Amanda Hall, Outreach
Who are you; family, where you grew up, what you do when you’re not riding?
A native to Addison county, I live in Salisbury with my three children. I work as a cosmetic chemist for a local luxury all natural skin care brand. Aside from the obvious, I also enjoy hiking, snowshoeing, skiing and DIY home projects.
What is your favorite trail/place to ride in Addison county?
I will always be most fond of Battel woods where I taught myself trail technique, referring to it as “my playground”. Battel offers both novice and intermediate trails that are perfect for an hour of stress release and confidence building. My most favorite place to ride in Addison county is closer to home though. I love grunting up the access trail to silver lake on my single speed for a quick dip in the lake during the summer and the occasional tour down Leicester Hollow.
How long have you been mountain biking?
Aside from riding a department store mountain bike as a commuter when I was a teenager, I’d never taken to trails until the spring of 2013. A friend of mine, a serious rider and racer suggested I get a bike and learn the ropes. I took to craigslist and talked a college student down from 180$ to 140$ on a Trek 2500. I had no idea what I was looking for, but the guy was about the same size as me so I figured it likely fit.
A four-mile road ride nearly killed me between my lack of muscle mass and inability to understand the nature of shifting gears. It wasn’t long after that I took to some trails and tried to ride like a pro and went over my handlebars. I fell a lot (and still do) but once I got the hang of not braking in front of every root and rock I discovered how gratifying mastering the skill was.
How often do you ride?
During the summer, I mix up my riding with my road bike. I love taking a quick 45 minute ride around lake Dunmore after work, or climbing up to Silver lake. I’d like to say I ride about 3 times a week but Strava might say otherwise
Do you race?
I took to racing my very first year, and set out to race the VT50 on the Trek 2500 that I’d butchered into a single speed. Prior to the Vermont 50 I got some practice at the Pine Hill park “Droopy Pedal” series, a 6-hour race on GMT, another in Grafton and a 25 miler in Wampatuck State Park in MA.
I kept the racing up pretty well but had a few fallbacks and this year only participated in my annual commitment at the VT50.
What do you ride and/or how many bikes do you own?
My favorite Bike is my 2011 Raleigh XXIX 29er single speed with a Gates belt drive. Having only one gear takes all the guesswork out shifting and allows for me to be in complete control of my body and bike position, pedal tension and most importantly focus. For days when I’m not trying to push myself I ride my Fuji Outland 29er RC Dual Suspension bike. I also have a Surly Pugsley Fat bike and a Scott 2300 Cross bike.
What inspired you to mtn bike?
Shortly into riding I watched the movie “Ride the Divide”. Watching the racers endure the challenging conditions, extreme elevation, terrain and weather, pushing on day after day with blisters on top of blisters while struggling with the emotional hayride associated with the many miles left to defeat. While I’ll never put myself through this much to ride I find it very inspiring at how deep we are all capable of digging to reach our goals.
What gets you through that hard ride?
I like to tell myself “It’s only temporary”
What do you hope to contribute as a member of ACBC?
It’s no secret that mountain biking is a male dominant sport, however women have become increasingly interested as are today’s youth. My goal with ACBC is to advocate for both adolescents and women to become more confident riders. I hope to join forces with area programs to create clinics, group rides and camps.
Share a cool, funny or bizarre story you had while riding.
It’s not uncommon for me to fall when I’m riding, in fact to not fall would be an anomaly. While riding on Ascutney Mountain one warm afternoon with a friend we rounded a bouldered corner and met another couple coming in the opposite direction. We paused for a quick chat about the weather and riding conditions and proceeded to head back down the mountainside. My friend was already a good 100 yards ahead of me while I struggled with getting my feet back on my pedals ready to maneuver a narrow rock garden along the ledge. As I began to move forward I lost my balance and instinctively put my left foot to the ground to regain my balance. Unfortunately, there wasn’t ground to the left of me and instead I found myself falling over sideways. I reached for a small tree to hold me back, but instead in only pivoted me in the perfect position to fall backwards down the embankment. I expected to tumble through fallen sticks and land in a pile of leaves like I had so many times previously, I expected to have shed some skin along the way and I expected to jump up like usual and yell “I’m okay” like I always do. Only this time it seemed that as soon as I realized I wasn’t saving my fall; I had already landed. Not the kind of land where I gracefully skidded through a layer of leaves and gentle forest floor, but the kind where nothing moved when my body hit. A split second later, my bike landed on top of me. I remember yelling in pain once and just once and when I tried to kick my bike off from me I realized that this wasn’t at all like previous falls. It took a good five minutes from when I landed tailbone first on the giant protruding rock to get myself and my bike back on the trail.
After a short walk along the trail with my bike I came upon my friend, camera ready just past a bridge where he was hoping to catch an action shot of me. (He instead captured the most pouty face I’d ever seen) It hurt to walk my bike so I ended up back on it (sans saddle) and we gently rode our bikes down the mountain for a few miles back to my car.
For the remainder of the day I kept telling myself it was just a bad fall and was expecting it to feel better soon. That night I succumbed to my injury and decided to have it checked out. After a few x-rays I learned what I had feared most……I had broken my tailbone.