A mountain biking addict reflects on why we ride

By Sarah Hansing

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“Ok… but it’s going to be a slow ride…”

This was my text message response to my friend. It is the human equivalent of rolling over and showing your belly to a dominant dog.

“It’s ok” she replied. “I’m feeling low energy today.”

She’s a strong rider. I know, because I stalk her on Strava. (I’m not proud.)

Her response did not make me feel better, necessarily.

Maybe it’s because I used to race bikes. It’s been awhile since the last race, technically, but that mentality tends to stick with you, if you’re the competitive type, which I just so happen to be.

This could get ugly. This could get painful. Maybe I shouldn’t ride with her until I feel more fit. Maybe I should just ride alone. What if I hold her back? What if I can’t keep up? What if…

Pride and fear can keep you from a lot of good things. Bike rides, for example. You should sometimes ignore Pride and Fear.

Because this is what happened: it wasn’t my trail, it wasn’t my home turf, and it sure as hell wasn’t my fitness advantage. Sometimes I walked when she rode. Sometimes I thought I was going to throw up a little. (To be quite honest, sometimes I thought she was being hateful, and trying to get me back for that one time I bailed out on a ride with her, but that’s another story entirely.)

But it wasn’t a race. It was two friends and a dog in the woods. It was a different place, and a different pace. And it was AWESOME!

Views I hadn’t seen, trails I hadn’t ridden, places I would have never known to ride, and the type of laughter that makes you feel like a little kid again. Mountain biking is the adult equivalent to calling up a friend and asking “Hey! Do you wanna go outside and play?”

So stop worrying about keeping up. Just go outside and play.