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At Seagull Bay, we’ve noticed more and more mountain bikes in our parking lots. Bayfield is becoming a biking destination. The mountain biking trails are only a few short miles away and are incredible.
The trails are 20 miles of single track spread through the hardwood forests of Bayfield County near Mt. Ashwabay. They’re expertly maintained by the Chequamegon Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA).
Isaac has been a mountain biker for years. He picked up the itch when living in the Twin Cities and had time to burn before we married, had kids, and decided to buy and renovate a lakeside motel.
For years he’s been begging me to go for a ride with him. But if I’m honest, it kind of freaks me out. He talks about going over roots and rocks and even taking jumps. I’ve run these trails before but never imagined myself biking them.
Isaac’s cousin, Jillian, is a certified mountain bike coach. Last summer, I spent a couple of hours with her learning a few simple techniques that made me feel more confident on my bike.
So when the opportunity came up for us to collaborate with Mount Ashwabay and help sponsor a women’s mountain biking clinic, we jumped at the chance!
Anyone who’s ever ridden mountain bike trails knows these trails are more than casual rides through the woods. They’re narrow and have roots and rocks all over them. There are wooden features for those most daring and feel like their wheels need to fly through the air.
I don’t intend to fly through the air. But I want to figure out how to ride without having to start and stop because I’m walking my bike over stuff. Or get freaked out because the trail takes a sharp corner.
I’m all about hard workouts. I love CrossFit and worked my way into regional competitions and the Granite Games in the Twin Cities. So trust me when I say I don’t mind the sweat, muscle aches, and working hard. I just don’t want to fall and break a rib. I like my ribs.
Isaac, on the other hand, has no fears. He likes to ride fast. I can’t keep up. I usually see him at the start of an intersection and then at the end of the trail, where he’s waiting for me to catch up. It makes me feel like I’m so out of shape and slow.
He sometimes tries to help me by giving me tips like “lean back,” but I don’t get it. Lean back on what? When do you lean back? If I try leaning back, it feels awkward. Honestly, this type of biking differs from the biking I learned as a kid.
Then I spent an afternoon with Jillian – it was a total game changer. She taught me how to use my body and change my position on the bike to make pedaling uphill less tiring and easier. I learned to ride downhill with level pedals and knees out helping me to feel more secure on my bike.
I learned to look ahead on the trail, turn my body, and turn my head when going through a corner. I also learned when to brake and how to shift gears on my bike making my ride a whole lot smoother.
You will learn this and more at Mount Ashwabay’s Women’s Mountain Biking Day Clinic. In this day-long clinic you will learn:
I think every mountain biker should take lessons, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider. During these clinics, you’ll learn more than technical mountain biking skills.
If I gained anything from my few short hours with Jillian, it was confidence. She taught me simple and easy things that I can do with my body to make me feel more stable and safe on my bike. Did you know you shouldn’t stand up on your bike when you ride up a hill? Not me.
Jillian broke down body positioning techniques to use when riding down hills. I felt like I was riding my bike and in control rather than my bike taking me for a ride.
I learned how to ride over the small roots and rocks that have been so intimidating in the past. The more I practiced, the more I found I was willing to try other types of features too.
After a few short hours, I came away feeling energized and excited.
Besides feeling more confident on my bike, I became a lot faster. I noticed I wasn’t getting off and walking my bike as much because of what I had learned to do with my body. I’m able to ride through corners and up hills faster.
I never knew how much of a difference it makes to look ahead on the trail. I was so used to looking at my tire, and what I was riding over that I wasn’t looking ahead and preparing for what was coming next on the trail. Something incredibly simple has really made a difference in my ability to ride my mountain bike.
There are a lot of hills on the CAMBA trails at Mount Ashwabay. You can’t go anywhere without climbing. Like I said before, I love a hard sweat pouring out of my workout, but these hills are something else! Once I learned to lean forward on my bike and stay on my seat, it was much easier for me to pedal up the hills at Mount Ashwabay.
I’m not an avid mountain biker, and the truth be told, I’m not sure I will be. Much of my time is spent raising our boys, squeezing in a quick CrossFit workout, and caring for our guests. But I can honestly say that mountain biking has become more fun since I learned a few easy techniques to use when riding.
The simple things I learned in a few hours make mountain biking feel more accessible. Mountain biking is something I would like to do once our boys get a little older. It would be a lot of fun to go for rides on our adventurous trails as a family.
I also want to try features on the trails that I haven’t tried before or ride more advanced trails. It isn’t often that Isaac and I get to enjoy time alone or go on dates. But mountain biking would be something I could see us doing on a date. It’s a workout and fun all in one.
Saturday, September 17th, is the second annual Mount Ashwabay Women’s Mountain Biking Day Clinic. At the clinic, you can expect to:
This clinic is geared towards beginner to intermediate riders. It will sell out, so don’t wait. You can register HERE. I promise you won’t be sorry.
Need a place to stay? Seagull Bay’s got you covered. Whether you come with a friend, bring your partner, or the whole family, we have rooms that fit groups of any size.
With comfy beds, simple, minimalistic decor, and a location only a 5-minute drive from the Mount Ashwabay trails, we’re here to ensure all your attention is focused on your mountain biking adventure.
Come and stay at Seagull Bay. Book NOW – September will be here before you know it!
See you on the trails,
Mollie, Issac, Axel, Ridge, and Banks
August 6, 2022
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