Writer: Emmi - Explorista.se
”Pedal, never stop pedaling” echoes in my head while the tires slips in the heavy mud. Determination, I can do it! Far back at the saddle, relaxed grip on the bars and strong legs, just keep pedaling. I look ahead, my motorcycle offroad experience is well used here. Pedal, pedal. Suddenly I am on the other site, pleased I didn´t give up in the middle, where it would have been so easy to stop pedaling.
30 girls, 30 mountainbikes. Heavy rain, crashes, laughs and overcome fears.
Some words to explain the adventure of the weekend, the mountainbike camp for women outside Gothenburg, Sweden. After a short meetup and introduction we split into groups, depending on experience. Heavy rain is falling from the grey skies as we pedal to the first session of the day, a trail session mixed with technique training. It is pretty cold, temperatures has been falling as the rains set in, and the raindrops splashes onto the helmets and pour down our heads. I’m really happy with my decision of putting my GoreTex Pro jacket on, instead of the thin running jacket I first wore – that jacket would be really cold now..!
We are riding on broad gravel roads, narrow trails and over small obstacles, roots and logs. Here and there we are stopping to discuss riding technique, then we continue riding to practise what we´ve learned. My group consists of girls of different ages and experiences – but with one common goal: to have damned good fun, get to know other MTB chicks and to become a better rider!
Our next session is pure technique training. One of those sessions well needed, the training you usually just don´t do at home. Gravel, obstacles and instructing words. We learn basic bike positioning, how to lift the front and back wheel over small obstacles, make tight turns, simple drops and proper breaking technique. Really useful, both for beginners and pros – if you know your technique, riding in the forest will be a piece of cake!
We also got to learn basic maintenence of the bike – washing, how to switch and repair a chain, how to fix flat tires or put on new ones, change break pads, set up the suspension and gears.
The last session of the day was a guided trip in the forest, extreme! Trails, hills, mud, logs. The technique training we had earlier came in handy and it was fun to realize that you are capable of much more than you think! Roots and stones disappears under the tires as I pedal and we are encouraging each other when we reach more difficult obstacles. The hills are tough, the mud is deep and my legs are fighting against the lactic acid – but this is really fun and challenging!
Two hours later our bikes are washed, we are out of our gear, dinner is served and we are listening to Lisa Nordlind, a Swedish adventurer, who tells us amazing stories from her adventures from around the world. What an amazing ending to the perfect first day.
Tired legs pedals up a steep hill. I ride over roots and stones, gears down and pedal through the mud. Again. Never stop pedaling. This is the last session of the camp and my legs are really tired after yesterday’s riding. Mountainbike is fun, really fun! Steep slopes and heavy hills mixes with balance training in narrow trails and wheel lifting over obstacles.
Mountainbiking is constantly challenging and every session means new difficulties to conquer. ”Just do it” – you are capable of much more then you think, if you just dare to try. And when you manage to get by the obstacle that seconds earlier seemed impossible, the feeling is unbeatable!
As if we were not exhausted enough, the camp ends with a 40 minutes crossfit challenge. A strong body makes mountainbiking more fun and minimizes the risk of injury when crashing, so the ”just do it” mindset applies here too.
So my summery of mountainbiking so far? Technique, Physique, Willpower, Dare, Damned fun and ”Just do it”!