Twas’ the Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the wood,

Not a bike could be be found, which was not understood,

The stockings were hung by the bike rack with care,

In hopes that new bike gear would soon be there,

Little shredder’s were cuddled, all snug in their beds,

While visions of sick drops n’ gnar gnar trails danced in their heads,

And mama on her new wheels, and I about to guide,

Had just head out, for a long winter’s ride,

When out in the wood there arose such a clatter,

I sprang on my bike to see what the matter,

Away from the sound I rode like a flash,

Tore up the sick features and threw down a mad dash,

The moon on the mountain and the fresh fallen snow,

Made me stop and think, how epic, this is like ‘whoaaa’,

When, what to my curious eyes should appear,

But a miniature e-bike and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little ol’ rider, all decked to the nines,

Santa, I said, my don’t you look fine,

Quicker than a fox that ebike did go,

And he whistled, and shouted to the lil’ reindeer out in the snow,

Now grarly! now rampage! now epic! and shredder

On fast feet, on dropper, on racer and redder,

To the edge of the wood, to the end of it all,

Pull this little e-bike, and fast, but don’t let it fall

As dry leaves fill the trail and snow begins to fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, just hold the handles, balance and try,

So up to the house top that e-bike it flew,

With surprisingly enough horsepower to pull all those toys and fat old Santa too

And then with a peddle, I heard on the roof,

The soft chug of that e-motor and a lil’ reindeer hoof,

As I got off my bike, and was turning around

Down the chimney that Santa, flew off his bike, in a bound

He was dress’d in his helmet, stylish new gear head to foot

And his clothes were all tarnished, muddy with trail soot,

A bundle of bikes, hung from his back

Wow, he must be jacked, all those bikes in his pack,

His legs oh his calves looked so defined and merry,

his cheeks red from riding, and his nose like a cherry,

The padding he wore protected his round bod and his teeth,

and although it was odd, round his neck, he wore a wreath

He had a broad face, a little round belly

That shook when he huked off drops, like a bowl full of jelly,

Despite his long ride, he was chubby, a right jolly ol elf

and I chuckled when I saw him in spite of myself

A changing of the gear, and a peddle to the ground,

Gave me info to know, to ride with this guy, I would have to pound

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work

and fill’d the stocking near the bike rack, and then angled with a jerk

And laying his finger, up inside his nose,

I said Santa that’s gross but assured me, it’s fine, that’s how it goes,

He sprung up the chimney, e-bike and all with a whistle

and away they all rode, like the down thistle,

but I heard him scream out, as he drove into the night,

Merry Christmas mountain bikers and to the rest, go buy a new bike!!

Wishing you the very merriest Christmas Folks!!!

– Woody

How to get your man in the saddle

While contemplating the subject of my next article I took to some popular mountain biking blogs, youtube videos and forums to do a little investigation. One dominant theme that kept seeming to pop up and smack me right in the kisser was the concept of providing effective methods for men to get their lady to mountain bike. I discovered a plethora of tips, tricks, advice and how to’s to lure and coax the less dominant, gentle and softer sex into the manly man mountain bike world. A few examples of titles included:

  • Men: How to take your girlfriend mountain biking and still have sex after
  • How to get your girlfriend hooked on mountain biking
  • How not to mountain bike with the wife
  • So you want to teach your girlfriend or wife to mountain bike

You get the drift. At first I thought – Barf. Like I, and so so soooo many rad ladies, need a dude to ‘show us the light’ and get us into one of the most awesome sports on the planet. I read through a few of these prose and being the equitable and fair minded type individual that I perceive myself to be, attempted to see the other side of the coin. I’ll admit, there was some useful information that triggered my own deep reflection. How might I go about this very same dilemma should I be faced with such a challenge ? After all, biking has found its way into my heart and although there’s room for more love – it will have to be shared. And so, the idea for this article was born.

