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Photo by David Niddrie
Sarah RipplingerSarah Ripplinger, Senior Editor of Momentum
By Sarah Ripplinger
As a daily commuter, I'm sometimes quick to reject other forms of cycling, such as road and mountain biking. "I'm not a racer," I say, or "I don't do downhill trails." Secretly, though, I have always wanted to give them a go, which is why I jumped at the opportunity to try both this past June in Aspen, CO.
Now, I consider myself to be in pretty good shape, but I still felt a bit nervous before a group of journalists and I headed out for a road ride up to the Maroon Bells mountains. "What if I can't make it?" I wondered. "What if I wipe out riding with these skinny tires?"
The same was true when we took the Mountain Biking 101 course run out of the Aspen Snowmass ski resort a couple of days later. "Am I really ready to race down a steep, root- and rock-riddled single track?" I asked myself. "Am I crazy?"
A lot of my hesitation stemmed from the labels I assign to riders: "city" (me included) versus "sports" (those other cyclists). It was hard to see myself in another role. I knew I was fit enough to do it, but I still felt way out of my league.
Having successfully completed both a long-distance road ride on a fancy Orbea Onix road bike and an intermediate downhill dirt ride on a Norco Fluid trail bike, I now feel that I can better relate to those "other" cyclists. Riding on a road bike with dropdown handlebars and skinny tires made the over 1,700-foot climb to the Maroon Bells less challenging. And weaving through the Snowmass Mountain forest on a single track dirt trail that required a new riding stance — and a lot more upper body and core strength than I normally use — was challenging in a good way. Both experiences took me out of my comfort zone and made me appreciate why so many people enjoy these "other" forms of cycling.
I'm probably not going to take up either as a full-time sport, but it was worthwhile testing them out. In fact, I'm looking forward to the next opportunity to apply my newfound skills!
There's something in this issue for cyclists of all stripes and riding types. And I'd love to hear from you if you have suggestions regarding future content, or just to say hello.
Keep it wheel,
Editor, Momentum Magazine