For such a talented biker, you’d think Alisha Darin started riding when she was 3 years old. Even though she started mountain biking after college, she has quickly gained the skills and techniques to become an exciting rider and racer to watch. Learning the ropes was made easier with the mentorship from her dad and being an avid athlete, competing in her collegiate years. We recently chatted with Alisha about how she got into cycling, racing, how she overcomes challenges, and more!

1. Where are you originally from and where are you currently residing?

I grew up in Killingworth, Connecticut and still reside there today.

2. When did you start biking and how did you get into the sport?

I started mountain biking when I was 23 years old. Before that, I was an avid cross country runner, competing in college for 4 years. After graduating, running had started to take a toll on my body and I decided it was time for a change. My father, who has been riding bikes since he was a kid, fixed up one of his old bikes and took me riding on one of our local trail systems. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but Dad was/still is a great teacher and the reason why I am hooked!

Mountain Biker Alisha Darin
Photo: Andrew Santoro

3. How did you get into racing?

I heard about enduro through a few friends who race and my bike shop, CFM Cycles. I decided to give it a shot, not knowing what to expect and ended up really enjoying the demanding days on the bike and the community of like-minded people that comes with it.

4. What do you find most challenging about cycling and how do you overcome those challenges?

The most challenging part of cycling is the mental battle I have about riding lines that frighten me. Racing has helped me overcome this by forcing me to ride sections of trail that I would probably go around on a casual day. There is always that one spot that I can’t wrap my head around but come race day, I make sure to stay positive, tell myself I am a good rider, trust the bike, and let go. It can be easy to beat yourself up about all of the things you could have done differently, so staying positive, even if you don’t make it through something, is a huge piece of overcoming the mental battle.

Mountain Biker Alisha Darin
Photo: Dave Trumpore

5. How do you balance your biking, training, work, and everything else?

You can get lost in all the things that life throws at you. I always make time for training and riding as I find that it keeps me balanced. It makes me feel good about myself and helps me manage my anxiety in a healthy way which in turn, carries over into how I present myself at work and other aspects of my life.

6. What advice would you have for a female rider who is new to cycling or wants to take her riding to the next level?

Believe that you can do it, find positivity in every situation, if you fall down, get back up and try again, rest when you need it, and never forget why you started riding a bike in the first place!

Mountain Biker Alisha Darin
Photo: Andrew Santoro

Featured image by Dave Trumpore.