We first met Karen at the Big Mountain Enduro at Crested Butte last summer. Her infectious attitude and strong riding made an impression for sure. Seeing her shred the trails on her mountain bike, and then be super chill at the finish line made me want to race more. She embodies what we at Beti AllRide love about riding our bikes, and we couldn't have been happier that she chose to join us at Angel Fire!
We caught up with Karen after the clinic. This is what she had to say.
What have been your greatest challenges with mountain biking?
There have been plenty of physical challenges, but I’d say that my biggest challenges have all been with the mind. One of the hardest things I find is not letting a bad crash get to me. Staying focused is another big one – concentrating on what’s right in front of me instead of worrying about something a mile down the trail or letting my mind wander.
Why did you decide to take a skills clinic?
I’ve been mountain biking for over a decade, and for years I was perfectly happy to just ride and not push things too hard. On a whim, I did my first enduro race in 2012 and had so much fun that I committed to the entire Big Mountain Enduro race series last year. Racing forced me out of my comfort zone, and I saw myself improve more in one summer than I had in the past 5 years, which was incredibly rewarding. Looking ahead to this summer, I wanted to keep working on my technical skills and thought a clinic would be a great way to step up my training.
How was your experience at the Beti AllRide Clinic in Angel Fire?
I read something the other day that said, “I just wanna go on more adventures. Be around good vibes. Connect with people. Learn new things. Grow.” I don’t think I could put it any better than that. It was a really great experience, and I'm so happy that I did the clinic. All of the extra events outside the riding like yoga and happy hour made it feel like a full-blown vacation.
Were you able to overcome any fears or master new skills?
Yes! There are three things that really stand out. Angel Fire has a drop zone with wood features that get progressively bigger. The largest one was visually very intimidating to me, but I was dropping it with no fear by the end of the first day. Another thing we worked on was line selection. I did a race at Angel Fire last summer, and there was one place I had gotten off my bike because I couldn’t get over a particular rock without bashing my chain ring. My coach showed me a different line, and I was stoked to finally get a clean run through that section. The last, and most unexpected, thing I learned was how to tail whip and manual the tabletop jumps. That definitely won me some style points.
What's your favorite trail?
Doctor Park in Crested Butte has been a long-time favorite. I like to link it up with Reno-Flag-Bear and Deadman Gulch for a big backcountry day. Closer to my home in Santa Fe, Rio en Medio is my new favorite. It’s a burly trail with a lot of chunky rock gardens and steep switchbacks.
Thanks, Karen! Congratulations on your Pro Podium in the Angel Fire Enduro last weekend! We hope you keep progressing and pushing the sport through your racing!