So you’re a bad ass mountain biker girl, you’ve found the other love of your life and he doesn’t mountain bike

Try these steps to get your man in the saddle and shreddin’ along your side (likely in your dust, but still, better than not at all):

1 – Convince him to buy a bike

This is step one and obviously critical to the process. He will quickly learn, if hasn’t already, that if he wants to spend time with his honey that it is imperative he both owns and learns to ride a bike. This will become a topic of conversation at some point  and you must be prepared. When this realization starts to sink in you may notice him asking more questions and becoming more curious about the sport. To peak his interest start YouTube-ing some epic mountain biking clips when he’s around to show him how impressed you are by these dudes or dudettes. He will want to be like the rad dudes and impress you too. Be ready and prepared with some viable bike options that look ‘epic’ but not priced ‘epic’ but are also super fun to ride. I’d recommend finding some demo days or borrowing a friends bike to see what feels right for him. Share in the excitement of the buying a new bike process and keep encouraging him along the way. When he sees how much you dig it, learns more about how amazing and fun the sport is he’ll be forking out the cash for a huge new value added toy to his life.

You wanna be with a mountain biker girl, fork out the dough!

2 – Sooth his Ego

Let’s face it, the majority of dudes have egos. It’s not easy for anyone to learn a new skill in adulthood but it seems it’s especially challenging for a man to put himself out there and be crappy at something that’s a ‘ manly man’ sport. Us gals typically find it easier to laugh at ourselves, join a herd of other ladies on a weekend getaway or sign up for lessons. So, with your guy start easy and ease him in BUT don’t let him ‘think’ it’s easy. Go on about the gnarly trail that you want to take him on and tell him that even though he’s new that you think because of his ‘athleticism’ he can do it. Take him on a green or easy blue and throw a tip out there in a passive way, like ‘ oh sometimes when I go uphill I bring my chest closer to the handlebars and it seems to work’. When he nails whatever the challenge, big high fives, treats and fist pump. Soon he’ll be feeling comfortable and will join in on groups ride. Until then he’ll know that he has his lovely lass as a safety net to learn with.

3 – He gets to look at your butt

He will likely want to bring up the rare as his confidence isn’t quite there yet. It’s also a good idea for him to see the lines you take and how you handle and position yourself on the bike. The other HUGE benefit for him is that he gets to check out your cute butt for the better part of the ride. Encourage him to ‘stay focused’ but let him have this nugget as it’s good for you both. He gets to check out his amazing gal’s behind and you get to help build his skills. He also get to see you crushin’ trails on your bike which is also very hot.

4 – Pumped tires and improved sex life

We all know mountain biking is as much a mental game as it can be a physical one. Building confidence in the right way can work wonders for someone new to the sport. One of the best ways to do this in mountain biking is ‘seshioning’ sections of the trail. Breaking down trails, eyeing up lines and encouraging each other and then crushing them is one of the biggest highs in the sport. This can be HUGELY satisfying with buds and even that much more fun with a partner. Take the time to do this early on in the game, award him with kisses and sexy stares when he nails a maneuver or skill and with all the endorphins you get rockin’ don’t be surprised when you guys are crushin’ something else later that day.

Pump up his tires, hahaha not literally silly!

5 – Always follow a ride with a cold brew at the trail head

Similarly to Pavlov’s infamous experiment (making a dog salivate at the sound of bell by offering a delish steak at the same time) – pair a peddle with a cold brew over and over and over again. Soon your honey will be programmed for a positive response when biking. He will associate mountain biking not only with being with his rad lady, pounding out positive endorphins and boosting his ego but also with the delicious and refreshing feeling of a crisp ice cold beer hitting his thirsty lips on a hot summer’s day. Always be sure to pack a cooler with ice packs and at least two cold beer per rider. He will be head over heals and salivating at not only the beer, but also you AND mountain biking as well. Winning!

Congratulations you have found yourself a mountain biker and there’s a much high probability that you will live happily ever after : ) !

6 Reasons why you should have a crush on Emily Batty

This article was initially wrote in jest and not because I don’t think Emily Batty is a bad ass chick and an amazing mountain biker worthy of a ton of admiration and respect. One of my best friends, new to the mountain biking world recently picked up the Canadian Biking magazine, with a picture of Batty done up to the nines and looking her beautiful self splashed on the cover. She hasn’t stopped raving about the superstar ever since so we always tease that she has a huge crush on bombshell Batty. Since researching Emily’s story, I have to admit, I’ve come to develop my own little crush on this very rad Canadian gal. She is rippin’ up the cross country scene around the world and has reached a well deserved superstar status for not only her performance but also all the other awesome things about her.

