Swscd profile image


May 18, 2019

Mountain bike racing: From the perspective of a newbie

For beginner mountain bike rider Beverley Sheremeto, riding in last year's Pulse Racing's Inaugural Women's 4-Hour Relay was an amazing experience for her.  A chance to get a taste for mountain bike racing on her own terms, at an awesome venue that Hardwood Ski and Bike provides while surrounded by a super supportive community of riders.  SeeWhatSheCanDo had a chance to sit down with Bev a couple of days after the race to get her take on her race experience and what she'd recommend to other women who might be contemplating jumping into the world of mountain bike racing.

Q:  Before we chat about your racing experience, can you tell us a little bit about how you got started in mountain biking?

A:  Last summer I took a Learn to Ride course through Hardwood Ski and Bike and it was great for a couple of reasons.  You could rent a bike and give it a go without the need for a significant upfront investment in any equipment.  Once on the trails, the course taught you how to use the gears on the bike and how to position yourself on the bike as you ride on the trail.  We also did small obstacles and went out on the trails together and learned to get an idea of gearing up and down and managing up and down on trails and corners.  Taking the course really help build the confidence and a sense of competence I needed to really jump into learning the sport of mountain biking and move beyond just riding on general recreational bike paths.   Even before taking the course, I had also headed to Hardwood on my own, rented a bike and got out on the trails to become familiar with the sport. 

Q:  What made you finally decide to jump into the sport fully and buy your own mountain bike?

A:  I just decided that if I was going to mountain bike on a regular basis, it had to be on my own terms and that meant buying my own bike.  So I went out that fall and bought myself a Trek bike.  

Q:  How have your mountain biking experiences progressed prior to riding in the Women's 4-Hour Relay?

A:  It's gone well.  I have spent time heading out on to the Hardwood trails on my own and I also joined the Simcoe County Mountain Bike Club (SCMBC).  By joining the SCMBC, it's given me access to their trails found in Simcoe County Forest Trails as well as the Bass Lake Trails.  It's also given me a chance to give back and help with the SCMBC's efforts to build new trails.  

Q:  Now that you've completed your first race, what did you think of the whole experience racing in Pulse Racing's Women's 4-Hour Relay?

A:  It was a great experience for me.  It was really well run and it provided a couple of different trail loops that I could choose to ride.  For me, mountain biking is time spent with myself and time I take for me.  So when I decided to enter the 4-Hour Relay, I entered in the Solo category as opposed to the team category.  But even though I was riding solo, everyone involved with the race made me feel really welcome and included.  It was a great introduction to racing without it being super stressful or super competitive. 


Q:  What were your goals going into the race?  What were hoping to accomplish?  

A:  Given I was riding in the solo category, it was about deciding how many rounds I thought I could complete in the 4-hour period.  I decided my goal would be 5 rounds.  Because they offered two courses with differing technical difficulty, I started out on the easier (less technical) course and once I felt like I was in a good spot, I gave myself the chance to give the more challenging course a try.  And, I found that once I did the more difficult course a couple of times, I got more comfortable and it allowed me to push myself to try the more difficult features of the course as opposed to always taking the out or go around.  

Q:  So how did things work out for you?

A:  Things worked out really well.  I was actually able to complete 8 rounds in the four hours so I was definitely pleased with my actual results.

Q:  That's amazing.  Well done.  What other takeaways did you learn that you would want to share about racing in general or the Women's 4-Hour Relay itself?  

A:  The thing I liked about the Women's 4-Hour Relay format is that it introduced me to racing in a way that I could set my own pace without holding anyone up and I felt comfortable competing and being apart of everything.  I definitely had a good sense of belonging.  I also wasn’t sure what to expect so I definitely didn’t want to hold anyone up or interfer in anyone else’s race.  Also, for the women who wanted to be more competitive you could, but, for those who wanted to just push themselves, you could do that too.  Both groups of racers were very supportive of each other and blended well.  Definitely lots of good sportsmanship and encouragement happening.  I think this is what made the event so successful. 

Q:  Would you do anything different the next time you do the Women's 4 Hour Relay race?

A:  No.  I wouldn’t do anything different.  I was pretty pleased with my outcome.  I just focused on taking one loop at a time, took breaks after each loop and then I got back on my bike.  This approach enabled me to ride all four hours.

Q:  Would you consider doing more mountain bike racing in the future?

A:  Definitely.  I think I would find it helpful to take a couple of courses that specifically address racing.  For example, courses that help you to learn more about gearing up hill or that focus specfically on the in’s and outs of racing.  Also, it would be great to cover topics that help you prepare technically, physically, and nutritionally leading up to a race and teach you how to take care of yourself after the race.

Q:  What would you recommend to other women who are either thinking of mountain biking for the first time or who are already mountain biking, but haven't yet made the jump to racing?

A:  First and foremost, set your own goals and your own pace.  It's also definitely important to take an introductory course to help you get aware and familiar with the gears and to get the chance to go out on a course with the instructor.  In terms of racing, I would recommend you try not to overextend yourself and work within your own limits.  If you think you need to get off and walk, then allow yourself to do it.  But don’t forget to get back on the bike.


Think your ready to give mountain bike racing a go?  Head here to get more details on the upcoming 2019 Pulse Racing Women's 4 Hour Relay happening Saturday June 1st at Hardwood Ski and Bike.  #seewhatshecando 


Find Hardwood Ski & Ride and Pulse Racing Inc. in our Athlete Advisor, your online athletic business directory. Find, rate and review cycling programs, local community offerings and businesses that will help you do your thing.  

Need a place to coordinate and connect with local cyclists?  Find or start a cycling group on our SWSCD Hub.

Look for advice, stories, news and more on our Cycling activity page.  

Have your own great memory or moment you experienced on your bike?  Share your highlights directly on our Discover blog or by using #seewhatshecando on social media and inspire others to give all types of cycling a try.

Gallery:  More great moments from the 2018 Women's 4 Hour Relay


Connecting you to active women, local groups, events, businesses and more.

Choose your location


Don't use my location, default to Toronto, ON.