At first, there are too many hooves cleaving the sweet dirt to count. Then, through the dust, you spy a sweaty horse, muscles straining with determination. You notice his gallop is slipping and see the worry etch across his jockey’s face. You feel the animal beneath you take notice as well as his body pulsate, piston-sharp, and he edges past the flagging animal, his sights set on the powerful beasts ahead of him. Your body feels incredibly fragile perched atop his, yet you are hooked on the drama. You could fall, your bones crunching under the weight of all those hooves. Your horse could take a career- and life-ending tumble. You could be close, so close, to that finish line and yet have a dark blur of hide and frothing mouth whiz past you, rendering you defeated.
Horse racing as a sport is just one of the more creative catalysts to get your adrenaline exploding. Others may trade a powerful animal for a plank of plywood screwed to four wheels.
Skateboarding, which has been around for decades, keeps adrenaline constant. The city is your playground — in the form of stairs, railings, empty swimming pools and even rooftops. The tricks, fueled by impressing the competition, can result in horribly broken bones piercing through the skin.
The sport is relatively inexpensive, which adds to its broad appeal. For the cost of a board and its accessories, you can feel weightless. You can skid down the same railings that pedestrians grab onto for support at amazing speeds. People are sure to take notice as they whip out their camera phones. If your goal is to risk a trip to the emergency room, this is the sport for you.
If your ambition is to cheat death, you might want to up the ante with BASE jumping. The acronym, which stands for building, antenna, span and earth, gives an idea of what heights people will scale to jump off of.
You will need a parachute and proper training before you tackle this more advanced sport. Because the objects are closer to the ground, you won’t have as much time to open a parachute as you doing when skydiving.
You might just be better off water skiing. Picture skidding across a cool river while strapped to skis and grasping a cable, thick planes of water spraying up around you. This way you can race, do aerial tricks or even ditch the skis and go barefoot if you’re feeling really crazy.
When choosing an extreme sport, you have to first identify your inner fears. Some of those, such as a fear of heights, may have originated in early childhood. If something isn’t terrifying you completely the first time, it will never get your adrenaline to the level it needs to be to cause complete euphoria. Adrenaline, by nature, makes you feel more significant than you are — taller, stronger and more brave. It is an often untapped resource that, strangely, does make you a better version of yourself.
image via National Geographic