Life as a Mountain Biking Mom

I’ll admit it—when I found out I was pregnant, I cried. I had a fantastic husband, a great job, a beautiful home. There was no reason that I couldn’t raise a child—no drug addiction, or unfinished schooling, no unhappy circumstance.

It was just that I was wildly happy with my life the way it was. Well, maybe I didn’t always love my 9-5 job, but as soon as it was done I was at the trailhead. My husband and I had fun traveling to ride our bikes. We spent our honeymoon in Europe riding the Tour de Mont Blanc. We spent our weekends doing 5 hour epics. Our lives revolved around our passion, and we were happy with that.

Mountain bike mom

So a child wasn’t really what we had been hoping for. But when that pregnancy test turned up with two pink lines, I knew that I had to readjust. We were going to do this thing right no matter what.

The first year was the hardest. Post-pregnancy, I ended up with a blood clot that took me off the bike all together. Once I got back on it, breastfeeding meant I couldn’t do a ride longer than 2 hours. There were many Saturdays on the couch, holding a sleeping baby, watching my husband leave for rides without me. For a little while, I lost a bit of myself.

But then our baby turned one. It didn’t happen overnight, but slowly things began to right themselves again.   I was woefully out of shape, but I’d never been happier to spend 60 minutes on singletrack. We put our son in the iBert and started going for short rides with him along.

Mountain biking with a child
Biking with P at one year old

At Christmas, my parents gave P his first balance bike. (Yes, he has more than one). Suddenly, riding wasn’t just about dragging him along with us, it was about watching him learn to love riding. At 18 months, he’d ride long sections of singletrack and while it was frustrating slow at times, there was nothing I loved more than seeing him shine. I resisted the temptation to put him in the ibert and just let him ride.

Biking with child
Mountain biking as a family

It was on a mountain bike ride right around the time P turned two that I decided to start Rascal Rides. We were riding the Round Valley system in Park City and we stopped at the top of a hill for a snack break. (There are lots of snack breaks when you’re riding with a young child). There was a light breeze and even though it was October, there was already snow on the mountains. P wandered off to collect some rocks, and my husband leaned over to give me a kiss. It was the most perfect moment of my life, even better than riding Mont Blanc.

P is 3.5 now and time is going so much faster than I wish it would. The balance bike has been mostly replaced by a pedal bike; the ibert has been replaced by a Weehoo. Nothing stays the same for long, and now I miss the lazy Saturdays cuddling on the couch.

I’m still out of shape, but I don’t care so much anymore. We ride most days of the week. Sometimes it’s just a short ride to dinner; other days we’ll do ten miles on dirt. Everytime, life feels just right.

Kid mountain biking
P riding his mountain bike

Maybe someday I’ll be fast and fit again (not that I was ever that fast); maybe I won’t. For now, I’m happy to ride as a family, to instill a love of cycling in my son. Perhaps more importantly, I want to instill a love of nature, of sun on his face, and wind in his hair.

I want him to know that life is primarily about this: family, love, and adventure.

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