Balancing Being a Mountain Biker and a Mom

how to balance being a mom and a mountain biker

As a single mom of three young daughters who loves to ride my mountain bike as much as I do, I have to be well-balanced and organized to make it happen. It’s tough to accomplish everything on any given day, let alone have the aggressive goal of mountain biking on actual mountains several times a week to stay happy, healthy, and balanced. For a long time, when I was having my babies at the ages of 30 to 34 and 36, I probably could count the small number of town times I got to get out and go mountain biking, and it was probably only about five or six times at the most, and that was over seven years. You could say what happened to you? Now you’re riding 3 to 5 days a week. What the heck? But you say back then I didn’t have the same type of support and community and knowledge that I do today about what gear to invest in, where to ride, when to ride, including avoiding making up to much of the trailers in the winter, etc. this is a whole balance of art and science, during the years that I was having my children and pregnant and nursing for seven years in a row, my body was not my own. I had to get my body and mine back to the place it was before, and I wish someone had told me to get back on my bike more often because I loved it more than anything and still do today. So do your audience; this is the message I’m telling you today find your bike, whether it’s a real bike or a metaphor for other passions in your life. You have to find your bike and don’t put it away. When you do that, you put yourself away; when you do that, you’re not as good to others or yourself as a partner, friend, worker, mother, or father.

Be Balanced

Balancing being a mom and a mountain biker who wants to ride nearly every day and make sure I don’t miss a beat with my kids, nurturing, and activities, I have to stick to a schedule that balances my mind-body fitness every day. From the moment I wake up in the morning to the time that I go to bed at night, I’m focused on how I’m going to ride, when I’m going to ride, how long I’m going to ride and where I’m going to ride and who I’m going to ride with whether that be a race that’s going to happen on the weekend or just a social or team ride. For example, today I’m going to go out and ride with my friend Harley on her E-bike, and we’ve got a plan, so I’ve got only a few hours to make it happen. What am I going to do to make it happen? Well, I’m going to make sure that everything on my schedule needs to be done today ahead of time and in priority order so that I can ride peacefully with her and push everything aside and not let it get in my way of having a great ride, being relaxed, and doing my best, as it is an incredibly demanding sport. Especially if you’re chasing a fast girl on a bike. And it’s a brand new specialized E-bike. Anyway, get to the ride today at the Trail by 2 PM. I have to work backward.

Plan your ride

I have to work from the start time of 2 o’clock and calculate that it takes me one hour to bathe and gear up, including getting my food and water ready. My Camelbak and bike clean time bring about 30 minutes to 45 minutes to clean and prep my bike correctly, getting all the mud out, checking the tire pressure, preventing the gears and alignment, and oiling the chain. I recommend you get a chain measurement tool to measure the length of your chain to ensure that it’s not too stretched out and will not break or have issues when switching gears. They’re not too expensive, and you can get them at most bike shops, even Sports Authority. 

Have a ride checklist so you remember essential things specific to the type of rides you are doing.

Get the Gear You Need. Make sure your gear is clean and ready to wear. For example, if you don’t have time to wash your bag every night and it’s not great to put it in the dryer anyway, you can always wash it quickly in your sink or on the speed cycle on your wash and then leave it out in the sun or air it out to dry the night before. Also, have lots of extra socks, shams, and shirts so that when your favorite gear is 30, you have something else to back it up. 

Prep your food and hydration

Make sure you eat a solid breakfast, like oatmeal with blueberries and a protein shake.  I tend to be hungry all the time and burn calories fast, so I have to eat a protein bar like a cliff meant to bar the night before, so they don’t wake up in the middle of the night or morning. Then, starving, I drink a glass of milk with that. It’s like my milk and cookies.  I eat about  100 to 200 cal an hour when I’m not on my bike, and when I’m on my bike, I eat about 200 to 400 cal in an hour. 

Are use the blender bottle with a handheld blender to make my daily vanilla protein shakes. I still have to blend the bottle with water and half with milk and add one banana and one scoop of protein powder. I drink the protein shake one hour before my ride so that my time hunting my body has time to  digest it properly and create energy from it to power me on my ride. 

Another thing I’ve been experimenting with this month is placing my riding food right at the top of my knee guards at the Velcro straps. I can quickly grab the food without reaching into my pockets, attach my food to my bike, or invest another piece of equipment like a bike bag on top of my handlebars.

 I tend to have two butter bottles of water on my cages on my bike plus my Camelback if I’m going to be doing a longer ride, like 15 to 20 miles, or  if it’s just hot out and you need extra water, I drink about a gallon an hour. 

