Because a dream day of riding is about more than great trails
It’s safe to say that the pressures of elite-level racing could easily turn every ride into a training ride. But where’s the fun in that? So we wanted to know: What exactly do pros look for in a perfect day on the bike? And given that March is Women’s History Month, we talked to a few of our favorite female shredders to get their take.
From nitty-gritty details like which trails they’d link up and who they’d invite along, to post-ride foods of choice and ideal weather conditions, these pros definitely know how and where to have fun on their bikes.
Chloe Woodruff // XC // 2016 Olympian
“I always enjoy taking friends and visitors to Prescott up to the Sierra Prieta Overlook, just southwest of town. It’s a tough climb up a dirt road but the views from the overlook are well worth the effort, and Trail #366 from the summit is one of my favorite singletrack descents and connects to numerous trails to get back into town. It’s the perfect, ‘earn your turns’ kind of ride–with the added bonus of an incredible view from up top.
“I always encourage local women who are getting into mountain biking to work toward this ride. It’s a serious challenge, but well worth the effort. Also of note: The Whiskey Off-Road ’15 Proof’ course follows this route.”
Getting this crew to pose for a group photo at the overlook wasn’t easy. Just had to remind them that the only valid excuse for skipping the obligatory Sierra Prieta shot is if you’re racing the #whiskeyoffroad and feel like 💩. This is one of the best views in #Preskitt!!! #earnyourturns #bikeprescott #arizonamtb #morekidsonbikes #stanspivot
Rachel Strait // Enduro // GT Factory Team
“The sun is out, it’s under 80 degrees, the trails are slightly wet because it rained the night before, the dirt has Velcro traction, there’s a view of the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other, and all my friends, my pops, and my husband are there ready to shred! That sounds like a perfect day on the bike! It wouldn’t hurt to have some burritos waiting at the end, either…”
Kelli Emmett // Enduro // Juliana Bicycles
“I love riding the valley trails in Whistler, B.C., with my long-term boyfriend, Danny Pate. He is a road racer but has impressive mountain bike skills. One of my favorite valley trails is Crazy Train–it terrified me the first time, but I loved it the second! If we can have a few friends join the experience, all the better.” (Ridden Crazy Train? Map it!)
Tracy Moseley // Enduro // 3x EWS Champ
“Sunshine, mountains, singletrack, good food, and great company!”
Sonya Looney // Endurance // 2015 24-Hr World Champ
“I love riding in new places with my husband, especially in B.C.! I also love riding with other women. I was riding at Smith Creek in my hometown of Kelowna, B.C., last summer with a friend named Leigh. There was a launch I’d been wanting to try but was so intimidated–it was as tall as me! Leigh, who’s more confident on launches than I am, told me I could do it and told me to follow her off of it. She was there to encourage me and it made me believe that if she could do it, then I could do it too.
“On my first approach, I chickened out and stopped. I went back and tried again. I yelled, ‘Come on! Come on! Come on!’ as I built up the courage to go off it. There was the moment of decision: the moment that I decided to let go instead of hold back, and I did it! It was so fun and not nearly as scary as I thought it would be. Having Leigh there to support me was so memorable and a powerful testament to riding with other females. For some reason, when my male friends do it, I don’t feel the same confidence as when Leigh did it!”
Teal Stetson-Lee // Enduro
“My perfect day on a bike is riding one of my favorite loops, Yogi Bear and Jack Ass (Ridden this loop? Map it!). It’s some of the most fun I’ve ever had on a bike. The first time I rode this loop was with a small crew and my friend and legend Katerina Nash. She is one of the top female mountain bikers in the world and my former teammate from my Luna Pro Team days.
“When we rode on this loop together, I had an epiphany about how incredibly valuable it is for women to get out and play for the sake of play. Not just to ride or workout for fitness, but to actually play. All of us in the riding crew were like kids on bikes that day–the conditions were so spectacular. And every time I ride that loop now, it prompts me to remind myself and other women that not everything on a bike has to be goal oriented. Give yourself permission to get rowdy in the dirt, in the woods because it makes you feel giddy and alive.”
Anne Galyean // Enduro // Yeti-Fox Factory Team
“I have two ideal bike days: smashing out laps at the bike park with a long train of friends on the fastest, gnarliest trail, or escaping into the backcountry with my husband to explore a new descent.”
Larissa Connors // XC // 2016 Pro XCT Champ
“Tackling something epic, preferably somewhere new, with anyone who thinks 15k ascent and 90+ miles on a mountain bike is a good idea. Luckily, I have a few friends who meet this description, and have had a few opportunities to live out the scenario where you look at some maps, create an epic day, anticipate it for weeks, pack a few sandwiches, have one of the ride buddies stash sodas and nutbutter-filled Clif Bars, and then go ride your bike ALL DAY. The more beautiful forest, vast overlooks, suffering, and swoopy fun descents, the better!”
Syd Schulz // Enduro // Jamis Factory Team
“Riding South Boundary in Taos on a beautiful day in October when the leaves are going off and all the aspens are bright yellow. I was lucky enough to have this exact day last fall, with a group of 12 awesome friends. We raced thunderstorms all the way to the bottom and finished about five minutes before the hail started! And we had beer and double chocolate brownies waiting for us after five hours of riding. Literally perfect.”
Samantha Kingshill // Downhill // 2016 Pro GRT Champ
“If I had to pick one perfect day, it would be a day at Bootleg Canyon riding and sending jumps with friends!”
#freeridefriday the Steve Peat line in bootleg was awesome!! Definitely a few tight squeezes and interesting corners, but was still way to much fun! @collegecyclery @dvosuspension @onealracing @vittoriatires @truckercoposse @fiveten_official @crankbrothers @mtbparks @ryderseyewear #brandofthebrave 📷: @jwalton_pictures
(Ed. note: quotes have been edited for clarity)
We asked a gaggle of pros some questions. This column highlights their 10 best answers to each question.