How I Became a Mountain Bike Addict Part 1

For a cou­ple of years now, the thought of hop­ping on a moun­tain bike has dan­gled in my head as a tempt­ing idea, but not much more than that. 

June 14, 2023

Part 1 – My First MTB Experience

For a cou­ple of years now, the thought of hop­ping on a moun­tain bike has dan­gled in my head as a tempt­ing idea, but not much more than that. Like many, the videos I’ve seen on YouTube and social media plat­forms slight­ly dis­suad­ed me from try­ing my hand at the sport — watch­ing the “Fail Fri­day” and oth­er slam videos always left me feel­ing like moun­tain bik­ing might just do me in if I ever put my foot on ped­als. How­ev­er, once I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to take my first moun­tain bike day tour, I decid­ed I had to jump at the chance and, as they say, “just send it.”

Work­ing for Ever­green Escapes, a sis­ter com­pa­ny to Seat­tle Moun­tain Bike Tours, gave me the unique oppor­tu­ni­ty to give bik­ing a whirl and hit some sin­gle­tracks in the area — and I just couldn’t say no. The abil­i­ty to have knowl­edge­able guides, a high-end moun­tain bike, and my snacks and lunch all wrapped into one awe­some-sound­ing tour was just too hard to turn down – even with visions of Fail Fri­day tree slams danc­ing in my head. 

The morn­ing of the tour came with some antic­i­pa­tion and a lot of excite­ment. I’ve been told a few times in my life that I am what many call an adren­a­line junky (okay, more than a few times at this point), and the allure of that hit of adren­a­line had me itch­ing to go. I met up with our tour guides at the office, and after they got the bikes and all the gear loaded up, we head­ed out to pick up the oth­er guests on the tour. 

The ride over to the rid­ing area in Issaquah was filled with get­ting to know each oth­er and hear­ing about each other’s appre­hen­sion and excite­ment. The two oth­er guests whom I rode with hadn’t ever rid­den a moun­tain bike and were a bit more hes­i­tant than I was to hop in the sad­dle, but excit­ed nonetheless!

We arrived at our des­ti­na­tion, Duthie Hill Moun­tain Bike Park, and start­ed to gear up in the park­ing lot while the guides got the bikes ready for us. They were amaz­ing in get­ting us set up with hel­mets, gloves, kneepads, and elbow pads if we want­ed them (gloves and hel­mets are non-negotiables). 

Once we were all set up with our armor, it was time to tune the bikes to each of us. I had no idea all of the adjust­ments that went into get­ting a bike set up for some­one – adjust­ing the sus­pen­sion pres­sure, the brakes and levers, and the drop­per post – but our mas­ter­ful guides had the adjust­ments done and went over the basics of the bikes in almost no time at all!

They got us feel­ing com­fort­able on the bikes, showed us prop­er rid­ing posi­tion and brake mod­u­la­tion, and had us do a lap around the park­ing lot to make sure we were ready to go. Then it was off to have some real fun! 

We ped­aled into the park and head­ed to our first trail – Boot­camp. Moun­tain Bik­ing trails are rat­ed in the same way as ski runs – green cir­cle is the eas­i­est, blue square being more inter­me­di­ate, and black dia­mond for the advanced runs (there are also dou­ble black and pro lines, but those were so far out of my com­fort zone I left them out for now). Boot­camp was an easy green which was a per­fect warm-up for the day. As soon as we start­ed down­hill, I knew I was hooked. 

The veg­e­ta­tion fly­ing past me, the sound of the tires on the dirt, the wind on my face, and the excite­ment flow­ing through my body are things I think I’ll remem­ber my whole life – and it was one of the eas­i­est runs in the entire bike park! The ride back up was also fun, but in a dif­fer­ent sense (although not near­ly as fun as going down). 

It was fun chal­leng­ing myself to ride over obsta­cles that I didn’t think I’d be able to make it past and try­ing to keep my feet on the ped­als instead of hav­ing to put them on the ground to sta­bi­lize myself. Any­thing can be fun if you cre­ate lit­tle chal­lenges for your­self to overcome! 

After a cou­ple more runs, it was lunchtime – and say­ing the guides came pre­pared is an under­state­ment. We drove to a lit­tle park on a hill over­look­ing the Sno­qualmie Val­ley and enjoyed some fan­tas­tic food from a local co-op deli. There were options for a wide vari­ety of dietary restric­tions and pref­er­ences, many types of bev­er­ages to rehy­drate, and good laughs all around the table. 

The food was great, but the views were even bet­ter – the lush green of the val­ley below and the Cas­cade foothills off in the dis­tance all remind­ed me just how lucky I was to be in the Pacif­ic North­west. Once we fin­ished lunch and packed up, it was a short walk over to our next rid­ing area – Rag­ing River. 

There was a lot more uphill with this trail sys­tem com­pared to Duthie Hill, but you have to go up in order to come back down! Once we reached the top of our down­hill trail, we took a quick break to catch our breath and get a drink before begin­ning our descent down Flow State. Flow State was a fun and flowy trail, as the name suggests. 

On this trail, some­thing clicked for me – it felt like a light­bulb went on in my head, and I felt so much more com­fort­able on the bike com­pared to the pre­vi­ous trails. I was find­ing lit­tle rock fea­tures to try and pop off to get some air, tak­ing cor­ners more aggres­sive­ly, and just over­all feel­ing that Flow State of mind (get it?). At the bot­tom of the run, you couldn’t wipe the smiles off our faces. We all felt like we were 12 years old again. 

There aren’t many things in this world that I’ve found can do that for me oth­er than ski­ing and sky­div­ing – which just left me search­ing for my next oppor­tu­ni­ties. It’s safe to say that moun­tain bik­ing is now in my blood and isn’t going anywhere. 

I am so hap­py I could expe­ri­ence moun­tain bik­ing like that for my first time out. I had such a great time that I decid­ed to go home, get my motor­cy­cle fixed up, and then put it on the mar­ket so I could use the mon­ey from the sale to buy my own bike and get out on the trails. That’s a sto­ry for next time, though, so stay tuned for part 2! Until then, hap­py trails to all. 

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