Trying new things is always a bit daunting, however, trying new things abroad is a whole other story. That’s exactly what Michelle Davies, a fourth-year tourism student set out to do when she competed in the women’s enduro mountain bike race in the south of France.
Davies was originally studying in Switzerland, where she first learned how to mountain bike. Being new to the sport, the idea of racing against other skilled female mountain bikers was far outside her comfort zone.
Knowing that the best adventures come from pushing through these boundaries, however, Davies was determined to give it a shot. With that attitude, she and nine other friends packed themselves into a car with their mountain bikes and hit the road.
Upon arrival, Davies realized she had forgotten a piece of her mountain bike at home. Although she was able to borrow a friend’s, the sizing was very different making it harder to practice riding the trails.
Thankfully, the weather and the beauty of Valberg made up for it.
The girls hit the trails, eager to see what they were up against. Davies admitted the trails were a bit more challenging than what she was used to, but the encouragement of her friends kept her going.
A friend who drove down to Valberg a day later was able to bring Davies the missing piece of her bike, and with that things started to get back on track.
On the day of the race, the girls woke up to pouring rain.
“It was raining harder than I’ve ever seen in my life, just rivers of rain pouring down the streets,” Davies said.
Additionally, her cold was in full force and Davies felt worse than before but she was determined to do what she came all the way down to southern France for: race.
Davies described the race as a “rollercoaster of energy,” saying that the beginning started with pure adrenaline, as the rain poured down on the girls. She said It was cold and wet and they were getting covered in mud. Once they reached the top of the mountain, it was a steep dash down and the girls decided to ride full throttle, as fast as they could.
Davies’ energy levels were exceptionally drained from her cold, but the adrenaline pushed her on until she finally crossed the finish line. Although it was a race, the girls all celebrated everyone’s scores feeling as though each made a huge accomplishment.
“It was quite the experience,” Davies said, noting that while this was her first race it definitely won’t be her last.