We love teaching beginners. There’s nothing more satisfying than watching someone who’s never been on a mountain bike before start to experience the joy of riding. Our sister-in-law, Kelsey, recently moved to Fruita and, as you would guess, decided to pick up mountain biking! We had such a great time teaching her the basics. Here is what she had to say about her experience:

“There’s a lot going around on social media about intentionally doing difficult things regularly…ice baths, extra hard workouts, etc. I decided mountain biking was going to be the hard thing I would learn this summer.

Getting to the trailhead I was excited seeing everyone else around me having so much fun. But as soon as I got on the flat start to the single track, very different thoughts came to me. What was I getting myself into?! This is so much harder than I thought. 

At the start of the ride, there was an initial descent that had me fighting back tears before I had even been on my bike for five minutes. ‘You idiot…you can’t do this, what were you thinking’, was all that was going through my head. I wanted to quit then, try something easier. But right behind me on the single-track was VNTRbirds instructor, Kelley Wren, giving me the most encouraging ‘you’ve got this!’.

I ended up walking my bike through that first descent, but as soon as the trail leveled off, my learning was in session. Kelley sensed how nervous I was and took her time helping me gain enough confidence to want to continue trying. For the next couple of miles I would hear, ‘Where are you looking?’ and ‘What are your feet doing?’.

Things were turning around! I had almost forgotten about the initial fear I had until we got to a steeper incline with turns. I initially wanted to just walk my bike up. Kelley believed in me and encouraged me to try it again, three times to be exact, before I was able to make it up the hill. This was exactly what I needed to continue improving – her motivation and guidance got me up the hill. 

Later I switched to riding with Leanne on the trail back to the car. I took a fall early into our ride together and couldn’t fight back the tears any longer. I was tired, mentally and physically, and now a little scraped up. Leanne gave me time to gather myself and let me decide how I wanted to finish the ride, road or trail. After a much needed break, I decided to push through and take the trail, otherwise I knew I would psych myself out of ever trying again without my sisters there to help me. 

We started back on the trail and my confidence was nonexistent. I stopped every time there was a turn or rock. Leanne knew I was frustrated and scared, and needed extra time. We went over braking and posture basics again until I felt like I could do it. Just like Kelley earlier, Leanne also would call out to me to make sure I was looking ahead far enough and keeping the pedals level.

The trail had berms which would have terrified me if I didn’t have the demonstration and support from Leanne to try them. First one down, I felt like I could once again keep going, and I did! The ride was a challenge, but once I got back to the trailhead I was met with cheering from our entire group. 

For the third time of the day, I was ready to start crying. But this time it was because I was so proud of what I had accomplished. I hadn’t given up on myself, even with the challenges. This was all thanks to Kelley and Leanne for keeping me safe, sensing when I was getting in my head, or just telling me to take a break even before I thought I needed one. With them, I was able to ride my bike on terrain I never knew existed and I can feel comfortable continuing to explore now. If you need support to start mountain biking, take one of the courses with VNTRbirds! I’m already looking forward to my next one!”

We are SO proud of Kelsey and her determination to learn something new! Our goal is to create a no-pressure, encouraging environment for beginners. If you have been thinking about mountain biking, or maybe had a bad experience your first time, come learn with us! FULL CALENDAR HERE.