There is nothing better than riding my mountain bike. Speeding through the single track, attacking berms and technical climbs plus that feeling of getting even a little bit of air on a jump. My mind is clear, my focus intense, my smile from ear to ear. From the moment I secure my helmet and step on the peddle, I think of nothing more than the trails ahead of me. My body position, trying a new line plus working on cornering and descending skills. Every time I ride my favorite trail sections, I find new ways to ride them and challenge myself.
It’s early October now, the hot summer is gone and with it the dry trails and overgrown greenery. Bring on the cool and refreshing temperatures and hero dirt that is Mountain Biking in the Fall!
Be prepared! Layers are key because your ride could begin in the cool temperatures of the early morning and end in the orange glow of the afternoon sun. My favorite fall riding gear is a light Marino wool ¾ arm jersey and soft shell jacket. Paired with either calf length pants or my usual go-to free ride shorts. If selecting the later, my sock game better be strong with some knee-high stripes. Accent with the usual bike shoes, favorite gloves and helmet and I’m ready to rip.
Dropping in on my favorite descent or attacking a technical section, I’m bound to meet like-minded mountain bikers. Stopping for a chat and high five is the norm; there’s no need to get going to avoid becoming a buffet for mosquitoes. I take a moment to snap a photo of the YEG River Valley – my Instagram will come alive with the incredible colours banking the calm water.
I add some extra fun and challenge by riding at night. Another favorite time to ride is post sunset! I use a helmet and bar light (plus that rear red flasher; safety first!) and off I go. The trail I had memorized is new again. In the stream of the light, I sail over once avoided roots and small drops; not knowing what I’ve accomplished until it’s passed.
The sound of leaves crunching under my tires is gleefully soothing while the white beam of light dancing amongst the passing trees is slightly hypnotic.
I simply can’t get out on my bike enough in September and October. It’s my favorite sport, my favorite pastime and my most favorite solo or group activity. Mountain biking is my passion and it is better when riding in the YEG River Valley in the fall.
Wait! There’s winter biking too …
Natalie Rix | Women on Wheels YEG & Specialized Brand Ambassador
Photo by Anna Ellert Photography