Melanie at Snowbird
Big Mountain Trail, Snowbird, 2016

A couple of years ago while waiting for the tram at Snowbird, free-skier Jenn Berg, told me, “You are such an inspiration,” and I laughed. She followed up by saying that she was being serious – “You work full-time and have 2 kids, but you’re always making time to snowboard and bike. It’s women like you that keep me motivated.” I was so flattered and her words helped me realized that I am in a position to help spread the stoke to other women. If I can be an inspiration to someone as accomplished as Jenn, then I know I can inspire a lot of other women to make the time to get out and get rad!

I came late to mountain biking – partly because I didn’t have any female role models outside of the cross country racing scene and partly because a traditional XC bike didn’t fit the type of riding I wanted to do. I’m snowboarder, my girlfriends are snowboarders, my husband and kids are snowboarders – I wanted an experience on my bike that felt as cool as snowboarding! With the recent rise in popularity of enduro riding/racing and the introduction of 650b, long-travel trail bikes, I finally felt like I found “my people” and my skills and confidence have really progressed. Racing cross country isn’t the only way to excel on a bike anymore – it’s truly awesome that mountain biking has become so inclusive and so damn fun!

Although being a Mom and working full-time makes it difficult for me to commit to racing, I do have the time and the support to ride almost every day. I may be a weeknight and weekend warrior, but I can keep up with the best of them. Maybe it’s silly to mention my Strava downhill times, but I’m normally within seconds of some the fastest ladies here in Utah – both CX and Enduro racers. I’m not a pro and I don’t race, but I’m good enough that people notice me on the trail.

In addition to my own riding, I am currently serving as a volunteer ride guide for the Team Sugar ladies-only mountain bike rides in Park City, UT. Each Tuesday I meet riders who confess to their fear of riding downhill and by the end of the night, these same riders are beaming with pride and saying that because of me they now love downhill riding and that for the first time they made every switchback. I absolutely love these moments. Knowing that I helped another lady get excited about riding keeps me looking forward to the Tuesday night rides.

I love mountain biking. I love going fast. I love rocks and roots and drops and berms. I love challenging myself and scaring myself and learning new skills. I love the quiet inside my full face helmet. I love dirt on my face and scars on my knees. I love beating the boys down the hill. I love getting other women excited about riding. I love talking bike parts with the guys in the shop. I love setting PRs on Strava. I love bike trips and new trails and new adventures. And I would love to be a brand ambassador, so please reach out if you are interested in having me represent your bike on the trail!