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For a long time, I have been promising myself to try mountain biking one day. I used to jokingly say the only reason I hadn’t tried it yet was because I was afraid I would have to buy myself a new bike. So, after filling our bellies at the restaurant Gaïa, renowned for its delicious vegan cuisine, we were finally ready to discover this new sport, mountain biking.
We were warmly welcomed by Nicolas Legault, director of the Centre national de cyclisme de Bromont. What I first noticed was that there was quite a difference in our appearance; My boyfriend and I are more used to road cycling and Nicolas had the attire of a highly experienced mountain biker. This made me laugh! I felt as if I had just landed on another planet! Then, there’s the bike they lent me! I felt as if I was at the helm of a boat! My comfort zone was well behind me, I now had to demystify little by little, this new discipline I was about to try.
We were clearly not the first newbies to be initiated by the CNCB. Nicolas made us feel confident by having us benefit from his experience and by having us evolve gradually, step by step. First, we got used to riding our machines by cycling in a straight line. Then, we tried different paths to integrate the notions of going uphill and down and how to transfer our weight. It was very useful and comforting to progress slowly but surely towards the next step.
After about an hour of learning different things, we went to the beginner trails behind the CNCB to become more familiar with the different obstacles we’ll have to face: roots, rocks and mud; all elements I’m not used to finding on my cycling routes! When Nicolas evaluated that we were ready, we headed out to Mount Oak at a few kilometres from the centre. There, we could put into practice what he had taught us. The uphill runs tested our leg muscles; It’s not as easy as it seems, especially when you’re more used to riding a 14-pound bike! It truly helped me to digest my fauxmage/lavender cake.
Regardless, I must say that, just like with trail running, the fun part is going downhill; Both coordination and technical precision are essential. Of course, it goes without saying that at first, your concentration is absolutely necessary. I suppose that our reflexes develop eventually! But, how can I describe the feeling of freedom we feel as we ride along the trails? The impact of nature is total!
After 21 kilometres of exercise, we headed to Les Brasseurs de Shefford microbrewery for a well-deserved brew. The perfect complement for this grueling but oh, so satisfying day!
Photo credit : Ian Roberge