Advice from a professional enduro mountain bike racer on how to get into enduro racing, 1 of 2.
Hey Cindy, what’s your background and how did you get into mountain biking?
I’ve been an athlete for as long as I can remember.
I started playing soccer at 3 and eventually played at an SEC university so high-level athletics and the ability to push myself has always been in my DNA. I also started rock climbing in high school as cross-training for soccer and that began a passion for adventure sports, so naturally mountain biking followed.
Before being a professional enduro athlete I raced UCI XC and won a USA cycling national championship. I’ve always loved the challenge of physical pain, and the ability to push past it which is one of the reasons why I love athletic competition.
Because it is so fun! It’s the most fun I can possibly have while competing in any sport, even more fun than my first love of soccer. I love the low-stress race environment, 9am start times, racing against the clock and not a pack of rabid humans in Lycra (which is totally fine I was one of them too).
I’ve always been a very technical and daring mountain bike rider and racer so when enduro came to the US, I was well-prepared and more than ready for that style of racing. Even though I’m a little bit of a masochist, XC was just awful and I’m so happy to have such a rad, strong enduro scene here in Texas.
What would you like to see change in the enduro world?
I would love to see more ladies get involved!
It is such a great way to race, and even if you aren’t into racing, the style of enduro riding is so fun and welcoming! I mean, who wouldn’t want to ride flow trail for miles without pedaling? Although it might seem a bit intimidating at first there are trails for every rider and ability level so there is plenty of opportunity to progress and grow in the sport.
How do you get ready for racing?
Honestly, to prepare for the big continental and international Enduro World Series races, I just ride our Central Texas trails, and I ride them a lot. Usually I’ll ride in the 100+ degree heat and humidity after working in the heat for 8 hours a day, which is basically like training at elevation.
Our trails here in Austin, TX and the hill country are some of the most technical in North America. I have yet to ride or race a trail that has scared me as much as the stuff I ride on a daily basis on my home trails. If you can ride here, you can virtually ride anywhere.
What’s your favorite trail system?
Ooh, I’d have to say it’s a toss-up between Post Canyon in Hood River Oregon, Tiger Mountain in Seattle, Snowshoe in West Virginia, Mount Lemmon in Arizona, and of course our super-secret trails here in the Texas Hill country.
Cindy has been a professional mountain bike instructor for 5 years with the Bicycle Instructor Certification Program (BICP) and has worked with a variety of Texans to improve their mountain bike skills, mental toughness, and wheelies for over a decade. Reach out to her for lessons:
Super Fly Outdoors, Cindy Abbott