We recently moved to Spain and people ask us a lot why we moved and why we like mountain biking so much. So we taught it would be nice to share the answer to the question: "Why we ride?". Mountain biking gives us freedom & confidence. For us it is a learning experience while being outside in nature, in the mountains.
I remember my granddad creating mountainbikes out of ordinary kids bikes for me. I probably was about 7 or 8 years old. At that time they looked like BMX bikes to me. But looking back now they looked more like mountain bikes. He was retired and spent days in my uncle's bike shop in Eelde, The Netherlands.
In my teenage years I spent days biking in the forests near Ommen and on the Lemelerberg. Ommen is the place where i grew up. It is situated in a beautiful area in the East of the Netherlands. My parents bought me my first real mountain bike. I remember feeling free on my bike. I loved the physical challenge during mountain biking. I enjoyed being of the beaten path in the nature on my bike.
When I was 21 I got a bike for the first time myself. And from there the hobby slowly developed into a passion. The passion for going off the beaten path. The passion for feeling free, the passion of discovering new trails and nature landscapes.
Mountain biking to me has always been about having fun and enjoying nature; it was never about being the fastest. Although I have been on my mountain bike for over 20 years I learn something new every time I am on a my bike (this is the most important thing for me).
Last but not least: Mountain biking is my Yoga. When I am stressed or annoyed, biking makes me process my thoughts and feelings and it brings back the smile.
This is why I love living in Zona Zero. After a though day of working on building Unbeaten, the bike ride makes me see things in perspective again.
I got my first mountain bike in early 2016, just before I met Jeroen (coincidence? haha). I bought it because it is a sport that mixes two of my favourite things: being in nature and a lot of exercise. My first months in my mountain bike got me to discover the beautiful mountains of Barcelona like Montjuic and Collserola.
Then I met Jeroen… and I found out what mountain biking truly was. Literally climbing the most beautiful mountains and then going down the most scary things (aka. rocks, roots, mud). An adventure sometimes I wasn’t sure I wanted to join. But, the more I rode my bike...the more I enjoyed it, the less scary things started to look (this doesn't mean I'm not mega scared sometimes). Now two years later we live in one of the the most amazing mountain bike spots in Europe, Zona Zero.
I ride because mountain biking is a teacher. It teaches me to be more confident, perseverient and brave. It also teaches me how my mind tricks me in thinking I can’t do things which I really can do. It is a beautiful escape from stress, and a grounding experience. Makes me feel present, alive and powerful.
We not only learn about biking each day we ride. We learn about the nature and the mountains where we ride. Why do you ride?
Learning about life one bike ride at a time
Authors: Marce Xirinachs & Jeroen Spoelstra
Pictures & video: Marce Xirinachs & Jeroen Spoelstra