While I’ve only been mountain biking for 4 months, I’ve been dreaming about it far longer. I’ve wanted to get a mountain bike and have the opportunity to explore trails for miles and miles for years now. So, when the opportunity to buy a great full-suspension bike for only $500 comes your way, you don’t say no. Couple a new bike with a group of friends who absolutely shred, you’re bound to get tossed into the thick of things pretty quickly.
Since May, I’ve rode in Utah, the Western Slope, Summit County, and the Front Range. I’ve ridden on lots of types of trails—many of which have scared the crap out of me. I’ve been tossed from my bike (the inevitable endo, right?) and lost my traction (and some skin) on several occasions already. I’ve suffered through some climbs in the high country and faced the awkward walking around the office the next day. Each day on the bike is completely new to me and it makes me so, incredibly giddy.
The giddiness, I think, is mainly because I love exploring new mountains and trails so much. Sure, you get to explore endless trails with hiking, but you get to explore many more miles when on a bike. Biking has allowed me to summit several mountains and ride through aspen tunnels, down rock gardens, and into valleys all in just a few hours.
It also, for sure, comes from the adrenaline rush of the downhill. Despite my fear of a painful crash on some rocks, I’m always stoked when there’s a downhill section. There’s something about figuring out how to maneuver rocks, roots, trees, berms, drops, and streams when moving quickly that is so much fun. Add in some white knuckles, forgetting to breathe, and legs that are completely rocked by the end of the trail—I’m hooked.
But it also comes from the long climbs that suck oh-so-much while you’re riding but feel oh-so-freaking-amazing when you’ve reached the top. While I have to work on my skills in every aspect of riding, I’m especially working on my endurance on the climbs. My legs aren’t yet used to the new movement and my lungs are playing catch-up as well. This is especially true while riding at altitude when I struggle to catch my breath. There’s just no better feeling than reaching a summit or returning back to the trail head after pushing your physical and mental limits on a bike.
Also, the people are pretty cool. So far, I’ve found happy, excited, and (mostly) supportive people while out on the trails. It’s awesome when the community is so crazy passionate about the sport because that feeling is bound to rub off on you, too.
There is still, without a doubt, lots for me to explore and learn when it comes to mountain biking. All I really know is that when you reach the trail head after a few hours out on the trail and your teeth are caked with dirt because you’ve been smiling so much, you know you’ve found something you love.