Racer Sarah Lease reflects on her personal journey discovering the joy of mountain biking while a racer with the CO high school mountain bike league.
Joining the CO MTB league seemed like common sense after riding for three years. Among the countless bruises, scratches on my bike, and one in a life time views, I realized that mountain biking was the only thing that could take my breath away – literally. I joined the Colorado Mountain Biking League after coaxing from my friends who were already racing. It should be noted that I am not competitive unless it involves eating the most popcorn in the span of one Netflix episode. I ride my bike simply because I can.
Riding bicycles never leaves me worse off, and I feel that mountain biking teaches me how to fill my life with good memories and nice people. I loved riding with Highlanders Composite because I met some of my favorite people who shared the same fiery passion for cycling as I did. The coaches understood that all riders learn differently and were flexible in their training approaches. When some of the team wanted to do hot laps and others wanted a more technique based ride, our coach combined the two! Practices were never stressful, unlike that of normal school sports like volleyball and track. Besides knowing my ability level, I was able to push my limits in my endurance and skills.
On a particularly technical spot, I always went around the feature, but after watching my coach and team members squeeze through it in Palmer Park, I had enough confidence to try it myself. It’s crazy to think about walking some sections that I ride with ease now. The only way that happens is by riding and riding with a supportive group of amazing people.
All the teams in the CO MTB League hope the best for each rider regardless of the results at the end of the race. After just one season racing JV, I learned that the best way to do well in a race is to have a good time! In one season I gained so much confidence that it helped me to race in college. So many people measure gains in power output, heart rate, and calories burned, but I say gaining friends and seeing the world from places inaccessible by cars, planes, and trains proves much more useful in life.
Mountain biking is a sport of doing or not doing, there is no trying. When I am riding a hard section of trail I do not tell myself “okay Sarah you better try your hardest on this”. No, I say “get your butt back and do this”. Knee pads also help this mindset.
To view the Colorado HS Cycling League teams click here.