1 – She’s a girly girly glam gal and super cute

Emily Batty has long blond hair, bright blue eyes and a cute supermodel like look. Whether she’s being interviewed, on social media or shreading muddy, gruesome trails in what is traditionally deemed as a male dominated sport, she is wearing her makeup (the whole nine yards) and looking like the self proclaimed ‘girly girl’ she refers to herself as. During her competitions, Batty even wears a pearl necklace discovered among her mother’s jewelry when she was 11 years old – how sweet is that? I love the way the 5’2 Batty owns her femininity. I think, because of it, it sets her apart. I believe she’s helping to erode the machoism in the sport and in doing so is increasing its popularity. Both young males and females are drawn to her glamorous and girly yet down home vibe. The little cute girly girly glam gal means business and certainly demands the respect of her competitions, fans and mountain biking enthusiasts all over the world. You go girl !

2 – She’s tough as nails

Time and time again Emily has proved she’s one tough cookie. Although she speaks about not being competitive against others she has the heart of a champion and a drive to become one that’s second to none. Through broken bones, dislocated joints, scrapes and scars, and devastating crashes – she has persevered. Although all of these come part and parcel with being a mountain biker what sets Emily apart is her willingness to set those ailments to the side and still give 100 percent in competition and battle through the pain. One example was in 2012, Emily Batty broke a collar bone in training (I think a day or two before the competition) and in extreme pain, still started and finished the Women’s Mountain Bike at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Hadleigh Farms in London. One word – hardcore.

3 – She’s addmitedly human

It’s not easy to admit that something intangible is wrong and keeping you from doing the things you want to do. It’s also hard to understand how these psychological injuries can’t be fixed by bandages, metal plates, a few stitches or some simple pill. You can feel like all controlled is completely relinquished and you are at the whim of your ever so complicated mind. This can happen to anyone but maybe even more challenging to imagine that superstar hard-core athletes, loved by the world, like Emily Batty have their battles as well. After her devastating crash severely impacting her results at the 2012 London Olympic and missing the podium by 2 seconds in Rio four years later the disappointment sent her plummeting into into a deep depression. Emily says that “I’ve learned so much, I’m an athlete but I’m more human than I think people realize, going through a severe depression actually, quite dark for awhile,” she said. “I almost get emotional talking about it and I’m still healing’.

4 – She’s an amazing mountain biker

This badass biker gal has a resume to die for. She began really showing the world what she was made of in the opening round of the 2012 World Cup, where she finished in second place in South Africa and represented Canada at the London Olympic Games that year. Emily has stood on multiple World Cup podiums and won her first Elite National Champion title in 2013. She also achieved a silver medal in the Commonwealth Games in 2014 while representing Canada. In 2016 was she claimed the bronze medal at the Mountain Bike World Championships and then finished in fourth place, at the Rio Olympic Games, as well as finishing third overall in the World Cup XCO standings. Recently, she put another Canadian championship under her belt and finished bronze at the world championship in 2018. Amazing!

Check out this utube video of Emily shreddin’.

https://youtu.be/Mf7pO7tiVLk

5  – She’s a small town Canadian farm gal

Emily was born in Brooklin, Ontario in 1988. Brooklin is a community in Whitby with a population of about 20,000. That’s right – a born and bred Canadian gal from small town Ontario. Better yet, she was raised on a farm and is the third of four children. Cycling was a way of life for the Batty’s. Her older brother introduced her to the sport, their farm was partially converted to a pump and skills track and with her brothers eggin’ her on and there was no turning back.

