By Kelsey Timpany
This New Years blog is brought to you from my injury bed, where I lay propped up by five pillows, Pivot Pup at my feet and surrounded by flowers and well wishing cards, while I comprehend my broken collarbone and the numerous fractures in my spine.
What better than a debilitating injury to reflect on the rollercoaster year that is 2021? A year of triumph, and momentous gain – you name it, 2021 had it.
I’ve condensed 2 weeks of post injury thinking into my top 5 key learnings for 2021 and how mountain biking has been an integral part of this.
A photo that summarizes 2021 – mud, sun, rain and offs, yet so much fun! Photo: Paul Foley
1.Professional mountain bikers are real people (and get nervous)
Finally competing at an international level has solidified one thing for me: Professional mountain bikers are people too. Years of looking up to these athletes on social media and putting them on a pedestal makes it easy to forget that these role models are everyday people, and yes, they suffer the same nerves, doubts and insecurities we do too.
If I’m honest, I found it refreshing to learn this, as it gave me confidence to keep pushing. The best part is that these said Pro’s also want to help and see you be the best rider you can be!
PC: Social Focus
2. It’s really about the people
This leads me to my next key learning. The people, the people, the people.
Mountain biking would not be what it is without the people, simple as that. Volunteers, behind the scenes tech wizards, family, media, supporters, athletes, grommets, social riders, tweens – everyone!
I’ve witnessed considerable acts of kindness between professionals to volunteers, fans to groms, families to athletes. It is nothing short of inspiring seeing these connections, and the pure joy that is sparked from this human connection that stems from nothing more than our common love of mountain biking.
By immersing myself in mountain biking, my community of people has grown considerably to a family who wants to help, see me succeed and are 100% in my corner. This helps my ‘why’ and motivates and inspires me to keep pushing my aspirations as a rider and advocate!
The faces of Crankworx Rotorua. A huge team who overcome numerous hurdles, weather, travel restrictions and pulling off an international event in Covid times. PC: Clint Trahan
3. Great things can happen when we reach a tipping point
Tipping Point (noun): “The point at which a series of small changes or incidents becomes significant enough to cause a larger, more important change.”
Take the Women’s Freeride Movement, we can comfortably say the industry has reached a tipping point, waves have been made and Women’s Freeride has been solidified in 2021.
On a personal level: As an athlete, I have felt my small series of changes, consistently turning up to races, persisting with my writing and media endeavors, and always pushing myself out of my comfort zone. This has gotten me to my tipping point, where I have established myself as a rider and industry personality within mountain biking.
Another example of key women athletes who have reached a tipping point in 2021; Robin Goomes, Harriet Burbidge-Smith, Alex Showerman.
4. There are just as many positives as there are negatives in an Injury
The past 14 days have been an absolute shock, life as I know it has come to a grinding halt. For the first time in years, (albeit forced) I have time to think and reflect. Turns out this stuff is incredibly beneficial and chicken soup for the soul.
I am one of THOUSANDS who have suffered a mountain bike related injury this year, now I can empathize with ya’ll, whereas beforehand, I didn’t fully understand the extent of how much injury blows!
5. For The Love of It – it’s actually true
When I first pitched my monthly blog ‘For the Love of It’ to the Pivot Team, I thought I understood what the concept embodied.
My monthly blog space has taken me on a journey of exploration, from practical months learning basic bike mechanics through to navigating Burnout.
It’s been a path of ups and down with some trying times, but one value that has remained truer than ever: Doing something For The Love Of It, will always prevail over doing something half-ass for the wrong reasons.
Take it from me, it has been my key learning of 2021. It is all part of the journey, right?!
If 2021 is anything to go by, 2022 is already shaping up to be an incredible year. I am so excited and feeling extremely opportunistic to see how far mountain bikers are going to push the boundaries at all levels, be it actual riding, changing cultural norms or stepping back to reassess why we really love riding mountain bikes.
Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to comment, send messages and provide valuable feedback over the course of 2021, it has been incredible to connect with so many inspiring shredders, all with the common standing – for the love of it.