As the crisp autumn air flows in, I am reassured as to why I live in New England. For the seasons. Now is a perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy all that New England has to offer. Perhaps a swift hike in the woods or a leisurely walk along the water suits you. For me, I want to go mountain biking.
I was so inspired last summer spending time mountain biking with the girls of Camp Runoia. It is truly a gift to be able to pass on my passion for a great sport onto these young ladies. To watch their eagerness to learn and explore is a tough feeling to beat. I started mountain biking back in the early nineties when the sport first started to take off. Historically, this has been a sport dominated by men, but the question remains, how do we get more girls and women involved in this great sport? When I came to Runoia, I was thrilled to see that we had a mountain bike program. What a great way to expose our girls to a sport they may not be exposed to otherwise. As the bike technology advances and trails and parks become more accessible, my hope is that more young women will try mountain biking. I wanted to share something that a local mountain bike park that I ride at in New Hampshire hosted last weekend. Click here to see a short video with some highlights from the “Women’s Freeride Festival” hosted by Highland Mountain Bike Park.
Highland Mountain Bike Park is a very progressive place which is really on the cutting edge of the sport. Constantly creating new terrain and technical elements, they draw amateur and professional riders from all over the world. I feel lucky to have this resource not far from home. They obviously recognize that in order to sustain a sport like this and a facility like this, they need more riders. I’m sure that this workshop inspired so many women to get into this sport or if already in it, it empowered them to take it to the next level. This is a sport all about personal growth. You can go as slow or as fast as you want…as big or as small as you want. What a feeling when you accomplish the next big challenge for the first time. It truly gives you a great sense of power and accomplishment.
If you have never mountain biked, I encourage you to give it a try! This is an amazing sport which is here to stay. I look forward to many more “Fine Maine Days” next summer spent mountain biking with the fabulous girls of a little sleep away camp which we call Runoia!
By Chris Mercier