Learning to Mountain Bike

For the past several years, Goodbye has been an associate sponsor for the Spirited Women's Adventure Race here in New Zealand. I've gone to several events to meet the women on registration day and celebrate with them at the Finish line. The event looks amazing, and as a former mountain and river adventure woman, I have felt a little bit of envy at the feeling of being part of a team that does a day's adventure together.

Meanwhile, my daughter, who is now 17 has gotten more aware of the race and suggested we do it together. Yes, I said, but I don't mountain bike. In fact, I told her, I'm afraid of mountain biking.

Last year at the South Island race I saw three members of a team ride down a short steep gravel incline, while the 4th teammate crabbed stepped her way down the slope as her teammates watched with practiced patience waiting for her. I thought, I understand her decision to walk the bike, AND I would not want to BE in that position, watching my teammates working hard to be patient with my poor skills.

My husband and both kids are capable grade 3, 4, 5 riders- and their language in the evening revolves around berms, jumps, weight shifts, uphills, near misses and a host of very real grazes and bruises for their efforts. My son has just had his front teeth re-built in the name of love for mountain biking. In other words, they scared the peas out of me, because I know I'm old enough that I do not need to be falling or even more scary, crashing off of a bike.

Then I realised, I don't need to bike mountains to be on a mountain bike. What I need is some basic skills. It's just another way of being outdoors.  My family want more downhill, faster runs, higher jumps. I just want time on the bike so that I'm reasonable at getting around a paddock or gravel road.

I enlisted my dear friend and her 16 year old daughter to complete our 4 woman team. They needed about 60 seconds to think about it. We'll be two mother/daughter pairs.

On June 1st, signed up for Spirited Women Adventure Race- South Island in April 2022 in Wanaka. In the past, the races have had a mystery event called Goodbye OUCH, which has made a few people smile. This year, we'll have a team called Goodbye OUCH and that makes me smile.

This week I spoke with Debbie who is part of the Spirited Women race organisation, and she says both the North Island Race and South Island races are 80% filled for the two 2022 races. Each race can take 500 teams of 4 women- that's a whole lot of women. If you are interested to see what it's about, or pick up some new skills, or need a way to get back on the bike, so to speak, you can check out the Spirited Women events HERE.

The feedback from the races is always positive and energised, it's a well organised event. If you are going to be part of one of these let me know!

I'm excited, and a little bit nervous. It's been a long time since I've been a hard woman. Raising kids and running a business have me considering a yoga session, a bit of gardening or a walk as a successful physical day.

In my next post, I'll share the story of my first dozen sessions on a mountain bike. And yes, I've fallen more than once :-) I'll also say, the extra physicality has been great for me. After 6 weeks, I can already feel my body getting stronger. Stay on for the ride!

About the author

Becky Cashman

Founder and Product Maker ~ Goodbye NZ

Goodbye makes certified natural, water-free products that take care of skin outdoors. Established by Becky in 1999, the key message has been consistent from the beginning.  Outdoors is good. We belong outdoors. It's better outdoors. Being outdoors is self-care in it's most natural state.

Alongside this message of wellness outdoors is the ethos that we take care of what we love. When you are connected to your environment, you naturally take better care of it.

Becky is the product maker for Goodbye products, sometimes development takes years. As a former outdoor guide, she has remained focused on bringing performance and portability to genuine natural products.

Her products are a good reason to keep showing up to the conversation about a life lived better outdoors.

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