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I’m super excited to share another post from This Real Dad (aka my husband)!
Sports have always been a central part of my identity. Whether it’s mountain biking, soccer, lacrosse or kayaking, skiing remains my biggest passion. As time goes on and parenthood gets busier, it’s tougher to make time for sports the way I’d like to. That’s not to say I’m not active– my phone’s step counter would have you believe I’m a professional power-walker, not an architectural consultant! Most of those steps are taken while chasing my 3 boys around, or getting projects done around the house and yard. Sleep is one thing I don’t have much time for, so coffee has become part of my daily routine.
Rather than being satisfied with staying “active,” I need a more intense physical outlet. I discovered mountain biking (MTB) about 5 years ago. It wasn’t until last year that I really got hooked and now it’s a passion. Mountain biking is surprisingly similar to skiing. It combines all of the physical aspects– strength, agility, endurance. There’s also the mental side– making split-second decisions, anticipating things before they happen, visualizing a line before you take it.
Perhaps the one aspect of both sports I love the most, is the adrenaline rush they give you. I’m not into endurance sports like running or road biking. I need my speed compounded by the potential danger of crashing into a tree! That’s not to say that I’m reckless, especially now that I’m a father. It’s just that I need some extra excitement. I also love being outside, especially in the woods. There’s nothing like being in the wilderness, you just don’t get the same feeling in a gym or even on a bike path.
Everyone can ride a bike, and some people take their bike off-road, but MTB is more than that. It’s become an ideology, a culture. If hitting the mountain bike sounds like something you would love too, I put together some tips to get you on the trails:
Get the Right Gear
First, you need to get the gear. It wasn’t long before I realized I needed to upgrade my ride. The technology is ever evolving, and there are so many components that go into a mountain bike – 26.5” or 29” tires, dual suspension, how much travel on the shocks, what size hydraulic disc brakes? I try not to geek-out too much on all of that, mainly because I can only devote so much of my kids’ college fund to the hobby.
Find Places to Ride
Next, you need to find some places to ride. I’m lucky that Cape Cod has a fantastic network of trails, but most states have great single-track. I got involved with my local NEMBA chapter in order to meet people and find new places to ride, but there are tons of similar resources outside of New England. Singletracks provides a list of MTB clubs in the US and beyond.
You can also look up your local bike shop. A number of shops near me lead weekly group rides, which is great for everyone. They meet potential customers and we learn new trails, make new friends, and meet people who can teach us how to fix our bikes.
Make the Time to Ride
The last, and maybe most important step to a successful MTB hobby – making the time to ride! I love my job, but sometimes I struggle to get up early; especially when I work late at night. By the time I get home from work, wrestle my boys, and put them to bed, it’s hard summoning the energy to exercise.
I’ve never been one to shy away from caffeine later in the day, so I was psyched when my wife came home with SToK™ Cold-Brew Iced Coffee she bought at Walmart. In the warmer months I much prefer iced coffee to hot. We don’t all have the time to brew coffee and chill it over ice though. I’m always rushing to catch the train, or the evening group MTB rides. When I heard about iced coffee in the bottle, it was a no-brainer. I love the smooth taste of the SToK™ Un-Sweet Black. It gives me the energy I need without any sugar so I can switch on, hit the trails and focus (so I don’t hit any trees!)!
SToK™ iced coffee is cold brewed and slow-brewed (using an Arabica blend), giving it a bold taste. It’s strong and flavorful and perfect for powering through your day, sparking creativity, and inspiring you to get outside and be adventurous!
How do you bring adventure and creativity into YOUR daily life?