This isn't a race report to talk about how I won something...I didn't, but I did win.
This weekend Jessica invited the WDP to join her up in Wisconsin to try mountain biking. I've been curious about mountain biking for a while, but never took the plunge....mostly due to what I consider to be possessing a dreadful lack of skills in cyclocross, I foolishly assumed my fate would be the same mountain biking. I was delighted to find out that I was wrong.
I rented a hardtail 29'er. Before this past weekend, I had no idea what that even meant. I learned that it means the bike has wonderful squishy love-fest in the front of the bike, and a stiff hard back end to keep you honest, but help drive your bike up steep embankments. 29'er refers to the size of the tires. I was most skeptical of this. I typically ride 650c tires on the road, and assumed that I would be an out of control mess on big tires. Boy was I wrong! Despite the fact that my ride looked like a frankenbike (tiny frame, huge wheels), it was an amazingly good fit. My 5'1" body loved this bike.
When we arrived at the trail-head, Mark B took us through some tips and tricks. We all in a little row paraded through the beginners course. No problem. Time to up the ante! I'm not gonna lie, it took me a long time to "trust the tires". Before I knew it I was driving those massive rubber tires over rocks and branches, thick root systems, and deep mud and sand. WHAT LIBERATION! I felt indestructible! I cruised down steep embankments, climbed twisty switchbacks, squeezed through tight spots, taking in gulps of breath while thinking the whole time "trust the bike! trust the bike!".
I write this, not to say that I have discovered some untapped talent for being a great mountain biker (I haven't), but moreover for the new people (men or ladies or juniors) who join the team: TRY IT ALL! You never know what fun is waiting for you on two wheels. It was exhilarating and I will definitely be back. For me, I've let fear stop me from doing some of the most fun things in life, glad this wasn't one of them...who knows, maybe I'll try the track after all...