Conclusions: The People

I clearly had  a lot of support on this journey.  When I first came up with the idea to ride for 45 days straight I was worried about what people would say when I told them.  I thought I would definitely be met with some doubts, criticisms, or outright laughter.  What actually happened completely surprised me!  While I did get some “wow you’re crazy!”s everyone I know was overwhelmingly supportive.  When I was getting tired and not wanting to go out that day instead of the expected temptation of “you could just skip this ONE day” I got suggestions on easier rides to go on that would be lower impact.  When I said I was going to enter a race everyone said “amazing!” instead of “you’ll never finish.”  Honestly, I don’t know why I expected to receive such a negative reaction but I now know that I have the most lovely, supportive friends, family, and colleagues that anyone can ask for.

Not only was it existing friends who supported me.  Since I was riding so often I was alone most of the time when riding.  Usually I’d take the opportunity to become a hermit, worried about what others will think about me huffing and puffing up the hill or walking down a feature, but this time I figured why not make some new friends?  Yet again, I was met with overwhelming friendliness and support.  Even if it was just chatting with some people as we rode the climb together it made me love this community even more.  I also got the opportunity to talk about the 45 day journey I was on and everyone was excited and even a little jealous at times.  This definitely fuelled my desire to work extra hard during the year and become as close to a full time bike bum next summer as I can.

The kindness and welcoming was extended even further when I went on a trip to Whistler with Laura and ran into a very interesting woman. We first spotted her at the top of Crank It Up where she was perched on her bike and making these jerky motions outwards with her arms over and over.  All I could think is “I want to ride behind her because she’s going to do something really cool I bet.” We ended up going in front but as luck would have it this woman and I happened to stop at the same pull off point on the trail.  Although Laura had gone ahead of me and most certainly would think I was dead (she did) if I took too long chatting my curiosity got the better of me and I asked what she was doing.  Turns out I was right and it was super cool.  She was practicing no handers!  After commiserating over our shared new skill struggles I found out that she’s a mountain bike coach named Anita Naidu and completely amazing!  She more recently gave me this picture to use so you can see the arm motion I was talking about.

Imagine that on the ground, over and over in rapid succession! Anyways, she even gave me a few tips on jumping which has totally been a game changer for me.  Once again, this is another instance of how amazing and supportive this community is.

Overall, I finished my challenge feeling uplifted by those around me.  Inspired by the kindness showed to me, I am always sure to ask people if they’re okay if they’re stopped on the side of the trail, or offer some encouraging words if someone is struggling with something.  If we all remember that we were beginners just learning once, the sport will be a fantastic place to thrive for newbies and veterans alike.  Shred on, peeps!

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