations, I also know my abilities. I can approach jumps and drops of a certain size and know that I have the ability to clear them.

The great thing about real life is that we don’t have to be stuck with the skills we have at the start of the game. We can focus on learning new things. We can challenge ourselves and develop better abilities as we gain experience. We can always take the opportunity to push ourselves just a little farther and raise the ability level up a point or two on our player profile.

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