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I Took 3rd Place in My First Mountain Bike Race...Out of 3 People ;)

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

I literally lost the race in the first 20 seconds. As we lined up, I saw two others (ones on the podium with me) who were all in their race gear and ready to go. They mentioned it was just the 3 of us and we would all be on the podium after. They also mentioned that they don’t push or shove and that was going to be fun. We lined up to the dirt line, buzzer sounds and boom. Literally they took off like bats out of hell and I was there to eat their dust.

I got back into mountain biking this past October after over 10 years off the bike. 10 years ago, I was in a bike club up in Phoenixville that I would drive to from my apartment in Devon pretty much every Saturday or Sunday to ride with the group. It was mainly road bikes and I had learned a ton from my mentor. It was a pretty active group with over 40 riders and my mentor would sit back and coach me through how to ride this road bike and attack different parts of the road. When it got cold out, I decided to try mountain biking with the group as well (If I had that old bike now, I probably would die on the trails). I had a ton of fun learning from these guys who were all former semi-pro or pro riders. But, after I moved from Devon down to Wilmington, I slowly stopped riding my bike after a triathlon and that was that for the next 10 years.

I’m not sure exactly what it was, but this past fall there was a day that I remember thinking, I should get back out on the trails one day (besides hiking). I know I was hiking with Spencer one day and realized we weren’t covering much ground and I wanted to see more. I also wanted to give myself a reason to get back outside during the winter months to keep getting fresh air. Hiking is great and I still enjoy it, but I needed something else as well. Within a couple of weeks, my mind was made up and I knew I needed to get a bike.

When I decided to get back into mountain biking, my main goal was to enjoy nature and time in the woods and keep it as fun and the one thing where there was no competition involved. Well, 9 months later and a special thanks to Brian M. (who signed me up for my first mountain bike race), everything has shifted. Plus, after my amazing performance (HAHA), I now want to do this race again next year and shave time off of this year. So much for not wanting this to be a competitive thing.

Within the first 20 seconds of knowing there was no shot I was going to catch the two in front of me, I had to compete against myself. The goal was to attack/go over every tree branch/obstacle in my way and attack it with confidence instead of jumping off and walking my bike over. Mission accomplished! Previously, when I was riding the race course (Iron Hill, Newark, DE) I had jumped off in fear when I saw some of these bigger tree branches/rocks/obstacles. On top of losing the race in the first 20 seconds, I was about 10–15 minutes in and I started hearing other riders that started after me, creeping closer and closer. I decided to let them pass and for just a couple of seconds I may have wanted to cry. But, I had to re-focus and re-think how this was my first time ever racing with absolutely no clue what I was doing and I had to focus my attention back to enjoying the process, time in the woods and conquering some of these obstacles that I previously had not. Plus, a goal of not crashing and being able to walk into the gym on Monday without any cuts, blood, or broken bones.

After completing the race, it was time to announce the top 3 from each division. When it came to mine, I definitely didn’t want to go stand up on the podium as I didn’t feel like I deserved it. But, with some encouragement, Brian M. and Renee told me to get up there so they could get a picture and I did. So, after my very first mountain bike race, I came in 3rd place...out of 3!

For anyone who doesn't mountain bike/hike, make sure you have joined our ANCHOR Outdoor Adventure Group on Facebook so we can go out and ride together. Hikes have already happened a few times this year and more will be happening in the near future. Also, I would love to have a few more join us for this Iron Hill Challenge race next year! It would be tons of fun to get a group together for this! So, any mountain bikers, let me know who you are and let’s get out there!

Until next time,

Go spend some time in the woods,


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