Google's definition of feminine:
- having qualities or appearance traditionally associated with women, especially delicacy and prettiness.
Yeah, that wasn't me.
My bike takes me places. Beautifully wide open places on the edge of the world and narrow canyons and crevices deep in the Earth. I have seen beauty without my bike, but something about floating through the scenery makes me experience the beauty in a way that I can't do from a car or while mountaineering. Mountain biking gives me a connection to the beauty in the world that I haven't experienced via other means.
I'm sure that the typical imagery we conjure up when thinking of mountain biking doesn't really feel delicate. But I'd like to point out the finesse that one has to have in order to navigate rock gardens, log rides, and to pop a gentle wheelie. Being able to delicately feather one’s brakes and gently execute a front wheel lift or a hint of a whip off a jump is part of the fun of mountain biking.
I am in my finest form when I’m in the saddle. I try to be a kind ambassador to the sport and yield to hikers and horsemen and I am happy to lend a tube and a hand pump to strangers in need. The happiness that I experience when riding causes me to be a kinder and more generous person.
I’ll admit it: helmet hair, baggy shorts over a sweaty chamois, and some fairly atrocious tan lines are not classically feminine. Perhaps that’s why so many of us ladyshredders are out there with pigtails, unicorn socks and colorful kits. Before mountain biking, I felt like I had to hide my feminine features. After mountain biking, I tend to try to put them on display while I'm on the bike. Maybe I just like the contrast.
Although you can do it alone, mountain biking is a very social activity. Like drinking beer, it's best to enjoy it with others in order to prevent a potentially unhealthy addiction. I personally look forward to group rides and races so that I can hang out with friends doing what we do best. And although we often come from regions near and far and we all have various idiosyncrasies, mountain biking is the great equalizer that brings us all together.
Now that I’ve been mountain biking for a solid decade, I have the skillset and experience to teach and guide others. I am able to work as an instructor on one of the most technical bike parks out there and I volunteer coach beginner women with The Cycle Effect. Being able to nurture others into the sport is super rewarding and gives me a whiff of feeling like a proud mama-bear.
Before I found mountain biking, I dabbled in lots of things. But mountain biking has been my first real passion in life. It's something I go asleep thinking about at night and wake up looking forward to in the morning. There's a real good chance I'll dream about it tonight.
What about the ladies out there? Do you feel like mountain biking has made you more feminine or helped you to get in touch with your ladyshred side?