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  1. #1
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    Intimidated on the trail

    Hey Ladies! I posted in the greetings forum, and got a bit of response from my post. Reason being, I am intimidated by other women riders. I tend to feel inferior in skill level. I would like to know from you ladies, how did you build up your skills? Did you mostly learn from other riders or youtube?

  2. #2
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    Trial and error on my own mostly, but I started 25 years ago. I've met some other women that surmounted a much steeper learning curve from riding with others, and made amazing progress in 6 months, but I think that depends not only on your bike-ability but your personality and learning style. I think I might have given up if I'd tried it that way...slow and steady self-imposed challenges worked for me.

  3. #3
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    If it weren't for the women riders, all who were better than me, who took me under their wing/wheel, I wouldn't be riding today. My friend Shelly would say "follow me" and I spent hours and hours just barely keeping her butt in view.

    In short, I think it will come down to the tapes you run in your head. Some ways to circumvent that are to make the assumption that if you've been invited to ride, or join an all abilities ride, that you are supposed to be there. Otherwise they wouldn't have invited you or created the event. Find a women's skills clinics, or women's rides and GO! I lead rides all the time that are non-hammerhead gals rides, billed as all abilities welcome. If we have someone show up who needs or wants help, we always show them tips for more successful riding.

    Youtube is better than nothing, certainly if it's your only option, but hands-on skills help is if ideal if it's out there.

    If you feel that way when you are riding with your current crew, either decide you really don't give a s**t if they have to wait for you, or find new people to ride with.

  4. #4
    Dudette
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    Just remember that everyone has to start somewhere. The riders that intimidate you were once in your shoes, so don't let that bother you, although I understand it's hard sometimes.

    What Formica said is true about learning a lot from people with more ability than you have right now. I found that a lot of my progress was made following along behind someone, chatting with them and just copying what they were doing. I tend to overthink things instead of trusting myself and my bike. There are some great videos of drills you can set up in your backyard or parking lot, too, which is fun.

    My best advice is to remember you are riding for you and your enjoyment - so do what makes you happiest and surround yourself with the people that will help you achieve that.
    MTB4Her.com

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer View Post
    ...slow and steady self-imposed challenges worked for me.
    ^^^this
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

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    Definitely keep it fun and as mentioned, everyone was a beginner once.

    Do you feel intimidated with male riders as well, or only females?

    I remember riding a singletrack route we have nearby a few years ago as a beginner, and a woman on a singlespeed hard tail just absolutely trashed by me (not in a negative way, just as a strong rider capable of SS a 6.3mi singletrack climb) and I was amazed. Didn't think I'd ever be able to do anything like that. Probably 1-2 years later I did, and it felt good to be aware of my own progress.

    I got pretty fast and rode well for quite awhile, but suffered a pretty bad injury, had a few months with no exercise. So, now I'm the "slow" one again Trying to just enjoy it for what it is!

    Sometimes riding with other women can be empowering and super fun, and sometimes it can be stressful, it really just depends on the women and attitudes.

    Try to find a beginner/social group. Most of the time they'll be more than open to helping you out in any way!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by petey15 View Post
    I tend to overthink things instead of trusting myself and my bike. .

    That is biggest issue right now. My first issue was crashing, but I finally got over that by crashing. However, I still psych myself out on obstacles if I feel like I'm going too fast, but in reality I'm going the right speed.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharityKase View Post
    Hey Ladies! I posted in the greetings forum, and got a bit of response from my post. Reason being, I am intimidated by other women riders. I tend to feel inferior in skill level. I would like to know from you ladies, how did you build up your skills? Did you mostly learn from other riders or youtube?
    I still feel that way when it comes to fitness.

    I remember feeling intimidated once. One female I used to ride with didn't like to stop because it would affect her monitored heart rate. That originally made me feel intimated, then I came to my senses.

