Combating Imposter Syndrome in Mountain Biking

Kenzie Fuqua
Authored by 2021/22 Kaden Ambassador Kenzie Fuqua 

“Am I good enough?”
“Will I embarrass myself?”
“I’m not as skilled as they are.”

Have these thoughts ever entered into your stream of consciousness around riding? They have always loomed over my head like a storm cloud. These are examples of “imposter syndrome.” According to Harvard Business Review, imposter syndrome is “a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success.”

If you’ve ever felt like this, know you aren’t alone, and guess what, you are not an imposter. You are worthy of smiles on that group ride, you are a competent rider, and I guarantee there is someone who thinks you are amazing on the trails, pavement, or gravel. As someone who has struggled with this (and continues...it’s a granny-gear uphill battle), I’ve had to remind myself and those in my community of a few things:

  1. You are more than enough. No matter who you ride with, or who you have compared yourself to in the past, you are enough. You are on the trails or roads and that is badass enough. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are, or how many features you walk, you are out there. YOU GO GIRL.
  2. Improving takes time. Maybe you compare yourself to a rider you see on the trails by yourself and think ‘oh I wish I was as good as they are’, or ‘Man, they are amazing.’ How do you think they got there? They most likely took a long time to get to where they are! Give yourself grace. Practice makes perfect.
  3. Being pushed out of your comfort zone isn’t always a good thing. Have you ever ridden with someone who said ‘oh come on I know you can do it,’ or ‘just do it, you’ll be fine?’ Make sure you are riding with someone who supports you, not scares you. Having someone to session features with, or enjoy a casual coffee ride with is important. Someone who pushes you past your limit on every ride can make you feel inferior.
  4. Be your own advocate. Just like riding with someone who pushes you too far doesn’t feel good, make sure you are being your voice! Find a rad group of people to ride with, ask to do features again, and ask for help if you need it.
  5. Have fun. Riding should be fun! Don’t forget that. Being on a bike, at age 30, still puts a smile on my face as it did when I was a kid.

Every woman, every person, and every rider is amazing for getting out there on bikes, and don’t you forget it!

Kenzie Fuqua

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