Hello again, it is me Cat 4 Christine. This is my story on how I got into Mountain Biking.
Over the summer I was gifted a Mountain Bike. A neighbor of mine, who had seen me riding around in my spandex, told me he was getting rid of some old bikes he had just laying around and asked if I would like t take a look. With that kind of question you never really know what you are going to get.
I got lucky.
Lying down, under a bright blue trap, there it was, the bike that was to become the newest bike in my collection, a Cannondale Delta 700, circa 2004. Did I know anything about this bike? Nope, nothing at all, but it looked to be in okay condition and what do I have to lose? It was FREE, right? I took the bike to Clarksville Schwinn to have Sean (an awesome bike mechanic) look it over and let me know how much it would be to fix it up. I told him what I would be willing to spend and he made it happen. Overall the bike was in good shape and I would be able to get it on the trails.
I was not really sure how I would feel about mountain biking.
I love road riding. I love the feeling of the pavement under my wheels, going fast on the decent, and seeing speed that I had only seen while driving a car.
I love racing cyclocross. It makes you think and plan. You ride on grass, mud, gravel, pavement, and whatever else some cruel course designer thinks to add. You have to have skill to get on and off your bike without breaking stride, to be able to get over a barrier without falling flat on your face.
But mountain biking, what was I going to love about it and did I have room in my life for another bike passion?
The maiden voyage on my bike was not an ideal first-time ride. I brought it along to help with course set-up for a MTB race and because we had to keep stopping to mark the course I did not get a good feel for the bike. After that day I did know that I wanted to ride it again.
Not really to my surprise, when I finally got the bike on the trails I fell in love with it. A few weeks later a friend of mine asked me to join her on the trails in the Cherokee Park. I jumped at this chance. We packed the bikes up on a hot summer day and I fell even more in love. We did about 6 miles and while not all of them felt great, and not all of them were rideable by me, I loved every minute of it. A few weeks after that I got to go again. This time it was 100+ degrees outside but I was ready to ride no matter what. We added some new trails in, a few more climbs, and I road some of the stuff I did not the first time. This is what is keeping me going. If I can do one more thing on a ride that I did not on the one before then it is well worth it.
Over the last few months I have been out a handful of times but nothing like the last few weeks. Cross season ended for me back in November and I took a few weeks off from the bike but was getting antsy. Me getting antsy is not a good thing. It means people talk me into doing things I would not normally do. Like say riding in my first MTB race in the CAT 1-2’s. Now I am not nearly as scared of the idea of racing as I was 6 months ago but still, I had only been on this bike like 5 times. WTH was I thinking? Um let’s remember I am a CAT 4, a CAT 4 that has never done a MTB race. See what being antsy does to me? I am proud to report I did that race, I road my bike for 40+ minutes in the LaGrange Urban Short Track Race on December 17 and came in third place (we will just leave out the part where there was only 3 ladies in the race). It was HARD but FUN and I might just have to do it again.
Here is what I love about the cycling community. All the people that were at the race that day have seen me race, or ride. When I showed up to the race that day I was still on the fence about doing it. They all encouraged me and told me I could. It is hard to ignore people that know your skill level and tell you they think you can do it. Some of these people were in the race with me, and as they passed me they would yell encouragement. Some of them were on the sidelines doing the same. All in all, I am not sure I would have started or finished the race had they not told me I could. So a big thanks goes to Whitney, Debbie, Jennifer, Cathy, Rusty, Sean, Nick, and anyone else that told me I could do it.
More Mountain Biking adventures to come.