WanderingJustin.com

Life Force of Mountain Biking: The Beginner

The view from your bike got you jaded? Talk to a beginner for a reality check.

Mountain biking got you burned out? Are the local trails getting dull? Look to beginners for your salvation in your favorite sport.

New mountain bikers remind the old hands of the way it’s supposed to be: silly fun, learning new stuff, discovering new places, meeting new people, making incremental progress.

I know plenty of way-fast riders, like all the characters I encounter in the Short Track at Papago races. And they’re all good people. But beginners like Tammy Smith do more than anyone to rekindle my mountain biking enthusiasm. They help me rediscover the sport and inspire me to ride more.

Tammy did a Q & A session with me on Examiner.com just after her first race – the MBAA McDowell Meltdown. It’s full of mountain biking wisdom for riders of all levels. Veterans will get a reminder of what’s so cool about the sport. Newcomers will get inspiration to try racing. People contemplating their first mountain bike purchase will discover that it’s not just a sport for energy drink-addled 20-somethings, nor exclusively for heart rate monitor-obsessed fitness fiends. They don’t train – they ride.

Tammy and riders like her also make the bicycle industry work economically. They throw down for their first bike and all the trimmings – helmets, hydration packs, gloves, shorts and the rest. They are why your 27-pound, 30-speed, five-inches-of-travel, dual-suspension bike works so much better than bikes for the same price did 10 years ago.

Mountain biking newbies, you are the marrow of this sport. Thanks for all you do to keep it fresh for the rest of us. Welcome!

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