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Living vicariously through a beginner mountain biker.

Having ridden bikes for more than 20 years now, I often forget what it was like to be a beginner. My partner just got into mountain biking and this summer was her first full summer of riding bikes. She's made incredible improvements, but it's been even more fun to watch her go through some of those early feelings about mountain bike riding that I had long forgotten about. I got to watch her fall head over heals for mountain biking. From a shaky and unsure beginning to a capable thrill seeker. Bikes are still my passion, but there was something fun and nostalgic about watching her jump in the deep end of the learning pool.

She rode the entire season on an entry level Norco Storm 1, that she purchased with little intention of getting "serious." Now, her bike is affectionately referred to as "Purple Aang."(Yes, like the Airbender)

Recently, Jace broke her ankle in a non-biking incident and put an early finish to her 2021 riding season. Since she had some spare time, I asked if she would write a piece on her beginner journey. Instead, she sent me a poem about her bike. It's pure joy with a healthy sprinkling of YEG trail names. Enjoy!

YEG learning grounds

Ode to my Hardtail

by Jacinthe Ly Dang (aka Send-it-Jace)

I met you for the first time on Raven

And I had no idea what I was doin’

Real intimate times with trees

Dirty shirt and scratched out knees

Then you found me again in Fernie

Tried to keep up with Pepper and Judy

I got my first taste of downhill

And my heart could barely hold still

I wanted to know you better

Signed up for bike camp, one after another

Met so many cool riders

And continued to learn from my errors

Whenever I could, I visited you on Six Shooter

After hitting Victoria’s Secret just across the river

And the memories of us on Lovers’ Lane

Without you on rainy days, I just wasn’t the same

From greens to blacks in a season!

Sessioning Wonder Woman, I remember

Riding Logarithmic in Terwillegar

Shredding down Mustang and Bobsleigh

I wanted more of you every day

Just when I thought I couldn’t love you anymore

I discovered drops and a desire to soar

Cruising down Devon’s Flowline

Almost crashed but everything’s fine

Fast forward to 80 km on the HRT

And I’m thankful you stuck with me

Though I could feel my lungs burning

Purple Aang kept me rolling

Past the sweat and bloody shins,

I carry the biggest grin

For my dearest hardtail,

You’re my favourite love tale

100mm travel hardtail for the win!

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