Off My Line
About 2 years ago I started what appears to be a tradition with my accountability group. I invited them to our place in the Adirondacks for a weekend of snowmobiling and mastermind. Each year we seem to hit it just right with the snow. This year we were blessed with about 15 inches of fresh snow for the weekend. The first year we did this they had very little experience driving a snowmobile. It just so happens that year we began our day with a snowstorm in which you had very poor visibility so you had to drive slow in order to see through the storm.
It worked out great because they got to become familiar with driving the sled without much speed involved. By the end of their first weekend, they learned a lot about how to drive a sled safely.
This year being their third year, I did not have to explain much to them because they knew the drill, stay behind me and stay to the right of the trail. Like I said earlier the conditions were absolutely beautiful each day. The first day we rode about 117 miles of trails without putting too much strain on ourselves or the machines. The second day was better than the first. The trails were newly groomed and the cold over night temperatures made the snow really good for steering. I took them on a big loop from our place in Inlet to Indian Lake, Blue Mountain, Long Lake, Forked Lake, Raquette Lake, and 4th Lake. On our way to Blue Mountain the trail is very narrow and full of twists, turns and hills. It weaves through the woods in a very twisty, turn kind of way.
My buddy Kevin decided to take the second position in the line up right behind me. I was riding standing up to be able to see over the hills better for on-coming traffic, as well as it gives me better leverage and body positioning when carving the corners. Every time I took a really sharp turn I would glance back to see if Kevin was still with me. He was, and it seemed like he was really enjoying my pace, and so was I. I was really carving the corners and using the throttle to shoot around the corners. I got a little off my line going into a corner and ended up high in the loose snow on a particular turn. I got on the throttle to spin the back end around and as I came out of the turn the side of my ski bounced off of a sapling tree. It got my attention. I realized I was getting a little over zealous and needed to focus more and back off a little.
When I came out of that section Kevin was no longer behind me. I stopped and waited. The next rider was my friend Dr. Nate. He said Dr. Kevin went off the trail and was buried in the deep snow. He said they had stopped and dug him out and everything was fine. Eventually Kevin and Dr. Steve joined back up with us, none the worse for wear. Kevin’s ego was a bit bruised, but his body was fine.
When we got back to camp Kevin and I had a really great conversation about this section of our ride. I asked him if he saw me bump into the sapling tree. He said he did see that. I said to him that it was that moment that I realized that I was so focused on how much fun it was to carve the turns, that I lost my focus on keeping my line. Kevin was trying to figure out how he got off the trail. He said he was trying to mirror exactly what I was doing, and could not understand how he got off the trail. I am not the best snowmobile rider out there, but I have 25 years of experience, where he has 3 weekends each separated by 1 year.
We concluded that it is very easy for anyone to become over confident and comfortable, whether you have little experience or a lot. One thing is for certain, you can find yourself suddenly off of your line. The more experience you have, allows you to recognize it sooner to take action to get back on course. The less experience you have the slower you are to react. Almost like you are in denial, you “can’t believe this could be happening to me, after all, look how great I was back there.”
I hope you the reader can extrapolate this to your own life. How quickly do you recognize that you are off course? Are you in denial? Do you have the where with all to take decisive corrective action to get back on your line? Do you get buried so deep that you need help getting out? Or, are you too stubborn to allow others to help you when you need it? “No, I can do it myself even though it takes me 10 times longer.”