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Cycle, Wellness / April 17, 2016

The Art of Getting Back Up After You Fall

Written by: Roxanne Trujillo

Looking up from the dust cloud my body just created, “OH MEER GAWD!! Is my bike ok?!”

“Roxanne, you have a branch sticking out of your helmet!”

There is something you should know about me. I am accident prone; from a pedal slip in the parking lot to a full on move in session with a cactus on the trail. I could have a coffee table picture book with my collection of falls. My body has been covered in a profusion of bruises and scars since I began riding.

I think, for me, growing up with all brothers taught me that being weak simply because I was a girl was not an accepted excuse. My childhood through teen years consisted of getting in physical fights; mostly with my older brother. He was such a punk. Jumping off rallied go-karts, skunk dragging, tennis ball welts on my body, crashing my walmart-garage-sale-klunker off a kicker in the backyard, stitches, and even waking up with cinnamon and stinky socks on my face. I’m not saying one has to endure such things to be “tough”, but growing up like that definitely contributed to my attitude in tolerating pain.

My third ride on a mountain bike trail I ate brown pow like nobody’s business. At the very top section of the downhill too. My buddy told me it was that day, he knew I was worthy enough to sacrifice good rides for a bit in order to teach me this way of life. Ever since then we have basically been wearing matching jerseys and riding a tandem bicycle down the trails.


Why did I become “worthy” that day? Because I stood back up and smeared the blood under my eyes like a football player and said, “Let’s ride!” Actually, not at all but I did stand back up and my first question was concerning the condition of my bike. Carbon is expensive. Then, I said I was ok and continued to descend.

Months later my buddy told me he thought for sure I was going to begin crying and ask how to get off the trail. Instead, I was dauntless. To be honest with you, I was surprised with my rebound. I continue to be surprised with my courage of getting back up. Perhaps it’s the only place in life where I feel it’s easiest to get back up.

My buddy thought my reaction to falling would be crying because women tend to get this stereotype of being namby-pambys when it comes to riding mountain bikes. You know what, that sucks. I won’t deny it, because I know everybody tolerates challenges differently. I will say though, that I find it incredibly sexy when a person can embrace the suffering of a climb, mistakes that take place and the pain during crashes. I’m not going to tell you that I do all that with a smile on my face, nah ah, no way. However, I don’t whine. I don’t have much patience for it, therefore I’m not going to expect my riding partners to either.



Do you even ride bro?

The day I became roommates with a thorn bush.

I admire the women who dare to deny stereotypes. I look up to them. Women who are pushing back the stereotype proving that they don’t need a trail from the kitchen to the laundry room. These are the type of women that make me quake in my boots. I want to be intriguing, and I believe extreme sports including mountain biking has taught me how to demonstrate mental and physical courage in the pursuit of personal challenges. It’s inspiring to break the barriers and the expectations women have been slapped with in male dominated sports. Some might say, “Well, I don’t have to prove anything to anyone.” For me, I am out to prove. I’m fueled by it and I’m ok with that. I’m either proving to my own hindrances I have created, or to societies.

Sarah Rawley during a film shoot for Big Mountain Enduro in Moab, Utah.

Physical fails in an extreme sport are relatable to the collapses suffered in life. I have experienced hitting the ground so hard that I feared how badly I was injured, but I still tried getting up anyway. Come to realize it, after every crash, my first intuition is to stand up. I don’t complain, because that’s unhelpful, and nor do I make excuses. Not to get all spiritually yogi on you, but wouldn’t you agree that excuses are for the unenlightened?

There has always been a hand reaching out to help me regain composure. I have continued riding in severe pain, but it somehow began to fade, slipped away as my focus was brought back to my path.

I know, that sitting on the trail discouraged is not going to get me anywhere. After hitting rock bottom I have nowhere to go but up because getting up and brushing off the dirt only leads to improvement and more opportunity. It leads to a new trail that captivates my heart. I move on with scars, constraints and a request for more whiskey at the end.


Don't mind me over here, off the trail, I thought I saw a ladybug.

I’ve been told that a valuable skill to learn in mountain biking is how to fall properly. Life would be so much easier if we all knew how to fall. Seriously though, mastering the art of the fall is just as important as learning to balance. I’m still trying to learn that skill. I have many opportunities to do so.

I’ve compiled you a list of Whiskeys! Actually it’s a list with the “meat and potatoes”, “gluten and milk!” Let’s call it lessons I take back from trail and life defeats.

  1. Learn from my mistake.
  2. Shows me an opportunity for improvement.
  3. I gain important feedback about how to correct my mistake.
  4. Challenges me on the next ride to conquer that mistake.
  5. Confidence; from not giving up and repeating the same section without any falls.
  6. Trusting myself to not repeat such a tragedy.
“She was unstoppable. Not because she did not have failures and doubts, but because she continued on despite them. -Beau Taplin ”

Here’s the thing you granny gear gurus; when you are learning the ropes, it’s going to suck. You are going to fall, it’s inevitable. Hell, if you’re anything like me, after you have “ learned the ropes” you are still going to fall. Get back on your bike, because it truly brings more positives than negatives. You will learn a lot about yourself and you will be able to justify chugging 6 beers. Speaking to your personal life as well here.

I learned that perseverance in mountain biking has a hell of a reward. To all my ladies, I know we want to be perfect. That’s what we focus on, but you don’t have to be perfect. It takes time. I desire to be the best, I want to manual over any feature, be brave enough to go down the steepest technical terrain and launch my bike at least 20 feet in the air. I can’t…yet. I’m not the best, I’m just determined.

I don’t want to be a mediocre rider and I sure as hell don’t want a mediocre life.

about the author

Roxanne Trujillo

Roxanne is a Coloradical single track slayer, crux seeking, pow loving, thrill taking mom of a child that's comparably wild. Armed with enthusiasm and good coffee, she devotes herself to the outdoors and keeping pace with her adorable and energetic daughter. She is an ambassador for RaceFace, a V-something climber and goes by Birdy. She fantasizes often about throwing herself, daughter, friends and bikes in a Sprinter wrapped in #canvasthetoddler and peeling out to chase the mundo hermoso.

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