I was out riding this weekend on a 6inch full suspension trail bike, pedaling uphill at no particular speed to take full advantage of my ‘big’ bike on the rock gardens and downhill. This morning I was riding lift accessed downhill terrain on that same bike, complete with full face helmet, goggles, and pads covering most of my body ready for mistakes that will surely be made as I try new features. The day before I raced a singlespeed hardtail with a ‘tiny’ 90mm travel fork, finding new ways to coax my body and bike up some long climbs without gears to help me. A few days prior I joined the local fast paced group ride on the road after riding a road century the previous weekend. My cross bike has not been pedaled in a while but it won’t be long before the dirt roads draw me back – maybe another gravel race is in order before the season is over, or cross season itself isn’t far away. I’ve not even ridden my cross country race mountain bike in a couple of weeks as I’ve had too many other fun options!
On my trail ride this weekend it dawned on me that while really I’d call myself a mountain biker, I’ll ride anything with two wheels and pedal power, and love every second of it. I’ve become confident in most settings on all these bikes, but continue to push my comfort zone to become the best all round rider I can be. On gravel this year at the 100mile lost and found, I was pushed as hard as I ever have been in a race, and I didn’t let myself back off or give my tired, over-heating, and sore body a break until the finish line appeared – valuable lessons for the Leadville 100 that is nearly upon me. Shortly after that I challenged myself in a whole other direction and passed my IMBA ICP level 1 and 2 exam for mountain bike coaching – an intense week which tested my skills, vastly improved my own riding and developed my love of teaching others the ways of the dirt rider. I’ve become a confident paceline rider on the road and learned to appreciate the power of working with others in a group – it’s for the greater good of all. And most recently when I didn’t have my race bike for a local cross country MTB race, instead of not racing I put myself out there on my singlespeed instead amongst a field of geared riders on a course with more climbing than descending – turns out having just one gear is not necessarily a disadvantage. I’ve even spend some time at the pump track this year – something I can see in my future as a skill set I will dedicate more time to.
I love being able to pedal all these different kinds of bikes, in any situation or event that presents itself. ‘Jack of all trades’ – yes; ‘master of none’, well – I’d rather strive to be master of all ;).