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 feett 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. They 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 are so far out of my comfort zone I’ll leave 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 doing one more run down a different trail, 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
“the overall feeling that flows” state of mind.
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.
Ready to Book Your Next Mountain Bike Adventure?
This guest post featured by Sacred Rides highlights the addictive thrill of mountain biking. If you’ve never tried it before, like DJ, taking a tour is a fantastic way to give it a shot without investing too much time or money. It’s an opportunity to see if mountain biking suits you and to experience the exhilaration firsthand.
To find out more or to book your next tour, please visit our website today!