How Learning to Mountain Bike Helped Me in Early Motherhood


Kaitlyn Teer mountain biking

My daughter was 5 months outdated the primary time I went mountain biking. As a brand new guardian, when a lot scared me, I wished to show to myself I might nonetheless take dangers. However once I seemed up via the cedar and fir timber and noticed that the climbing path consisted of a sequence of steep switchbacks, I questioned if I’d remorse accepting my good friend Sarah’s invitation to hitch her for a “mellow experience.”

Like Sarah, a lot of my associates get pleasure from mountain biking. Everybody I knew appeared to choose it up whereas I used to be pregnant, and I couldn’t wait to provide it a go. As with parenting, although, I didn’t fairly know what to anticipate, so I needed to lean on associates. An skilled rider, and a mom of two, Sarah pedaled up the filth singletrack forward of me, shouting again encouragement. I pedaled after her on my borrowed bike, making an attempt to maintain tempo.

Now, sizing up the switchback, the place the path reduce between a large boulder and a hillside of sword ferns and fallen tree limbs, I assumed how arduous it was to guardian an toddler, and the way a lot more durable it might be with a damaged arm. I slowed to a wobble, then tried to place out a foot for steadiness, however my bike fell awkwardly into the filth, taking me down with it.

I disentangled myself, stood, and dusted off my yoga pants, which now had a tear the place a pedal had gouged my shin. “I’m good,” I yelled to Sarah, who had stopped to look over her shoulder. After giving her an I’m-totally-fine smile, I acquired again on the bike.

It took solely a pair failed pedals to appreciate I couldn’t achieve momentum on an incline, so I hopped off and jogged with my bike till the path leveled out sufficient to get going once more. The climb went on like this — I’d pedal uphill till I reached a troublesome characteristic, then stroll my bike over it, then jog till the path leveled out and it was attainable to renew pedaling.

How Learning to Mountain Bike Helped Me in Early Motherhood

After gaining practically 1,200 ft in elevation, we reached the primary viewpoint, a small clearing a number of ft from a rocky cliffside. I leaned my bike towards a picket bench and sat down, panting, desperate to catch my breath. Taking within the shoreline view, I felt stoked — and we hadn’t even began the downhill experience, which Sarah had promised was the enjoyable half.

Heading down a path known as Cedar Mud, we have been quickly biking via a meadow of wildflowers. Colourful swashes of bleeding hearts, fireweed, and foxglove flashed by whereas we despatched mud clouds into the golden mild.

The solar started to set as we began the ultimate downhill stretch, Bob’s Path. It was quick and flowing. Holding my fingers on the brakes, I rolled alongside rooty drops and clean, large berms. After we emerged from the woods into the car parking zone, I used to be completely buzzing. That night time, my legs and arms ached, however I used to be hooked.

With a lot of my time spent caregiving or working, mountain biking has change into a method for me to pedal off the tasks of early motherhood — if just for an hour or two. Shortly after that first experience, I purchased a used bike from a young person who was upgrading. I discovered myself watching YouTube movies — on find out how to steer via switchbacks and enhance my downhill velocity — and searching for important gear, like shoes and knee pads. As usually as I might, I joined Sarah and different mothers on their rides. Ultimately I constructed up sufficient endurance to shout out conversations about work and parenting whereas pedaling uphill. And on the downhills, we’d hype one another as much as attempt new path options, like drops or rock rolls, calling over our shoulders, “You bought this!” Then, we’d hand around in the car parking zone earlier than heading dwelling, leaning on our tailgates, sipping chilly beers and chatting.

I celebrated my subsequent birthday by occurring a night experience with Sarah and our spouses. We pedaled into the summer time night time, its lengthy mild forward of us. We spent extra time practising our abilities on the bounce traces than we anticipated, and since none of us had packed headlamps, we needed to bike downhill at the hours of darkness. It was a rush. I noticed how far I’d come when Bob’s Path was acquainted sufficient to experience not by sight, however by really feel.

I’ve by no means been a badass. Rising up, I worn out each time I attempted waterskiing and was miserably unhealthy at snowboarding. Plus, once I was pregnant, a part of me feared that after I had a toddler it’d be too late for me to attempt new issues, that turning into a mom would imply I used to be achieved turning into anything. So, I stunned myself by studying an excessive sport whereas additionally studying to guardian. And I’ve discovered parenting to be its personal type of excessive sport — as exhausting and terrifying as it’s thrilling, not not like these moments once you emerge from the woods, spent from an uphill slog, solely to be astonished by a view that makes you come alive.

Now that my daughter is 4 and using a pedal bike, I’m trying ahead to sharing mountain biking together with her. My husband lately acquired a tow rope, and this summer time we’ll take her for brief hilly rides.

How Learning to Mountain Bike Helped Me in Early Motherhood

Today, when the climate cooperates, we bike on the native pump observe (it’s a complete scene with ice cream, meals vehicles, a beer backyard, and reside music). On the observe, my daughter seems over her shoulder at me, calling out, “Have a look at me, Mama! Look what I can do.” However I’m at all times already trying, already stuffed with awe. For me, mountain biking is an opportunity to have a look at myself with that very same fierce admiration. Now, once I attempt a brand new characteristic, a rock roll or a bounce I’d prevented on earlier rides, within the dopamine rush that follows, I believe, Look what I can do.

How Learning to Mountain Bike Helped Me in Early Motherhood

Inform me, when have you ever stunned your self by making an attempt one thing new? When do you are feeling badass?

Kaitlyn Teer is an essayist and a contributing editor at Cup of Jo. She lives together with her partner and two youngsters in western Washington, the place she teaches artistic writing.

P.S. How walking (just walking!) changed my life and 5 tips for hiking with kids.

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