10 year old me set off on a bike for the first time without a regime, a goal, a worry, an understanding of bike riding or a destination. As these two wheeled machines took me from bike paths to rooty, rocky, steep, foreign soil, I learnt so much about the world I was entering (is that a little dramatic?). Fast forward almost 10 years later and I have compiled a list of ‘things I wish I knew before I became a bike rider.’ Although ‘things’ is a very ambiguous word, I am using it without any negative or positive connotation, they are simply just things. (i’d never want to shy anyone away from getting on a bike!)
Bike riding will become such a big part of your life and you will feel odd if you go a while without doing it.
I used the word odd here because I cant exactly pinpoint the exact feeling. When I trained for World Champs I would feel somewhat guilty, or as if something was missing, as training had become such a big focus in my life. My dad is a classic example of this (sorry dad), as he gets VERY grumpy if he doesn’t go for a ride. Maybe we should all invest in a Yeti because it seriously works some magic with my dad (mum can vouch for this). I am currently no longer in training for a World Championship, and so my ‘odd feeling’ has shifted to missing my bike riding friends, missing the feeling of being super fit (being able to walk up a flight of stairs without being puffed (sad times)) and travelling all over Aus and the World. I have come to realise that its okay if you go a while without bike riding, but I think it will take a while to breed the ‘odd’ feeling completely out of me.
You will get lots of grazes, bruises and scars. And if you keep up the sport for years and years, I mean LOTS.
Now I’m definitely not saying there is anything wrong with this. In fact, many of my scars tell a different story and I’m often proud to showcase them to the world. But the grazes and bruises can hurt (I think every bike rider can relate to the pain of having to scrub a fresh graze in the shower!). I am often walking around with skin off my elbow or a major bruise on my leg. I would turn up to school after a weekend away racing and my friends would be eager to see my newest addition. I guess you could say the pain and injuries are all part of being a mountain biker, and although I wish former Ellie had have known exactly what that entailed exactly, I would never let it be the reason to stop me.
You will have to take up 3 jobs, take out a loan and sell one kidney to keep up this sport.
By no means does this mean that you have to spend all of your pennies to be a ‘bike rider’ or to be good at it. In fact, my coaching has taught me that buying a bigger, better, and more expensive bike will not automatically make you Cedric Gracia (darn!). There are costs, and they tend to keep on coming (especially if you go through tubes and tyres like my little brother), but I promise you that the fun of riding your bike and travelling to beautiful destinations will make it all worth it. Just make sure that you save those pennies.
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