A few months back Mia stumbled upon this humble little blog and reached out in regards to becoming a guest blogger. I think I jumped out of my chair in excitement, because that is when it dawned on me that we are going in the right direction with She Rides Her Bike. My whole vision with this blog was to slowly, but surely build it up into a true community. A place for women to find encouragement, inspiration, and hopefully take the leap to put themselves out there and share their story.
After a few back and forth emails, we finally scheduled a time to Skype, i.e. “meet”. What I thought would be a 45min/hour long meet and greet, turned into 2 hours of completely geeking out on all things bike. I got to hear all about Mia’s journey into the world of XC racing, the ins and outs of balancing a family of 6 (5 of whom all race) with their love of the great outdoors and love of cycling. I won’t go into the details, as this is her story to tell. But let me tell you, this woman has passion for mountain biking and I couldn’t be happier to officially be adding her to our team.
With out further ado, I will let her introduce herself …
Location: Harrisburg, PA
My Ride: Santa Cruz Chameleon
My Preferred Style of Riding: XC Mountain Biking
How Long I’ve Been Riding: I have only been riding a few short months
What Got Me into Cycling: My husband encouraged me to start riding/racing.
To Ride Solo or Ride with Others… I really enjoy the quiet mental space riding solo provides me, but riding with others helps me learn and grow as a rider.
Happiest Moment on My Bike: Completing my first race and placing 2nd was a huge boost of confidence and pushed me to ride more and push myself harder.
Biggest Challenge as a Cyclist: Because I am a busy stay at home mom of four, making finding time to ride can be tricky, but worth it. On my bike, I find that I am not too keen in going fast. Pushing myself to use speed as a friend to carry me over root gardens and over rocky terrain has been a challenge for me, but I am getting the hang of it.
Biggest “Ah -HA” Moment: Getting my bike dialed in to fit my body specifically has been a long journey that has paid off. The first steep climb I made was a major victory.
If I could ride anywhere I’d ride: Mulberry Gap in Ellijay, Ga ha been on my radar for some time, and I would love to spend some time there.
Favorite Accessory: I have had a hard time finding a saddle that was comfortable and fit me perfectly. I found my Bontrager Yatra Comp saddle paired with a dropper post has been a game changer.
My Tips for new riders: I would want new riders like myself to take as much time as you need to find the right bike in the right size for you. Demo a hundred bikes if you need to, and don’t settle. A great fit in a bike could make or break your passion for riding. You will never regret waiting for a bike that fits you well and makes riding fun-riding should be fun!
Favorite Post Ride Grub: My favorite thing to eat after a ride/race is a Burger and Fries from Burger Yum, a locally sourced burger joint. A hard cider wouldn’t hurt either.
I am not technically new to riding. Like most kids growing up in the 80’s, I had a bike. And I rode that bike because walking around our small neighborhood took too long. I never rode anything fancy or expensive, but I rode, and I rode all through out my childhood, and into middle and high school.
I didn’t sit on a another bike till about four years ago. My husband and I decided to demo some bikes from a local shop and ride some beautiful trails in Northern PA. It was amazing.
We were hooked.
Que baby number four. My dreams of riding were put on hold.
Some months later, when my baby girl was about 8 months old, we bought matching Trek Staches. We soon hit some local trails and it was terrible. Lets be honest, after birthing four babies over a decade, my body was less than in awesome shape and loose ligaments and a wack equilibrium made the ride pretty rough. The bike wasn’t right for me, and I could feel it. I fell of my bike, hit trees, and cried by the end of the trip. This was supposed to be me getting back in the saddle-figuratively and literally and it sucked. It left a bad taste in my mouth and I laid the ideas of riding down.
The idea of riding popped up last year when Rusty entered the world of Enduro racing and we lf entered the community of cycling. I was in love. What a great group of people; encouraging, fun, happy, just down right genuine human beings who all shared a love of riding. We quickly discovered XC racing. This felt more my speed, literally. My daughter caught wind and together my husband and daughter raced in the first XC race of the year together. It was so amazing. I was one proud wife and momma. Then, something switched back on inside of my mind and heart-I think I want to do this. “Can I do this?” turned into, “Im going to do this! “
To let you in on my life a little bit, my kids are 10, 6, 4 and 2. I am super busy, we homeschool and my days are very full. I couldn’t shake the idea of me on two wheels. I introduced the idea to my husband and he was beyond excited and we began researching which bike would be the best bike for me.
I wish I would have done that level of research before I hopped on the Stache those years ago. But this time, I researched, watched bike reviews online. I really leaned into my husbands copious amount of bike knowledge and partnered with our local bike shop and demoed bikes-all brands, shapes and sizes.
After months of research and demoing, I settled on a bike that I loved. I waited over two months for my Santa Cruz Chameleon to arrive in our bike shop.
When I sat on my Santa Cruz, it felt like all the stars aligned.
It couldn’t have come at a better time because 12 hours after I picked it up, I was driving with Rusty to my first XC race. I was not only new to this sport, but I hadn’t ridden anything other than our fitness bike in years and here I was- a joey to the sport and I somehow had enough courage to show up and race. I haven’t done anything even remotely daring in a decade, mind you. Showing up was definitely half the battle, and the race was thee hardest thing I think I have ever done. I have birthed babies in my living room, and somehow the 7 mile race, with 750 ft of elevation pushed me physically and mentally to a place I have never been. I finished that race. It may have taken me an hour and 22 minutes-but I felt AMAZING!
A certain level of euphoria sweeps over your tired, sweaty body in a victorious moment like that.
I placed second and it lit a fire and passion in me that I have been fanning ever since. I went on to race a again, and placed third. I feel like its the start of an amazing journey.
My date nights with Rusty and weekends with the family are now filled with trail riding and training.
My body has never been more sore, but my heart is so much fuller.
It isn’t even about placing, and if I DNF (did not finish) thats ok, because showing up and having fun in this cycling community has been amazing for our family and myself. When I am on bike-I am Mia. Not wife, mom, daughter or any other role-just me. This sport has given me freedom to pour my passion into something for myself. It’s a double bonus that when I ride, my heart is full, and I become a better version of myself. Biking has morphed into a full family sport. We spend most of our days riding and racing together and I couldn’t be happier. I look forward to learning and riding as much as this busy stay at home-schooling mama can handle.
Until next time, Ride and be kind! Mia Fuller, Harrisburg, PA.
As always, if you have any questions, concerns, or would like to join our team, feel free to comment below or shoot us a message!