Cow veterinarian by day (well actually all of the time), and one of our new bike coaches by weekend, Melodie is a down-to-earth girl who will get you not just motivated but feeling supported as well. Her first foray into biking went as so many do, not exactly positive.
Her first real single track ride was at the Canmore Nordic Centre in 2013 with her husband, and she hated it. She went biking a few more times and had made the decision that biking was not going to be her sport of choice. Lucky for her, on her “last” fateful ride she and her husband met up with a young lady from Calgary that was looking for a few people to ride with because she wasn’t familiar with the trails. This was her turning point. Getting the chance to ride with someone at a similar skill level who didn’t make her feel as her skills were lacking (but rather developing) helped her see that learning and beginner level riding really is an appropriate starting point. From there, she went on to take a weekend course which really helped her to develop her skills and understand why they are so necessary to the foundation of her riding. From that weekend she had met even more fantastic women who were all around a similar skill level and the group began to ride and grow together.
Melodie’s first coaching experience was the same as many of our coaches, one where her strengths shined and her path to coaching developed naturally. She started sweeping (following up the rear on rides) during the summer 2015 and 2016. In 2016, she led one of our groups for our Cyclofemme rides and has also co-coached a beginner course with Audrey. Her favourite courses to teach are the Beginner and Intermediate courses because “it is always such a pleasure to introduce others into this sport in a fun and positive setting”. Also, she loves to watch people grow their confidence on their bikes. Her philosophy with coaching stems from this, revolving around inspiring others and helping them to succeed.
“I love figuring out how people learn and finding ways to help them understand new concepts or new skills,” Melodie exclaims, “I know the headspace that some of these new riders are in since I have been there myself so I used that to help them push beyond their limits and build their confidence. I get such a buzz when I see it all “click” in their eyes and they have the biggest smiles on their faces when they get it! The best feeling is watching someone do something that they never thought they could do.”
Melodie’s tip for riding that she’s learned through her experiences running, skiing, and yoga? Practice. Practice. Practice. Looking back on her growth as a rider, if there was one piece of advice Melodie wishes had been bestowed upon her earlier on, it would be that every ride does not need to be a survival ride. You can stop to session obstacles or areas that might be giving you trouble and it really helps to find someone to ride with that is good at explaining how to do things.
It is also important to celebrate all of the things you accomplished on a ride instead of focusing on what you couldn’t accomplish. The most relevant piece of advice she has received while riding was actually from a recent article by MTB endurance racer Syd Shultz entitled “How I stopped saying sorry”. From this article, Melodie came to understand that she (and a lot of us!) spent a lot of time apologizing for things we do on the trail during group rides. Don’t say sorry, say thank you. “See how much that changes both your own headspace and the vibe of the group,” Melodie suggests.
Leading her to join Shred Sisters as a coach is a positive role model that many of us are familiar with—Audrey Duval. “She has been a great teacher and friend, helping me progress from my “puddle free pavement” riding ability as a Vancouver city kid to get my level 1 PMBIA coaching certificate!” Melodie exudes. She loves the support that Shred Sisters offers to other female riders who are just starting up or wanting to improve skills. Plus it helps that the team is so much fun to be a part of!