 As I mentioned in my last article about the Granite Bay race, whether it’s race day or a regular social ride, I like to put lots of ice in my Camelbak so that I have excellent I see cool water to drink when I’m super thirsty, and it feels so good.I also keep one regular water in my bottle, cage, and one with either a Gatorade or a splash of me a fit in the water, both with ice. You will have to decide about the ice. It’s entirely up to you. But I’m all about the “Ice, ice, baby! “

Prep your body and your mind

Prep your body and mind for a great ride by making sure your body is pain-free as much as possible and conditioned and stretched out so that you feel you can do your best when you hit the Trail. If you don’t stretch out, your legs won’t be as flexible and robust and work out any kinks that you may have had from the previous day, which I do today. A pro tip of mine is that I always stretch out at 9 AM and do yoga and Pilates before I go to bed, and then in the morning, I take a 12:30 hour bath every day, yes, every day, and I use that hot water to stretch out even more so that I am doing my best at the age of 47, yes I’m 47. Still, I feel like I’m going on ten years old every day when I’m out there on my bike. When you find a passion you love, you’ll stay young and fit forever, maybe not, but for a very long time, longer than most. I can’t believe the ages of the people I’ve met in the mountain biking community; I thought that they were 10 to 15 years younger than they were in the same for me. I think it’s crazy how much younger I feel because of mountain biking. I still can’t believe when people find out I’m 47, they typically respond with, “I didn’t think you were that old. I thought you were in your mid-thirties!” So yes, I thank mountain biking for being my fountain of youth. All the more reason to find ways of keeping my bike life balanced with consistent daily routines and unrelenting love and passion for the sport. 

As part of prepping, I also recommend that your body and mind check the logistics to give you peace of mind that whoever you’re riding with can be there at the time you specified, or if you need to change it, you won’t be stressed out or late. Regarding being on time, if you’re on time, you’re late because you will need at  least 10 to 15 minutes to park your car and unload your bike in gear. Get your helmet and gloves start  your cycle, computer and heart, a monitor device, and have some time to socialize with your friends when you get to the right site! Let’s face it that can be the most fun part of any ride is the start, middle, and end when you’re hanging out with people you love.

A few more points on the value of this yoga bath every day are that I also gain a tremendous amount of calm and meditation by having that spa time in the bath every day so that I’m the best mom I can be in staying balanced on and off the Trail. I always put on some relaxing or favorite music lately. I’ve been listening to a lot of London grammar. Check her out if you get a chance. Also, I make sure that I have lots of spa products such as revolution, glow toner, micellar water, Neutrogena, gentle face wash scrubs, and exfoliants; I also make sure that I always have my coffee and a Venti size ice water that I drink every morning along with my coffee so that my muscles are not dehydrated when I start stretching out if you go right into stretching out your muscles you might pull or strain something if you’re not hydrated like with any sport. And my bath routine is like a fool. I don’t know how many calories I burn, but it’s probably a couple. It also keeps my skin healthy and young so that I feel more confident in radiant out there cause you know I’m taking many pictures on the Trail! Have you seen my Instagram lately? Lol.

Looking back on the trailer behind me in the past, I remember looking back at a picture of myself at the top of Buick Meadow in Annadel State Park. At the time, I didn’t know I was six weeks pregnant. A couple of weeks later, I attempted to do the Dirt Crits XC Race series put on by the Bike Peddler in Santa Rosa at Howard Park for the first time and boil it. Was that stupid? I was pregnant and did not know how to race or compete in any mountain biking race, as that was my first one. This was back in 2009 when I was pregnant with my second daughter Camryn. I felt sick after the race and decided to take a pregnancy test. Having felt that same feeling before with my first daughter, I knew I was pregnant. From that time to pretty much 2015 when I was pregnant with my second daughter Camryn, I felt sick after the race and decided to take a pregnancy test. Having felt that same feeling before with my first daughter, I knew I was pregnant. From that time to 2019, I didn’t take my passion seriously. I want you to take your passion seriously and not dedicate the time, love and energy, gear, resources, and partners you need to make it happen and reach your goals. Whatever they are, even if it means just getting on your bike or your metaphorical bike at a minimum of one to two times a week to make you the happiest person in the healthiest person you can be for yourself and the world.

For anyone trying to get into mountain biking or just wants easier ways of keeping it a consistent part of their life, these recommendations are not limited to those moms with kids; it’s everyone who’s already or is about to fall in love with this incredible lifestyle.