    There was no way I could keep up with her, and there's no reason I should care. As long as I can be self-sufficient and not get lost and take care of myself, it doesn't matter.

    So keep riding, and don't feel intimidated
    MTB4Her.com: mountain bike site for women, by women

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    The best advice I was given was to get 'hours in the saddle'. That's how I learned. There was no instruction or clinics, so I had to learn by doing. If you can find instruction or clinics or a mentor, that would be great. I think I would have learned faster that way.

    Yes, we've all been there. I've been frustrated. I've felt inadeauate. I've wondered if I'm really meant for mountain biking. I've beaten myself up. Try not to get frustrated or intimidated. You are not alone. I used to have to tell myself that a 'bad' ride was better than no ride and that I was building skills/endurance, even if I wasn't happy with my performance. I think a lot of riders go through this (possibly more women as we tend to be harder on ourselves.) Things are MUCH different for me now. I rarely have these feelings. I can ride as fast as a lot of the people who I used to feel I was holding up. Sometimes I'm at the head of the pack!

    If women are behaving in a way to make you feel intimidated, I'd look for others to ride with. If it's in your head, then keep telling yourself that the women who intimidate you were probably just once like you and they understand. If they do something awesome, rather than be intimidated, tell them that it was awesome and ask for a pointer as to how you can work up to doing something like that.

    Good luck! Most importantly, have fun!

  10. #10
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    That's funny. I'm way more intimidated by male riders than other female.

    I'm still not very good but so far I've taken a couple of clinics (both were women only), forced myself to do some scary trails and yeah, just practice, practice, practice.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharityKase View Post
    I still psych myself out on obstacles if I feel like I'm going too fast, but in reality I'm going the right speed.
    Fast track your skills improvement by going to a skills clinic that you pay $$ for. Having a coach whose job it is to help you improve works. I have been riding for 26 years and take skills clinics whenever they come up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LyndaW View Post
    Fast track your skills improvement by going to a skills clinic....
    Luckily, there's a women's clinic in my area next weekend. Hopefully, I'll able to attend and not have to work. It's being lead by a female DH rider. I'm really excited.

  13. #13
    Serenity now!
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharityKase View Post
    Luckily, there's a women's clinic in my area next weekend. Hopefully, I'll able to attend and not have to work. It's being lead by a female DH rider. I'm really excited.
    Lucky you! Have fun and learn a lot!

    I accept the fact that I may never be as good or as fast as a lot of the women riders I see, and I am faster and more skillful than others. It is a personal journey. It doesn't make me a good person or a bad person.

    Agreed, be sure you ride with women/men who have supportive and positive attitudes. It's supposed to be fun!
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    While riding with faster/stronger/more skilled women was very intimidating when I first started riding, it ended up being the thing I learned the most from. I could watch the guys clear a technical feature on the trail and think I could never do it. Watching another women do the extact same thing was a completely different story, I would think, wow, maybe I could do that too.

    And I agree completley with the other posters. It depends a lot on the people/ladies you ride with. I have found that most of the time they are more than willing to help you out if you just ask

  15. #15
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    I took up mtb in my 40's and I only have a few years under my belt. It was steep learning curve to achieve the basics and because my goal was to ride and keep up with my husband, I was motivated.