Check out ‘the beginnings of a professional mountain biker’ utube video to learn more about her roots.

 https://youtu.be/PqPbUFAPDgM

6 – She’s a genuine ambassador of the sport

Probably my favourite reason why you should dig this gal is that she is a true and genuine ambassador to the sport and young women. She truly wants to make a difference in the lives of younger people, especially girls, by encouraging and supporting the development of young Athletes. At the end of her races, Batty will ensure she speaks with all her adoring girl fans prior to dealing with officials, coaches, podium presentations etc. She typically ends up on her feet, sometimes detrimental to her competition, but she knows that all those small little conversations can go such a long way. She also recently launched a new non-profit campaign with a simple and powerful mission to get more kids riding bikes. She believes that there is a need to help and facilitate growth in the sport of cycling, particularly with a focus on youth at the entry or grassroots level. I wish I rode my bike like Emily did when I was 11!

Check out this http://Www.emilybatty.com where the Emily Batty Project teams up with Durham Shredders Youth Mountain Bike Cycling Program to get more kids on bikes.

There are probably many more reasons why you should dig this gal but these are the ones that stood out. I’ll continue to watch Emily chase her dreams, impress the world and show us that even girly girls can kick serious butt.

-Woody

Inch by inch, row by row gonna make UROC grow

It’s been over a week and I’m still on a buzz from the last serious rendezvous on my bike. Flights were booked as a last minute hail Mary in hopes to escape the Canmore snow and continue the desperate attempt to extend the mountain bike season just one weekend further. As we flew over the Coast Mountains the setting sun enthusiastically danced off the mildly snow covered peaks. There was a sense of ease in the air as our wheels touched the tarmac as if to gently whisper a warm welcome to island life. It wasn’t until recently that I had learned about Cumberland – a small community in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. The growing rumbles of its reputation as a mountain biking destination with 100+ diverse trails right from its doorstep made me add it to my must see list. After a quick stopover at this mountain bike haven I’d come to learn that the town, the people, biking community and trail association that backed it were truly something unique and special. Many of the locals that crossed our path over the two day trip felt that it was a privilege to live in the town of Cumberland that they agreed was the ‘best place in the world’. The unique environment and the biking community’s growth has it’s own biking Cinderella story built on the backs of the hard work, dedication,  and passion from many of the local riders.

Cumberland, UROC and land access

The entire trail network in Cumberland sits on private land owned by two timber companies – an industry the town heavily relies on for jobs and economy. Until recently building trails and riding on them was technically trespassing. Unlike many other parts of British Columbia, the forests around Cumberland are owned by private companies (as is the case for much of Vancouver Island). The United Riders of Cumberland, or UROC, trail association was initially created to; provide a formal voice for the bike community, to advocate for access to the trails and work to establish an agreement with the landowners. In 2015, UROC signed a land access agreement that has since been renewed which saw the group formally take the accountability for managing the trail network and allowed legal access to the area. A game changer for the riders, the community and a ton of people who had yet to experience this hidden gem.

After pedaling up to my second run of my first day in Cumberland I came across a group of mountain bikers with a chill and friendly ease to them. I asked for directions to a trail called ‘blockhead’ and they warmly went out of their way to assist and peddled alongside to show me the way. In the group was Nathan Kwan, who I learned plays an integral role in UROC. Nathan is ‘Trail Manager’ for UROC which he’s been in now for almost two years. He told me that he’s a jack of all trades. His responsibilities range from; trail maintenance, volunteer coordination, liaising with landowners, managing sponsorship’s, supporting programs like the kids club and organizing ladies rides. He was vibrating as he enthusiastically relayed this information to me. Right away I felt that UROC and the biking community of Cumberland were in good hands with this bright, committed and friendly chap leading the charge.

Vanilla Trail on a oh so beeeeautiful day!

Growth and Challenges

I leaped at the chance to pick Nathan’s brain deeper to understand another layer of the UROC story and some of the reasons why their membership has grown from 86 to 750  since 2014 (that’s a whopping 772 percent!). He prefaced his response with the importance of the agreement with the timber companies but also indicated that ‘amazing volunteers who are so dedicated to building rad trails, hosting high profile races, having a community that embraces and promotes the trail network and the ongoing communication with land owners’ were the backbone of its success. They aren’t without their challenges however but Nathan says they are good ones to have. He noted ‘learning to build and maintain sustainable trails that can withstand traffic, keeping up with the trends like e-bikes, and continued advocacy and work towards ensuring we can maintain our land access agreements’ were a few but also noted that if they help strengthen the network that they are challenges warmly welcomed.

