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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Senior year return to biking hobby brings joy lost during junior year

Eric Shi

For most of my high school life, I spent a lot of time indoors. Especially during the long slog that is Junior Year, characterized by long hours staring at online textbook PDFs and preparing for the SATs, APs and a never ending stream of unit tests. 

This began to change after a ski trip to Mammoth Lakes in June 2023 (there was still snow there since it rained so much the previous winter), where after a long day of skiing, my family and I decided to go rent bikes to bike along a scenic route winding along the foothills of the Eastern Sierra Mountains. 

Though very basic, the now relatively short bike route reawakened an old hobby of mine: biking. This small excursion brought to my mind memories of me riding around my neighborhood as a carefree elementary school student with my parents following closely behind.

As soon as I got back home, I went straight to the nearby REI and invested in a mountain bike. Figuring I had a bit more time on my hands since it was summer, I took my bike out every afternoon after dinner. 

I started off slowly, not having gained the cardiovascular ability yet to tackle long, mountainous routes and rode by bike all over the nearby neighborhoods. 

Toward the end of summer, I became more confident and began tackling more difficult routes by biking up to the nearby Hunter’s Point and Overlook Trail. Though I initially found the steep dirt trails there to be highly technical and difficult (not to mention super tiring on my legs), I began to get the hang of it and significantly improved my endurance, taking less and less short breather breaks up to the point where I can pretty easily climb up these trails nonstop.

Getting outside every day and biking both made me feel healthier and allowed me to reconnect with the outdoors, which I felt was lacking in previous years of high school. 

Furthermore, biking opened my eyes to various other sports like running and triathlons, which I also began to slowly get involved in. As senior year began, I continued biking, but also began to mix my routine up by running, being introduced to the sport by Daniel Wu. 

Most of all, however, the process of learning to bike harder and longer routes made me far more disciplined and focused on tasks that seemingly don’t have anything to do with biking, like doing school work. I learned, through biking, that the best views can only be seen by blazing the steepest, hardest trails, and the best results are best achieved through the hardest of efforts. 

As the college admissions process cooled down and I found myself with even more time on my hands, I regularly took my bike out on longer excursions, usually around the Stevens Creek Reservoir Area. I also invested in a new Road Bike to support me during even longer rides that don’t necessarily have me climbing up steep mountains or gravely trail terrain. 

The lesson I learned: Reconnecting with a past interest of biking, and taking it up a notch in both distance and elevation, resulted in positive consequences for me. I became more disciplined, more active and ultimately, more willing to put in the hard work necessary to achieve any objectives I have outside of biking and running.

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