    When I was a noob I rode the same diverse and technical trails, under many conditions, as my husband. Sometimes I was successful and sometimes I failed. When I accomplished something new I felt proud. But when I fell, or had to walk I would either session the feature or, I shrugged it off and tried it another day. What I noticed was that the more I rode, the more I challenged myself, and the better I got. When I went back and rode a feature that once intimidated me, somehow it didn't seem as intimidating, or as steep or gnarly. Over time you will discover your strengths and you might find something in your skill set that others may not have. As others have stated: keep riding
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclelicious View Post
    When I went back and rode a feature that once intimidated me, somehow it didn't seem as intimidating, or as steep or gnarly. Over time you will discover your strengths and you might find something in your skill set that others may not have. As others have stated: keep riding
    Practice, practice, practice! Sometimes when I want to work on a particular skill, I'll find a spot on the trail that has the obstacle or feature I want to work on and just session it for an hour or two. I watch a lot of different instructional or other videos on YouTube and try to mimic those. Taking shots of myself with a self-timer helps me compare what I'm doing to what I've seen others do. It's nice because I don't have the added pressure of others watching or holding anyone up during a group ride. I find these little sessions relaxing and it's fun bringing the new skills to the trail.
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    I attended a women's clinic today in my area that was lead by a female DH racer, Corrine Miller. I got a lot of pointers. I found that I was pushing myself more, and went through the down hill course at the park. I crashed hard...twice, and in the same spot. She had me go through it again, and was able to conquer the large, left turn berm. The clinic was probably one of the better things i could have done because I feel quite a bit more confident with my riding skills.

  18. #18
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    ^^ That's great! I did a clinic with retired downhiller Kathi Krause a couple of years ago. While our clinic was geared more toward trail riding, I'm hoping to take a downhill clinic with her next year. It's fun learning with other women in a supportive atmosphere. I'd like to go to the women's weekend at Ray's MTB Park sometime, too.
    MTB4Her.com

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by petey15 View Post
    ^^ That's great! I did a clinic with retired downhiller Kathi Krause a couple of years ago. While our clinic was geared more toward trail riding, I'm hoping to take a downhill clinic with her next year. It's fun learning with other women in a supportive atmosphere. I'd like to go to the women's weekend at Ray's MTB Park sometime, too.

    Bike clinics are very helpful, I did a bike clinic in 2009 with Wade Simmons. I was the only female in the group. To this day I still apply the lessons I learned and it's added to my growth and confidence as a rider.

    What also helps is to diversify your riding experience. Try in-door skill parks, dh, all mountain and even road.
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  20. #20
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    My wife started mountain biking at the age of 58. Men love seeing women on the trail and (I'd guess) the vast majority of women are supportive. Go have fun and just enjoy!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    My wife started mountain biking at the age of 58. Men love seeing women on the trail and (I'd guess) the vast majority of women are supportive. Go have fun and just enjoy!
    This! Just practice. Ride with nice folks that are helpful and patient. We have beginner rides and everyone just waits at strategic points. No one ever gets left behind and we have an experienced "sweeper" bring up the rear. It's loads of fun. We even have several night rides.

    Honestly, if you would have told me that I'd be riding intermediate trails at night when I first started, I would have thought "in your dreams!" But here I am. Not a great rider but learning all of the time.

  22. #22
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    Re: Intimidated on the trail

    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    My wife started mountain biking at the age of 58. Men love seeing women on the trail and (I'd guess) the vast majority of women are supportive. Go have fun and just enjoy!
    That's amazing and inspiring. As a late starter, I find this encouraging.

    Sent from my Z10 using Tapatalk 2

  23. #23
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    Great post. That is how most sports are taught. That is how we coach the new riders on our high school MTB team. Somehow adults are supposed to immediately "get" MTBing...

    Quote Originally Posted by motofix View Post
    What we have learned is people learn faster if you break it down to one skill at a time so they progress in a more linear fashion. The reason I say this is most riding skills can be broken down to very basic foundation skills, sometimes it requires multiple foundation skills to achieve a harder skill. For example, going down a steep smooth rock sounds like one skill but it can be broken down into 1. The attack position. 2. Weight shift. 3. Smooth brake control. And possibly 4. Going slow (balance). If you can do all of those together than you should be able to handle the rock. However if you can do all of them but only one at a time it will be harder, and if you are only able to do one or two of those skills, well, it may feel like you may die at any moment if you donít crash.

  24. #24
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    Sounds like you have the heart of a teacher.

  25. #25
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    btw guys are always welcome here if they aren't trolling or looking for dating advice.

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