Updated: Jun 5, 2022
My plan when I got pregnant was to ride as long as I felt safe and was enjoying it. As it turned out neither of those would be the reason I got to about 20 weeks pregnant and quit.
It’s very hard being in a constantly changing body that doesn’t looks or feel like your pre pregnancy body. By the time I was 20 weeks, I couldn’t cope with it anymore. I felt enormous when I looked in the mirror at myself wearing my husbands XL cycling kit. I was so demoralized by my ability to climb hills on the bike. I felt embarrassed by how slow I was and how big I thought I looked. So I quit. I told my husband I was done mountain biking until after the baby was born and texted one of my regular cycling buddies and told her I was out. She didn’t need to invite me on mountain bike rides anymore.
Thankfully this only lasted about 6 weeks before a really nice spring day made me venture out on my own. I wasn’t with anyone, so I could be slow and in my mind look ridiculously big, and no one could see me. I’d just be able to enjoy the nice weather, and the absolute joy and solace of the trails. After a 45 minute ride I returned home the happiest and most relaxed I’d been in months. Pregnancy is hard and exhausting, and on top of that I’d removed the thing that made me feel the most human. That day I got over all of my silly reasons not to ride. No one I ever ride with would ever judge me for how I look, or how fast or slow I am. So why in the world had I stopped doing the one thing that kept me sane in the time in my life were I needed it most?
As I write this I’m eight and a half months pregnant. I’m riding two or three times a week on easy trails, at a steady pace. I ride with the women on my team, Syracuse Bicycle Women’s Race Team or my husband. We chat, we laugh, we session things and just ride for the joy of it. It turns out pregnancy may have reminded me that my love for mountain biking was nothing to do with how fast or far I can ride, or whether I can podium at big races. I’m reminded to be grateful that my body is capable of such cool things. I can only hope our baby shares our love for being outside and going on great adventures.