Inclusion & Diversity 


‘Weekly ladies rides on average saw over 60 participants  and in the past 4 years a whopping 50 percent of UROC membership have been females’

– Nathan Kwan, Trail Manager – UROC

One of the vibes I picked up on my two days riding was not only the diversity of the trails but more importantly the diversity of the people riding them. Guys and gals of every age, shape and size had their choice of the trails that suited just what they wanted – steeps, drops, features, flow, technical roots and rocks and some smooth n’ easy greens . I’m sure the growing and diverse engagement has part to do with Cumberland being an awesome place to ride but it’s not all by coincidence. UROC does a lot behind the scenes to support programs that encourage youth and women to get out and ride. According to Nathan, ‘In partnership with the Cumberland Community School Society, we run a Kids MTB Club that sees 40+ little rippers out each week in a supportive group ride setting’. He also said, that they have ‘amazing volunteer leaders for the UROC Ladies Ride that’s seen incredible growth’. I could tell how stoked he was that this year the weekly ladies rides on average saw over 60 participants and that in the past 4 years a whopping 50 percent of UROC membership were females. As I listened I recalled a time not that long ago when I barely saw ladies on the trails. To think that over half of this trail associations membership were females brought a huge grin to my face.

Little Rippers Race showing the diversity of this riding community – start em’ early!

Support UROC and your local trail alliance or association 

After our chat I took some time to think a little deeper on trail organizations like UROC and their integral role in advocacy, trail development, safety, maintenance and promotion of the sport. These groups have such an important role in creating the amazing experiences, riding communities and formal structure that allows us mountain bikers to do perhaps the thing in life that brings us the greatest joy – to ride. We all have a part to play in giving back to these groups. This not only secures our own license to operate but also allows us to be apart of something unique and something special – like the development and growth of amazing places like Cumberland that we can come back to time and time again knowing that we are going to get more back than we could ever give. You can support UROC and other trail association by purchasing a membership or making a donation on trail forks. Thanks to UROC, Nathan and the Cumberland community for being such a rad place – you have my support   https://www.trailforks.com/region/cumberland-forest/.

Happy Riding!

-Woody

Unduro Girl – Local Spotlight

We all know those people who puke out talent in every aspect of life. The genetic jack pot served them well allowing them to bypass many of the ‘normal’ steps required to become advanced in certain disciplines – they are the cream that more easily rises to the top. When this delicious cream combines itself with a handle willing to put in the churn – watch out. There is no stopping this kind of cream pie!

Cream Pie!!!

Krista Cook is a cream pie but even more importantly to me, she’s a good friend. She is a take charge kind of girl with a soft and feminine way about her. I met Krista when I moved to the mountains almost two years ago. A friend had connected us to train for an upcoming race. Immediately, I was drawn to her energy, friendly demeanor and her contagious ear to ear smile that never seemed to leave her face. Her external and internal beauty is abundantly present, her list of unique sporting achievements is impressive and, in knowing her, I have this sense, that at 28, the best is yet to come.

Krista huckin’ off features
Krista representing the Prarie Girls

Krista does not have a super rad story about how she picked up biking, ‘Awwweee I wish I did – a past boyfriend raced on an XC team in Ontario, so I went to hang out at the races and agreed to try one’. Being the open minded individual that she is, that summer in 2015, she gave it a go but after a summer riding XC the gnariness of the ‘downs’ were calling her. Even though she had the perception that ‘downhill mountain biking was more for the bros’ she didn’t let that stop her, and after moving to Canmore she quickly found an enduro team called the Prairie Girls and went after it.

For many chicks (and guys for that matter) the thoughts of bombing down a hill on two rubber wheels at speeds clocking over 70 clicks an hour with limited protection is not only super intimidating but also pretty darn scary. Although Krista is just about as tough as they come she’s been both of those things too (although you would never say it if you watched her shred down a mountain). Like many successful individuals Krista will never accept no for an answer and finds resourceful ways of making things happen for herself. Not only did she master a new bike and type of riding in a season and a half, but also kicked some serious butt in local enduro races in Bragg Creek and Revelstoke. She has already found herself competing against professional and national level riders.

