Mountain biking is amazing and don’t let this rainy weather fool you. There is plenty of good riding to be had before we hang up our mountain bikes. If you are new to mountain biking it’s going to get hard before it gets easier. And then once it gets easier, it’s going to get harder again. For all of us, it’s a humbling sport. Some days you are a rock star and some days you crash on the rocks. Either way, there’s nothing quite like it. Here are a few tips (reminders) to keep you sunny side up.
- Don’t show off
These are the words that my husband sends me out the door with when I go out to ride with friends. What he’s trying to say (I think) is “Don’t do anything stupid.” Basically I remind myself of these words of wisdom when contemplating taking something at a higher speed or doing a bigger drop then I have business doing.
- 9 Out of 10 times it’s the pilot not the plane
Okay, so the one time it’s the plane is for the people who are already so rad on the bike that they could ride a big wheel and still out climb and out descend me. But for all the other times, I really believe it. Get a good enough bike or a nice bike but don’t get caught up in having the best, the brightest or the lightest. At the end of the day you have to ride the bike and sometimes putting in the time and the work can improve your skills more than a shiny new bike.
- Crashing often doesn’t mean you have bigger…..ovaries
I used to think I was pretty tough because I crashed a lot. I liken it to thinking I was a great driver when I was 15. Practice, hard work and training may not make you perfect but it will make you a better rider. And now when I go over or crash really hard it’s because I’ve forgotten the fundamentals or I just got too big for my undies. And sometimes I just pick the wrong line.
Author, Cheri Felix
- Treat your bike like you want to be treated
Who doesn’t like to be washed and lubed weekly? I know I do. Your bike needs to be washed and checked over (for loose wheels, bent derailleurs, stretched cables, etc.) weekly. Some might say after every ride but I’d bet that person doesn’t have dishes to do, kids to feed and a dog to walk. Your bike works better when it’s maintained. Trust me on this. I used to think a dirty bike was a sign of coolness. That was silly and lazy. This summer the bike mechanic said “Wow. That’s a clean drive train.” A proud moment for me.
- Know when to hold em and when to fold em.
Kenny Rogers knew what he was talking about. I’m talking about knowing when to let it ride and when to walk your bike. Knowing how to leave your ego at the trailhead. Knowing when you are out of your element. It can be hard to walk something you’ve done before or to take a tight switchback slower than you are used to. But it can save you a co-pay if you listen to your gut. A few weeks ago I was in Park City riding some pretty fun downhill and just wasn’t “feelin’ it”. The bike didn’t quite fit me, the tires were too small for my taste and well…I just didn’t have the confidence. So I walked something that I’ve replicated at the Valmont Bike Park. Like I said; know when to hold em.
Now, get out and ride before it snows!