Off-road motorcycling has taught me a tremendous amount of things but one I value beyond any other is that it taught me how to stare my fear right in the eyes and hurl myself at it, hurl myself without regard for the outcome, without regard for rational analysis, armed with nothing but desperation, hurl myself at fear as it grips my throat and dries my mouth and blurs my vision. People who ride with me know the scale of my war, I’ve never been a knucklehead nor a person of any distinguished strength or skills. Which makes hurling myself at my fear that much more sublime, that much more insane, and that much more sacred.

You haven’t known yourself if you haven’t stared at a rock the size of your motorcycle and launched yourself at it with full speed, dropping the clutch and revving the throttle in a faint hope to build enough speed and momentum and front wheel lift to maybe get on top of it instead of crashing into it, breaking your wrists and collarbones.

When your whole essence, every cell of your body, echoed by millions of years of evolution screams in your head — do not do this! Why are you here? What are you gonna accomplish, even if you do end up going up that wretched rock? This isn’t worth it, turn back, there’s no need for this, turn back and go sit on your overpriced couch, no one will know. Turn back. Don’t do this.

You haven’t known yourself if you have not, on that moment, twisted the throttle and dumped the clutch.

And with time, you learn something that is worth more than everything you have ever learned from every piece of literature, self-improvement book, and programming tutorial combined. You learn to experience your own mind and your own body for what they truly are—and trust me, what you think you know about yourself is nothing, until you’ve stared at your rock-shaped fear the size of your motorcycle and hurled yourself at it, staring right at its fucking eyes, with no regard for the outcome.