This year I made the decision to pursue a heavy schedule of mountain bike races in the hopes of becoming part of a team or gain some sort of sponsorship. The choice stems from what has become one of the biggest passions of my life.
My very first mountain bike ride was in December of 2011. Since that moment, I knew I had entered into a very special world. Mountain biking encompasses all things that I love - outdoors, hitting awesome trails, physical challenge, and spending time with friends. Mountain biking is especially thrilling down here in H-burg, with rocky/gnarly Massanutten right at our doorstep, and the many trails of the GWNF only a short distance to the West.
Mountain biking lets me lose myself; lets me be wild. John Muir, one of my idols, once said, "Wildness is a necessity." I get to explore amazing mountains, climb, shred down, or fall over on every type of terrain possible on my mountain bike.
This past August, I was able to upgrade from my 33lb heavy hardtail 29er to a much lighter full-suspension: a Cannondale 2013 Scalpel (thanks very much to Mark's Bike Shop). It is an AWESOME bike that rolls so smooth on the gnar, and is super stiff when locked out for riding on pavement. It makes every trail riding experience all the more better; and after every ride I only want more.
My favorite mountain bike loop is one I have only been able to complete once, and I have been counting the days for when I will be able to do this loop again. Hopefully within the next 2 weeks! It starts from the Western slope of Massanutten and takes riders out to the ridge along Bird Knob. There is great single track, backcountry forest roads, and a bit of pavement. Right before the final descent off the trail, there is an overlook of the Shenandoah Valley. It is absolutely beautiful, especially in the Fall.
"The mountains are calling and I must go." This is my all time favorite quote from John Muir, and a phrase that is constantly being said in my head. Mountain biking lets me do the two things I am most passionate about: getting outside and riding my bike.
This spring and summer will have many big rides and races, and I know times may get a bit stressful. So long as I am able to get out on my bike and lose myself in the mountains, I will always find happiness.