Coach Caroline Washam
why i ride
I cannot remember a time in my life that did not revolve around bikes. As a kid, I would stand on the side-lines and cheer on my dad as he competed in crits and road races. I would hear stories of my dad's trip across the country on two wheels and listen with wide eyes, thinking... I want to do that some day. When my brother started BMX racing when I was 10, it did not take me long to get off the bleachers and onto the track. I loved everything about racing: beating the guys (given nicknames like "The Intimidator" and "The Cannibal"); progressing with every practice and every race; learning to jump; and gaining a new BMX family. After racing BMX on a national level through high school, I discovered a new passion in downhill and dual slalom mountain biking in college. I continue to race DH, DS and enduro at the professional level.
But there is more to mountain biking than racing. I ride to enjoy food without worrying about the affects it may have on my backside. I ride to see new places; to get outside; to feel free. I ride to challenge myself; to push the limits of my own body and defeat the voices in my head that tell me I can't huck that rock.
why i coach
On Valentine's Day, 2013, I made the pilgrimage to Ray's Indoor Mountain Bike Park in Cleveland, Ohio for Ray's Women's Weekend. I had been racing bikes for 15 years, but something about being coached by other women made me nervous. I had pretty much taught myself how to jump, manual and ride downhill, always surrounded by testosterone and not knowing what "just send it" really meant. But, when I stepped into Ray's, I immediately felt at home.
Looking back now, I can say that trip changed my life. Riding in North Carolina, I had never seen that many women on bikes in one place... ever. When I returned home I was amped, not only on my own riding progression, but on getting more chicks on bikes.
One month and a trip out to Los Angeles, CA later, I had accepted a job to work with Liv Cycling, spreading stoke for women's cycling across the Western United States. I spent two years shredding mountain bikes with my heros, riding some of the most famous trails in the world, getting my PMBIA coaching certification, and teaching women how to become more in-control and confident on two wheels.
So here I am, back home in North Carolina. Coaching and helping MTB communities out West was awesome, but I want to fuel a passion for mountain biking in MY community! I want to help the people I coach experience that same level of companionship and the feeling of freedom, independence, and self-satisfaction that mountain biking brings.