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Why Every Woman Should Try a Night Ride

Many women find mountain biking to be a bit intimidating.  Maybe it's the spandex?  Maybe all the rocks and roots?  The blood, the bruises, the climbs and the crashes?

Maybe the sport seems intimidating because our male brethren keep their leg hair shorter than we do.  (By we, I of course mean me.)  

Regardless of reasoning, finding down to earth women riders is hard to do.  

Even more elusive is the female night rider. 

Lights are easy to come by - hello!  Just give Cyclova a call!  I know the staff is super helpful and eager to help make your life easier with a great recommendation! 

But what you'll really need is not available in any store - not even at Cyclova.

What you'll need is intrepidity, fearlessness, and nerves.  Not many people possess these qualities off the bat.  You'll run into people who will claim to be the best thing on a bike since Sonya Looney but have yet to even touch a headlamp.  We all know those girls.  

If you're on the fence about giving night riding a shot, I'll explain why I love it.  Maybe you will too!  

1) Sometimes, it's the only time I can find to ride:

Maybe you're like me - maybe you have kids at home or a husband/significant other who loves riding as much as you do.  When you're in love with a fellow biker, being fair about ride time is nearly as important a conversation as finances and religion.  (At least in our home!)  Sometimes, the only time left for biking is well into the darkness of the evening.  With night riding, you're never confined by the rays of the sun.  You're free!

2) It challenges my inner weakling:

Ever watched The Walking Dead?  I watch it like a soap opera.  Whenever I do, I find myself thinking - what would you do if the worst happened?  If you truly had to survive?  Would you be able to?  Or would you lie down and take it?  A few years ago, my answer was easy.  I was weak, and everything about me wavered.  Self esteem, trust, happiness.  I still struggle with those feelings some days.  But riding at night makes me a braver soul. Mountain biking in and of itself aids in my esteem - but riding at night completely changes you.  Especially when you're miles away from the trailhead with just your heartbeat and your bike for company.  Your senses awaken and every rustling of a branch is heard.  Every tree trunk looks like a bear.  

Fall, I find, is the worst for me.  Eerie winds pick up and howl throughout the trail.  Pair that with the section of the Woolly that skirts the cemetery? I swear I ride faster in that stretch at night than during the day.  But when I'm all finished and packing up my gear - I feel incredibly accomplished. I pushed myself past my comfort zone, and came out all the better for it.  I'm not a weakling anymore.  And I'm definitely not afraid.  I'm the beast out in the woods - so don't mess with me!

3) Everything is toned down and focused:

A huge perk to night riding is the lack of distraction.  I'm one of those riders (and racers, even) who looks around constantly on the trail.  Flowers!  Pretty views from the top of climbs!  WHOA! That spider web has dew drops suspended in it!  (To be fair, that last one looks even more neat at night).  When you're on the trail past dark, all those distractions fade away.  You don't see them.  They aren't in your field of light so they do not exist.  Those rocks that normally freak you out?  Not there.  At least not right now.   So get your fun, fearless female self out there and enjoy the peace.  Declutter your mind, girlfriend.

4) You see the coolest things!

One time I saw a litter of baby kittens just beeboppin' through the singletrack. It was like a scene in Fantasia.  I've chased white tail deer through....well White Tail Ridge, ironically.  One time an owl tried dive-bombing my helmet light.  I've seen dozens of eerie eyes stare back at me from the back lot at Elk River.  My light has caught jewelry, gel packs, and reflectors in all sorts of weird places - nearly never in the trail where you'd think they'd be.  Point is - you have a blast seeing things you normally wouldn't. I found a couple pennies and quarters once, too.  So, night riding can also increase your finances.  Just saying...

I've won night races, done night relays, and a few 24 hour races.  Whether competing or just headed out for a recreational ride - I urge you to consider doing it at night.  It can be phenomenal!

 #fastandfemale #womeninsport

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