Mountain Biking. There may have been thirty of us lined up on the starting line of this 15-mile Mountain Biking race as I had one foot clipped into my mountain bike on a muggy Saturday morning. This mountain bike race about to begin. While I was standing there, I cast a peek in the direction of the other athletes competing.
Some of them had what seemed to be a ball of fire in their eyes, while others had torn leg muscles. They all mounted their bicycles, some of which were made of carbon fiber, some had hard tails and complete suspensions, and a couple of them even had 29-inch wheels. Despite having just a year’s worth of experience riding on single track Mountain Biking on my Trek full suspension mountain bike, I was trying to get myself fired up for what had the potential to be a really challenging competition. Before I heard the gunshot, I made sure to keep my hands relaxed on the handle bar grips. The only time I removed my hands was to check that my gloves were securely fastened, that my helmet was adjusted correctly, and that I had taken a few sips from the Camelbak hydration system that was attached to my waist. As soon as the gun went off and was heard throughout the whole mountain bike park, we were all in a rush to leave the starting line while clipping in and jockeying for position like a pack of wild animals as we made our way from the wide field and onto the single track trails. In the background of my mind was an idea that kept popping up when I was shifting gears, looking around at the cyclists in front of me, and thinking about what I would face throughout the race. Mountain Biking
I reflected on the factors that contributed to my decision to purchase a mountain bike and wondered how long it would be until I would feel comfortable riding my bike across hard terrain, including routes with switchbacks and steep slopes. Could this new endurance activity improve my performance in the other sports that I currently engage in? Mountain Biking
My prior experience as a triathlon and a distance runner makes mountain biking a sport that would unquestionably be beneficial to me. Some little over a year and a half prior to this event, a friend of mine persuaded me to buy a cheap hard-tail mountain bike so that I could participate in wintertime group rides on pavement that would include several hill repeats on a twenty mile circuit. We will keep in shape during the winter as a result of these exercises, which will improve our ability to participate in the next triathlon season. The moment spring arrived and I decided that I wanted to start riding on single track trails that provide switchbacks, difficult terrain, and steep hills, I recognized that the bike that I had at the time was not suitable for the sort of riding that I wanted to do, so I went out and purchased a new bike. Consequently, I found myself in the position of having to purchase a Trek full suspension mountain bike. I didn’t understand how much an intermediate-level bike would help me until I began using my brand-new bike in the nearby mountain biking facilities. A couple of the key features of this bike that I started to appreciate more and more as I rode it were the dual suspension’s ability to provide a forgiving ride regardless of the terrain of the trails, as well as the tires’ ability to provide sufficient traction regardless of the conditions of the trails. Not only did I understand that I was becoming better at mountain biking as I rode my mountain bike on the easy and intermediate routes, but I also became aware of something else along the road.
When I wasn’t pedaling my way through the neighborhood mountain bike parks, you might find me out on the open road training for a triathlon. What I discovered about mountain biking is that it compels you to become extremely skilled at being able to control your bike in a variety of environments. This is something that I found to be incredibly beneficial. That same necessity in mountain biking made me more confidence while riding on road, particularly through a village where there are a lot of automobiles, traffic lights, potholes, and other varied hazards that a cyclist has to be aware of. It was those things that helped me feel more in control. I was still getting used to the mountain bike that I had just purchased at the time, but I already knew that I wanted to participate in a mountain bike race at some point in the not-too-distant future. I was also aware that in order for me to attempt to perform this new kind of mountain biking at a competitive level, I would have to first become a lot more skilled rider overall. Soon after that, I found myself waking up early in September to meet up with some buddies for a bike ride that was planned to be sixty miles long. After we completed the first 35 miles of the ride on a level path, we would stop for breakfast, and after that, the real excitement would begin. Then there would be twenty-five miles of single track, and the contestant with the highest pain threshold would win. There was still another chance for me when the leaves dropped from the trees and the snow covered the ground. I took advantage of this occasion. While mountain biking on the snow-packed terrain, I inhaled the dry air and focused on maintaining a good grip for my tires in the snow. At some point in the midst of the summer, I found myself on vacation visiting a buddy in Massachusetts close to the New Hampshire border. During our time there, we went mountain biking at a number of parks in the surrounding region. We went mountain biking in some areas that had an unlimited supply of rocks, boulders, roots, logs, man-made bridges across streams, and even some mosquitoes. Together with my friend, I had a wonderful time. At this point in time, I felt that I had reached a level of competence with the handling of my bike that enabled me to register for my first mountain bike race.
Now, I was in the first of four circuits in this challenging mountain bike race, but instead of focusing on the race itself, I was thinking about how I got started in the sport and how I got into it in the first place. During this race, I was trying to stay up with other racers who had more experience than I had, but I was fast becoming weary. This discipline was starting to seem a lot more difficult than distance running and racing in triathlons, especially considering the fact that beads of perspiration were already flowing down my cheeks and I was becoming aware that my mental toughness was slowly melting away. I found myself on trails that wound their way through the park, and they included some challenging ascents, as well as some rollers, roots, logs, rocks, and finally an open field where I could pick up some speed. Although I did not complete the event as well as I had hoped, I still want to engage in further mountain bike competitions in the years to come. This is a really gratifying activity to get into, whether you are a novice or an expert mountain biker, thanks to the many mountain bike parks that are located all throughout the nation. Mountain bikers may be divided into two categories: those that stay inside their comfort zone and those who want to push themselves beyond of it. Both categories can still enjoy the sport.
My introduction to the sport of mountain riding began in this manner. Not only have I gained a lot of knowledge about the competition itself, but also about who I am as an athlete thanks to participating in this sport. After reading this, I have no doubt that you are eager to either go out and get a mountain bike or, if you already own one, to clean it up, dust it off, and take it out on the trails.