Monday, February 26, 2007

How It All Got Started

I have been a die-hard cyclist since 1997. I took up the sport when I moved to Steamboat Springs, CO to take a job managing an art gallery. It seemed like everyone in Steamboat had a mountain bike, so in effort to shed my “new girl from California” image, I bought one and was instantly hooked. The riding in Steamboat is nothing short of amazing, so the actual act of becoming addicted to mountain biking wasn’t all that hard. I liken it to a junkie needing that fix.

When I moved back to California about a year later, I took up cross-country racing after attending the “Women’s Only Weekend” mountain bike skills clinic held annually in Big Bear, CA. I continued to train and hone my skills, eventually finding that my true talents were on the downhill and technical trails sections, so I took up downhill racing. I raced downhill for several years; my “career” highlights include numerous local and NORBA National Series wins and podiums, 2001 #1 ranked Expert female in the USA, 2-time US National Team Member to UCI Master’s World Championships, and I held a pro license in 2002. I have also held top-ten National Age Group BMX rankings in both cruiser and 20”.

Nowadays, I still race occasionally but I much prefer to ride just for the joy of riding. I guess after 8 years of training and racing, my desire to compete is just plain worn out. I enjoy “giving back” to the sport wherever I can; in fact, I have been a volunteer instructor at Big Bear’s Women’s Only Weekend for the past 7 consecutive years.

The past 10 years have been a great ride (no pun intended…OK maybe just a little bit). Through cycling, I have met and had the opportunity to work with some truly amazing folks. Cyclist are just good people. I think some of my life’s highest highs and lowest lows have been in some way, shape, or form connected to this crazy cycling lifestyle that tends to mystify the outside world. Cycling has been a fuel for hobby and fitness, as well as been my source of income for several years. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. The good news is the ride ain’t over yet…I don’t plan to step off this section of trail until the day I step into my grave.

Happy trails, ya’ll.


Priscilla said...

Where can I get more information on this girls only weekend in Big Bear?

jill hamilton said...

Hi Priscilla,

Wow, ironic you should ask about this since I am getting ready to post a little blurb about it. Sadly WOW will not be happening this year. There was a real lack of attendance is 2006, so the promoters have decided to take a little break for a while. I'm so bummed!