Around the age of 12 or 13 I started riding bikes as a means to explore new areas. It was fun, fast and relatively easy to cover a large amount of ground quickly. My family would go camping nearly every weekend and I'd wake up early to get my ride in on the trails around the lake. At home, I was able to see new areas of my city that I had never seen before, and that still holds true today. I imagine only a handful of people have seen more of our cities hidden jems than I. Being an old mining town, there are endless amounts of mining roads, pipelines and ghost towns hidden in the mountains. Just when I think I've discovered all the trails and treasures, I find something new. I love the feeling exploration and discovery give you, even if it is something small and insignificant.
I was later introduced to racing and was instantly hooked even though I finished in the back third of that race. It was a way to test myself against others but most of all it was fun pinning trails as fast as I could. When I was a junior, Colorado had a very strong XC race scene that took me all over the state. Being able to see these new places and ride new trails is what really kept me hungry for the next race.
10 years later, I'm still getting the opportunity to see new places and, to me, that is one of the best perks to being a mountain bike racer. I've been able to see a lot of the world on my bike that I otherwise wouldn't have. I enjoy the quite mountain towns and villages we visit as you really get to see the country more so than if you visit the tourist areas. 4 years ago I raced in the U.K. in a very small town a few hours north of London. To me, this was getting to see the true U.K. On that same trip, we had a free day to tour London on a double decker bus which was neat, but not the true cultural experience I like to try and get while visiting a new country.
My racing season recently came to an end after World Champs in Andorra. The race itself didn't go as well as I would've liked, but I'm looking forward to the offseason to see how I can better myself for the 2016. It's going to be a long and important season with the Olympics on the horizon. For now, the first step to gearing up for a successful 2016 is unwinding a bit and quenching my thirst for adventure. Fall is here, my bike needs to see some new trails, I have some peaks to bag, the Moto needs to burn some fuel and I have Sofia around for awhile! It's shaping up to be a good off season. I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by such a strong support system that includes my team and sponsors, friends, family and governing body. Thanks for following along this Mountain Bike season!