The ups n’ downs

When describing some of her biggest challenges in competition, I had to chuckle when she told me about the rental she used for her first enduro race this season. Not realizing her ride ran tubes she proceeded to get 3 flats and eventually put a 29” tube on her 27.5” tires which, of course, didn’t make things go any smoother and she ended up running over 5 kilometers of the race just to complete the event. She’s had other typical mechanical issues and equipment hiccups but she just shrugs and chalks it up to the ‘learning process’. Krista admits however, that her biggest challenge is ‘mostly psychological’ and setting realistic expectations for herself. Even as a ‘cream pie’, she realizes women out there who have been working longer, are extremely focused and have the racing experience that she doesn’t quite have yet. She was humbled in Panorama, where she proclaims that she had ‘her ass handed to her’ at a national event while competing against pros and national level competitors. She holds herself to a much higher standard than most. This has been a double edged sword but also the reason why she already, very legitimately, has her heart set on racing in the Enduro World Series.

Growing Sport

Although enduro style riding is dominated by males, the percentage of women entering the sport is quickly gathering steam. Krista says that she’s still a baby in competitions where most of the female competitors are in their 30’s and many into their 40’s. She thinks that the growing number of programs being offered to children will result in many young female rippers lightin’ up the scene in the next 5-10 years. For the most part, Krista says, the most typical dude attitude she encounters about enduro gals, is that they are just super stoked to see chicks out riding alongside them; going up and over features, down drops and getting mad air. In fact, she says, they are often happy to let her blow by (as she often does).

When I asked Krista about the other rad enduro chicks she’s gotten to know she describes them as ‘sooo warm, welcoming and encouraging’. She feels like they have had similar experiences in this primarily male dominated sport and are, ‘over the moon to find other women to ride with who are fast and want to push that style of riding’. She loves the chill vibe that comes with the enduro community and agrees that XC mountain bike racing is to road running as enduro riding is to trail racing. She says she was shocked to see guys, in the middle of a competition, get off their bike a walk half the uphill before taking a 10 min recess comprised of snacks, a pee, equipment change, tire pressure adjustment and a turkey dinner with all the fixins’ (just kidding) before rippin’ back down.

Words of Wisdom

Krista’s advice to other women who have been curiously eyeing up enduro is, ‘the sooner you start the better’. She encourages you to get out on your bike and ride with people who are better than you are, and will push you beyond what you may have thought possible. She notes that most mountain towns have local races that are smaller and less competitive than others. She pointed out that the toonie races in Bragg Creek helped to build her confidence in the sport. ‘Sign up with a friend so at least you’ll have one friendly and familiar face by your side’.

For Krista the world is truly her oyster. She has the talent, the courage and the attitude to accomplish whatever she chooses to chase in life whether it be competing on a bike, in the pool on her legs or down a river. I’m so excited to watch this girl go after her dreams and celebrate her achievements. I encourage all of you to watch this space as this awesome, badass, yet gentle and unassuming chick takes on the world. Follow Krista’s adventures @krista.jayne.

– Woody 

Mountain Biking School is Cool

A lot of recreational riders don’t really think that it’s necessary or worthwhile to take classes or courses to improve their skills (I would have previously included myself in this category). And for the longest time, my perception has been, that there wasn’t a ton of offerings out there that catered to what you may have been looking for or that there just wasn’t awareness on what was being offered. With the explosion in the popularity of the sport, development of trail centers and bike parks and more and more people, and a ton of women, realizing just how amazing and fun mountain biking is the school bells are ringing and calling you to haul on your backpack, grab your paper n’ pencil and take a seat (preferably on your bike). I’m here to tell you why I think it’s such a great idea to have a lifelong learning approach to this sport whether be in the classroom, online or through a local program or course. 

Better Skills = More Fun

Have you ever had a line, drop or gap that you have continuously road around, eyed up that has deflated you every time you said to yourself,  ‘I can’t do it’ and then one day, down the road, you eventually have the confidence that you have the skills to nail it and you do. AND the result is being on the biggest stoke ever. Well, if you learn and understand the skills and improve your technique and riding abilities you can dramatically expedite this process, ride more efficiently, develop more confidence and find yourself nailing maneuvers you may have never dreamed possible.

