Five minutes with Sara Burdon, aka Ms Mountain Biking Morzine

With her company Flow MTB, Sara Burdon was one of the first chicks to host women’s mountain bike weeks. Now she’s at the helm of Morzine’s press office, Europe’s premier freeride resort. So it’s fair to say she can handle herself on two wheels.

Sara Burdon demonstrates why Morzine is a mountain bike Mecca. Image by Damian McArthur

My dad tried to teach me to ride a bike in a car park. I fell off, scraped all my skin off one side, threw a tantrum and said I’d never go near a bike again. That vow lasted about a week and that’s now one of his favourite stories.

Riding bikes is fun – simple as that. I like the simplicity of it. I go out in the mountains with my mates, we ride, we chat, we eat cake, we have fun, we finish with a beer. What’s not to love!? It also means you can eat more cake – that’s kind of a two for the price of one! Mountain biking has brought me lots of great friends, my best memories, no savings and firmer thighs.

If I do a week without biking or skiing I can get a bit grumpy. That usually inspires me to ride! But my main inspiration is my friends. I’m lucky to know lots of good riders and they inspire me to go out and to ride better.

I’ve got lots of favourite trails. Morzine to Val d’Illiez and back – super trails through the forests that very few people ride. Or Morzine to Champéry via the Col de Cou – again incredible views, great trails – a mix of everything, and finishing on the stingers back into Morzine. This autumn the ‘angel’ trail near Finale Ligure was about my best day of the year and I did some amazing riding in Val d’Allos with Peps Spirit.

If I had to choose between mountain biking and road I’d choose mountain biking ‘cos it’s more fun! I ride road more than I used to, but nothing beats a fun twisty techy singletrack descent on a mountain bike.

In the winter I keep bike fit by ski touring. In Morzine, the trails are covered in snow for a good few months of the year, so we ski instead. To keep fit I have touring skis (ones that go up as well as down). We try to do a girlie night hike once a week after work, and the weekends it’s either lift assisted skiing or touring. I’m also lucky enough to get to ski for work sometimes when I’m running press trips.

I got into mountain biking the usual way through my boyfriend (now hubby). He took me out, I tried, I cried, I fell, I slowly got better. Repeat 1000 times. I finally got addicted. I think a big turning point for me was meeting other girls to ride with.

I’d say my most essential piece of kit is padded shorts – for the obvious reasons.

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