Loving the Mountain Bike Life

Posted by SCW on the Singletrack Geek blog

It’s a funny thing, this mountain bike life. To choose to love a mountain biker is to choose to love this crazy life. I’m not sure I fully understood that 8 months ago when I wrote my first guest post here. I knew that our Singletrack Geek has a passion for mountain biking that was completely missing in my life. And I was pretty sure that if I wanted to see much of him during summer months (oh, I was so naive) I should take an interest in this ‘hobby.’ But I had no idea that it’s so much more than a hobby – it’s a lifestyle. And, I reiterate, to love a mountain biker is to choose to love the mountain bike life.

It started simply enough. A pair of ugly shorts I wouldn’t normally be caught dead in. Even uglier undershorts – a combination of lycra and padding that I can’t believe I spent good money on. A borrowed helmet and gloves, and off we’d go. Now and then. Me on Singletrack Geek’s number 2 bike. And then, sometime this spring, the progression. Rides a few more frequently. My own helmet. A used backpack with hydration pouch. A spare pair of Singletrack Geek’s gloves, complete with funky mountain biker smell.

Who the hell is that girl in the ugly shorts?

And finally. At long last, and after a few negotiations, my very own bike. She may not be much to hardened mountain bikers, my Giant Trance from several models ago, but she’s a perfect steed for me. Oh, I guess a girl bike can’t be a steed … well … you know what I mean. She’s blue and fits me perfectly. And oh, that lady saddle – I do so love my lady saddle.

You can take the Princess out of the gown ... err ...

Suddenly, I’m looking at parts and gear. Handle grips. Better ugly shorts. Ugly shoes that will stick to my pedals better, probably with covered laces. My own gloves, sans funky smell. A month ago I said “but I don’t have a bike category in my budget.” That’s no longer true.

After one month of bike ownership, I already understand the “how many bikes does a mountain biker need? 1 more than they currently have” truth. I mean, clearly it doesn’t make sense to ride a full-suspension bike to commute to work. Surely I need a commuter bike for that. Something that looks cute with a skirt, preferably.

The buying is one thing, but I’m also learning that the gear can’t help a hopeless rider. I’ve not necessarily progressed skill and fitness-wise as quickly as I’d like. Mostly because it’s been winter and I’m a wuss. But I have progressed enough to see a few differences. To remember to hold my feet flat on downhills. To ‘almost’ remember to gear up BEFORE I lose momentum on a climb. But I’m not really talking here about the riding or the gear. I’m talking about the way mountain biking informs our life.

Looking good on the Cliffs of Moher

I LOVE that Singletrack Geek takes the time to teach me about the sport so that we can share it together. I also love his friends – the circle of guys who will drop anything to get up early on the weekend and hit the hills, then chill at the house after and re-visit each run over beers and BBQ. I love the way they constantly try to improve, and encourage each other to improve.

I love that we’re planning a summer vacation to California, and that part of the planning includes what bikes we might rent and what trails we might ride in Tahoe. I love that one day of the trip, Singletrack Geek will go ride Mount Tam while I relax at a spa.

I love that we’re looking for a new home, and that along with the three bedrooms and two bathrooms we need space for bike storage and bike maintenance. And room for those post-ride beer and BBQ sessions.

Splash Down

It’s been a while – decades, perhaps – since I’ve gotten to play in the outdoors with the freedom and abandon that mountain biking affords me. But it’s sure strange to me at times.

Today I found myself standing beside the car. Completely exhausted, watching the water drip off my bike and the mud cake on my legs. Ugly shorts over uglier shorts. Bright yellow and grey jersey. Helmet & ponytail hair. This is not who I am 99% of the time.

I’m a pumps and pencil skirts girl. My perfect day involves the spa, white wine, chocolate and dinner out. I like tea in china cups. The happiest I thought I could be was in a corsetted, strapless, 14 petticoat ball gown and silver mary-jane dance shoes. I rely on my mind for my vocation and my interests. I spend my money adventuring in foreign lands, and luxuriating close to home, not finding new ways to explore local hills. And I have no real plans to give any of those things up.

And yet, there I was. Dirty, exhausted, poorly dressed, and immeasurably happy. The distance between who I thought I was and who stood beside that car today is incredible. This sport really is becoming my life.

Did I mention that I (mostly) love it?

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3 thoughts on “Loving the Mountain Bike Life

  1. Love this post!!!! I think we can all relate to how this sport has become our life!

    Sometimes I feel like I live a double life…when I’m all dressed up in my work clothes, blow-dried hair and high heels…..none of my colleagues or customers would have any idea that the reason I choose dark stockings today was to cover the bruises and healing wounds on my legs! Nor do they realize that my new beauty spot will be gone by tomorrow, as it really is just mud that I somehow missed when cleaning up from this mornings ride!

    And it seems I’m not the only one. I’m always so inspired by the girls I meet on the trails! I am shocked at the number of highly educated women that love to MTB (I can think of 5 friends immediately that have PHD’s and love to ride!)……whats the correlation between being super smart and wanting to hurl yourself down a mountain on two wheels? And also the number of amazing mothers that not only ride, but ride hard! I can imagine the double life they must be living….super mum by day, hard core rider by night/early morning! lol.

    The truth is, is that we love our secret mountain bike lives! And it’s even better when you can share this life with others who understand the extents we go to, to keep both of our lives in cohabitation!

  2. I enjoy mountain biking. It’s the only thing that i do to feel good at my free times. I can’t count the number of times i have gone far away biking and enjoying with friends. Going through the terrains and those trails in the forests and the bushy land. Great adventure! Sometimes even taking an easy ride in the neighborhood streets is so satisfying. I really like your post here, it’s awesome.

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