Your Age: 25
Your Location (where do you ride mostly): Fairfax, VA
Weapon(s) of choice: My bikes:
Downhill MTB: 2016 Haro Extreme X6 LT
Cross Country MTB: 2008 Haro Shift 27.Five s3 and 2016 Gravity Bullseye 27.5+
Road Cycling: single speed 2015 Gravity Avenue FX
Gravel Grinding: 1996 Kona Cinder Cone Racelight
My camera is a GoPro Hero4 Silver.
What’s an average day for you like? I'm an undergrad biotechnology and molecular biology major at GMU. I have class 5 days a week and afterwards I go to the gym. During the semester, I limit my riding to the weekends, but even that can be difficult to squeeze in.
What is the most difficult part of your activity/sports for a beginner? The most difficult part is getting back on after wrecking. No matter how long you've been riding, wrecking will never not suck. I'm racking my brain for the easiest part because when I started, nothing seemed easy to me! I guess it was easy for me to WANT to keep riding.
What is the best and worst thing about being female in your sport? The best thing about being a female in my sport is, honestly, just being able to participate in it. I've never really thought of myself as a "female mountain biker", I'm just a mountain biker. The worst part is that there are still some people that feel that adding the "female" to that somehow makes me less capable. Another difficult part is finding bikes that are small enough for a 5'5" female but are still robust enough to handle a beating.
What would you like to see change in your sport to make it better for you and other female athletes? I want the stigma of mountain biking not being a 'woman's' sport to just go away. Anything can be a woman's sport as long as it's a woman who is doing it.
Besides your ability and style factor as an athlete, how would you describe your personal style? All over the map. I'll dress like a 14 year old boy one day - Vans, jeans, t-shirt - then the actual adult woman I am the next - boots, skinny jeans, cute top, and make-up in full force. It typically depends on how much time I have in the mornings; I will absolutely take more sleep over getting dolled up to go to class.
What are your favorite brands/designers for your sports apparel and for stepping out? For sports: My riding jackets, bibs, and jerseys come from Nashbar and my protective gear is from Demon United. My climbing gear is Mammut and Evolv and I like Nike running shoes.
For stepping out: My favorite article of clothing right now is the aztec varsity hoodie from SheShreds.co, but generally I just wear whatever fits and looks good.
Let’s hear your thoughts on how important looking good is to feeling good. “Being” your personal best? In 2016 I lost nearly 60 pounds and decreased my body fat percentage by 18%. Moreover, my cardiovascular fitness and endurance improved to the point where I can now do things I never thought I could including running 5k's and climbing hills on my bike without having to stop and catch my breath. Those accomplishments mean more to me than how my physical appearance has changed, though I quite like that too! I'm more confident than ever in all aspects of life because not only do I look better, but I feel GREAT.
How dangerous do you really think it is compared to what people do in their regular activities? I have yet to sustain any injuries from XC riding, but downhill riding can be terrifying due to its unforgiving nature and the consequences of wrecking. I'd say it's moderately dangerous, but I may update my answer after my first concussion or broken bone.
I bet in your experience you have seen some crazy crashes. Describe one. Over the summer, I was on the DH bike learning how to ride high lines up on the berm of tight turns. My first went well, but the second I felt that my front tire was cutting too close to the edge of the turn and, not wanting to go up and over the turn into the trees, I massively over-corrected and caused the rear tire to fish tail out from under me. I'm not exactly sure how my body contorted when I fell, but it's okay because my face broke my fall- luckily I was wearing a full face helmet. I walked every turn for the rest of the trail, my confidence completely shot, spitting out blood and dirt the whole way down. I took bruises and cuts to every limb, tore the MCL in my right knee, and have some nice scars on my face and chest. I spent the next day in bed covered in ice packs.
While that was bad, my rock climbing accident was worse. I fell from an indoor bouldering problem and rolled my ankle upon landing (on a large cushioned crash pad!). I tore three ligaments, spent six weeks in a walking boot on crutches, and six weeks in physical therapy.
What usually gets people hooked on your activity/sport? The adrenaline, definitely.
What is your favorite trick? When I learned how to land jumps and handle drop-offs I was ecstatic! Even though those aren't really "tricks" as much as they are skills, they're vital to riding. And I love wall rides!
What gets you pumped up for the day? Caffeine pills, usually. There not so good for you, or good for you at all, but I don't drink coffee and I need the extra pep to get through my morning classes.