City Girl Gone Dirty - MTB Curious

September 19, 2019

Ever wonder what it’s like to whiz through the woods — across the dirt, rocks, and tree roots? It always looked like some epic, unattainable cool thing that only pros would attempt. Growing up in San Francisco, I didn’t know any mountain bikers. I had a single experience on a mountain bike via a program called Sportsbridge, which paired inner-city middle school girls with young professional women who had athletic backgrounds. After that memorable experience, I continued on my city-kid path adventuring on the pavement.

Little did I know that the sport of mountain biking was birthed in Marin County, a stone’s throw away from home across the Golden Gate Bridge.

Sunday ride up to Twin Peaks.
Bridging the gap between us. ❤️????
I want my MTB! (Who’s old enough to get that reference? ????) Fun times at China Camp State Park.

That initial taste of dirt held a tinge of curiosity as I got older, particularly in that sweaty palm feeling I’d get when watching the Red Bull Rampage or viral videos of people mountain biking on cliff edges on social media.

As I became more focused and passionate about my career in technology, I found myself surrounded by a lot of men, and extremely-driven (and often adrenaline-seeking) entrepreneurs and founders. As a competitive and driven person myself, the company I kept ultimately led me to my first downhill mountain biking experience.

An unfortunate season of California wildfires canceled the Lake Tahoe Triathlon, so given we had all booked a cabin and committed to the trip, we did the next most fun thing we could think of — a day of downhill mountain biking. Thanks to some great negotiation skills by one of my founder friends, we nabbed ourselves a private lesson for four followed by a free afternoon of riding.

The safety of a coach, protective gear, and encouragement (and competitiveness) of friends made for a perfect combination of turning this curiosity into something more.

By this point, I had already become hooked on triathlons. Road cycling was a regular weekend activity, and I was leveling-up my races each year.

Look at these sexy first time half Ironmen and Ironwomen; so hungry they’re eating their medals. ????
Biking in Bagan!

I didn’t have any more epic Tahoe weekends, but my curiosity continued to pique across world travels.

I picked up mountain bikes in Southeast Asia, where there are often no paved roads at all, as well as in the beautiful redwoods of New Zealand, home to Crankworx Rotorua. This time, it wasn’t about being hardcore or doing something epic, it was about the journey.

At times, I have a fire to not only hang with the boys but pass them up. Other times, I am so grateful to have some stellar female riders to teach me the MTB ways in a stress-free and confidence-building environment.

There are so many reasons to go outside, so if you already like getting on a bike, then riding one in the dirt is just another goal and new experience that awaits.

Whatever your motivation or mode of learning, there is a support system. For me, it’s a combination of fun-loving friends, riding groups like Girls Rock, and inspirational Pearl iZUMi crew members.

Had a blast at my first @girlsrockmtb event! Awesome #demobike thanks to @spokesmanbicycles. It makes me excited to cross over from #road to #MTB ???? #girlsrock

There are so many reasons to go outside, so if you already like getting on a bike, then riding one in the dirt is just another goal and new experience that awaits.

The trishaw driver let me get in some Ironman training! ????
Exploring by bike!

Mythical Facts About Mountain Biking

  1. Mountain biking is for guys. Let’s continue to break that gender bias. Sure, the ratio of guy riders to girl riders is still higher, but this is a woman’s sport! Just ask Casey Brown.
  2. Mountain biking is dangerous. You can learn how to ride in a safe way, gradually. Take a lesson. Join a free group ride. You don’t have to take ski lifts and bomb downhill your first time on the mountain. 😉
  3. Mountain biking is safer than road riding given all of the hit-and-runs these days. Look, both can be dangerous. Bike commuters that don’t own cars won’t stop riding, and neither will I. Be as safe as possible. Wear reflective clothing with BioViz, always carry your lights so you don’t get caught in the dark, and obey traffic laws. Sliding through that red light just isn’t worth your life.
  4. Mountain bikes are expensive and fixing them is complicated. I bought my 2003 Santa Cruz Blur in 2018 for $100. I took it to a shop and the mechanic gave me a non-broken fork and tuned it up for $20 and a bottle of kombucha. The mountain biking community is awesome.
  5. You’re either a road or dirt rider. Be whoever you want to be, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

My name is Amalia, and I’m a cyclist. I have three bikes: road, gravel, and mountain. #RideAllTheSurfaces

Throwback to @pearlizumiofficial #GoCrew weekend in Boulder! Miss my cycling buddies.

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