Trail Side Chat Series
HMBA is chatting it up with some local women riders to find out why they love mountain biking in Hinton!
HMBA: How long have you been riding in Hinton?
Ellen: I have been mountain biking in Hinton for close to 10 years.
HMBA: How would you describe your riding level? (i.e. beginner, seasoned, other)
Ellen: I would say I am a low intermediate rider.
HMBA: What style of riding do you do?
Ellen: I ride a dual suspension mountain bike, cross country, when I am out on the back trails. When I commute to work, I ride a hard tail Schwinn that I have had for over 14 years.
HMBA: What are your favorite things to ride at the bike park?
Ellen: When I ride in the bike park, usually at the end of a long ride, I like finishing off with Flow Master or Stinger. For a club ride warm up, I love most of the trails winding their way up towards Flow Master.
HMBA: Do you ride the trails in our trails systems? (Happy Creek System, Jack’s Trails System) If so, what would be your most favorite trail? What’s your favorite loop?
Ellen: I mostly head out on the back trails. For a quick ride, I will do the Happy Creek trail and end up with a couple of laps on Stinger.
For a longer ride, I usually head up to EZ, J, then Ranger or Halloween, then Cleos, Phils Thriller and home via Happy. I actually love most of the trails. Slowcooker is the trail that has challenged me the most. I have punctured my leg heading down a hill, fallen off a bridge and thought I broke my neck but discovered I had only snapped the visor off my helmet and last year, I bounced off the bridge, did a face plant and broke my nose. It's such a great trail! How did I manage all those mishaps?
HMBA: If you had one minute to talk to someone new to biking – what would you say?
Ellen: If you are new to mountain biking, I would suggest you get onto the town trails lots and practice gear shifting and make sure you get out there and get advice from experienced riders . Phillip Mark from our club offers lessons in the Spring (Phil's Mad Skills - check the website calendar!). And when going on club rides, you can learn lots by riding behind the experienced riders. In my case, I often had advice from the "sweep".
HMBA: If you had one minute to talk to someone who bikes, but is new to Hinton – what would you say?
Ellen: If you are new to biking in Hinton, join the Hinton mountain biking club Facebook page. Join in on the club rides and just ask to ride with people. Our mountain biking club is soooo supportive. I am speaking from the perspective of an older rider. I feel welcome!
HMBA: How would you describe a typical Ladies’ Ride to someone who hasn’t been on one yet?
Ellen: The ladies ride! It's a good turnout and multiple skill levels. No one is ever left behind and no one leaves the group on their own. Safety and fun are high on the agenda and we rejoice in each others accomplishments. There are plenty of rest breaks and always great conversations. I made many riding friends and these same people are ones I contact to ride with me on the weekend.
I have gone on the Wednesday club rides. It's nice to ride with the guys. I am aware that I am not as strong as many of them and I don't feel pressured to go beyond my comfort level. There is a bit more spandex on those nights but that's not a bad thing. Most of the conversation centers around gear and the guys voices are deeper. LOL!
HMBA: In what ways do you give back to HMBA?
Ellen: I volunteer with the club for some of the events. I have led a few rides and organized a few weekend trips. Now that I own a small saw, I do a bit of trail maintenance when I see something that I can fix. I hope that I am considered a good ambassador for our club.
HMBA: Thanks Ellen! Any parting comments?
Ellen: Hinton should be really proud of what we have to offer for mountain biking. Any age and any skill level could have a great biking experience. The Fall is an amazing time to ride our trails. We have some great lookouts and riding close to dusk is absolutely superb.
I wish there were more fresh built trails. I love that fresh dug up path and the feeling of being on something brand new. Thanks to all you amazing trails builders!
I have always enjoyed the random events that people have organized, like night rides or weekend trips to Jasper.
And...it's good to see there are people willing/able to guide guests from out of town around our trails.
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