Mountain biking is a technical sport 

I think there are a ton of recreational riders out there who have been riding for years and are super shredders but likely will never meet their potential because they think they can’t really learn anything else or have picked up some bad habits along the way.  AND the more ‘advanced’ you are (or think you are) the more likely you will put yourself in a sketchy situation or really getting hurt because of the increased risk you may be exposing yourself too.

When you are a beginner and are learning a new sport it’s so important to develop the foundational skills properly (I wish I did this more when I started). It is extremely easy to develop bad habits. Best to take the approach (like the majority of other sports in the world) to get educated, develop the foundations and build from there.

 You meet awesome people and grow your riding network 

Rad crew I recently met on a PMBIA course – Canmore, AB

Every experience I’ve ever had taking a course for any sport has been positive. You meet like minded rad people and get to go through what it typically a really cool learning process together. This often spurs on deep and tight connections that can last a lifetime and there is a ton of value in that. You also get to grow your riding network and can connect with more folks of your ability level to ride with.

Instructors will see things you can’t

Awesome mountain bike coach Kevin instilling his knowledge!

It’s so challenging to really understand and see how your body is positioned or how you may be moving incorrectly on inefficiently. You may think you are nailing a skill or maneuver but often the reality is this there is always room for improvement or and correcting something you’re doing wrong. Insert instructor here to guide you along the way.

Additional thoughts on women vs. men adult riders on this topic:

Because women are more rational, logical and better decision makers than men they innately know all the above without ever having to ready this article (totally kidding dudes – you are clever in all these ways too!). There may however, be a little more ego when it comes to male riders and they might not be as open to learning in a structured setting as an adult (generally speaking). I believe women are more open to taking a formal approach to learning new  mountain biking skills as a beginner. This is why, I think, women programs, courses and retreats have grown so quickly in popularity. So guys don’t be afraid to be crappy at something when you start (a fear of many male athletes) as an adult – take class, join a clinic and gain the confidence you need and you’ll be shreddin’ the trails in no time.

Some well respected mountain bike schools or programs in my area (that I know of):

Happy Riding !!

– Woody

Why this Mountain Biker Girl loves mountain biking

Many people wait lifetime to fall in love and sadly, some never do. The deliciousness of the desire to pour your heart and soul into someone or something with no regard for the return on investment. This person or thing not only brings with it happy moments and big silly grins but a sheer, deep down joy that fills your chest and heart with a humbling and exciting feeling of continuous amazement and pure awesomeness. A feeling, for me, is hard to believe that a relatively simplistic contraption with a frame, seat and two rubber wheels can bring.

Banff National Park

My love affair with mountain biking didn’t start with electricity or fireworks. In fact it’s been a prolonged dance due to the balancing act I attempted and somehow managed to maintain throughout my twenties. Pursuing a career, completing a masters degree and maintaing a spot on the Canadian National women’s amateur boxing team while competing all over the world didn’t allow for much breathing time. And certainly, no time to give a new sport a go. But in time I would hang up my gloves, finish my masters and found time to rediscover myself and once again open my heart to new adventures. And sure enough mountain biking was there, waiting like a anxious puppy in the window, furiously wagging his tail, big round eyes begging for me to come play. And I did.

I could write a book about the many reasons why I think mountain biking is such an amazing sport and maybe someday I will but for now i’ll say this. I’ve completed in many different sports over the years but have found none that have ever made me feel like I was 10 again. The ever so sacred feeling of shredding up, around and down moutains on two wheels,  is unrivalled in contest. The uphill grind that triggers your heart to feriousily pump oxygen to your legs while working to hold on to every last breath of air your lungs soak in.  And then there’s the downhill – ohh the down, that addictive exlposive rush of nervous excitement as you bomb down terrain that previously only mountain goats and skiers could have endured.

If you are a mountainbiker and I assume you are if you’re reading this then I know you understand. You are privy to what sometimes feels like a secret club because it’s just so awesome. This is a growing, evolving and addictive art, that you only get to understand if you join the club. Do it !

#Shredtogether

-Woody