Enduro racer and founder of the VIDA MTB Series. She calls big mountains of Colorado home. Putting effort in on the race courses, as well as the VIDA MTB Series, Sarah Rawley has set out to celebrate the entire lifestyle of women riders and helps support them in all of their endeavors.
1. How did you get your start? What were the motivating factors that lead you to Enduro as well as starting the VIDA MTB Series?
I learned how to mountain bike trial by fire through collegiate racing—cross country, short track, and the occasional downhill/4X when team points were on the line. From the start, I have always been motivated by a sense of progress over achievement. As long as I stay challenged, I find deep purpose and fulfillment out of riding my mountain bike.
When Enduro was on the rise in 2012, I jumped in with both feet to get out of my comfort zone and race terrain that previously felt off-limits. Navigating these new challenges was not a solo endeavor. It took role models, coaches, friends and a patient partner to teach me new skills, find confidence within, and share the joy of riding epic terrain in incredible places.
This shift in paradigm opened my eyes to the growing women’s mountain bike community that needed an environment where we can progress safely while having fun. The VIDA MTB Series was born out of this insight, nurtured by the roots of Team Yeti Beti, and strengthened by our sister event, the Beti Bike Bash.
2. What is your overall goal for the VIDA MTB Series?
My overarching goal for the VIDA MTB Series is to be to recognized as a place for any woman to thrive and feel at home. Above all, we are a community that supports one another, and provides opportunities to grow, share and explore. Our network of coaches and ambassadors each contribute a unique quality to the program, and show that there are many ways that mountain biking can bring deeper intentions and fulfillment into our daily lives.
3. There are many strong female voices and ambassador in the sport of Mountain Biking. Who was a key influence for you?
Cindy Devine was the lead coach at a Dirt Series camp I attended summer of 2005. I had just picked up a mountain bike a few weeks prior. I could pedal uphill, but descending was very humbling. Cindy demonstrated an insurmountable amount of grace and confidence on the bike. After capturing the first official UCI World Downhill Champion title in 1990, Cindy went on to add many more accolades to her impressive resume, including two World Bronze medals, three Mammoth Mountain Kamikaze Downhill titles, five Canadian Downhill Titles, and induction into the World Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 2003. When I met Cindy, she was kind, patient, and above all an inspiration that mountain biking can be lifelong sport where progress is infinite.
4. You’ve been fortunate to mix work and pleasure. What is one event, trip, or moment that stands out to you?
New Zealand holds a special place in my heart— the ethereal scenery, the diverse terrain, and the kiwis who are always up for an adventure. I visited February 2016 for a bikepacking mission on the Old Ghost Road with my best mate, and raced the Trans NZ Enduro. I was instantly captivated by everything the South Island has to offer, and am returning this year for the next chapter from the adventures of #kiwiPhoebe and #mericaSarah.
5. What tips or advice do you have for aspiring female riders?
Own your ride—no matter how big or small your accomplishment is, own it! Be proud and celebrate every step of progress. This will keep the wheels turning. In the same breath, own where you are at in the moment. If the drop doesn’t feel right today, own everything you’ve done leading up to it, and focus and be proud of what you can do. The drop will be there tomorrow, and is simply the next step in the spiral progression that is mountain biking.
6. How important are ergonomics, especially for the demands your riding, racing and coaching?
Proper ergonomics on the bike are essential to my health, efficiency, and most importantly, state of mind on the bike. I am all too often on a demanding schedule, jumping to/from clinics, races, and events, with lots of travel in between. I have a tendency to become injured if I am not constantly working on weaknesses. Touch points and load (grips, saddles, footbeds and pack) allow for proper alignment and positioning on the bike which ultimately set me up to stay healthy and feel good on the bike when taking on the next challenge.