Welcome to the first in a series of what’s going to be a series of regular articles that highlight super cool girls doing amazing things in sport. While I love Lindsay, Ali and Jen of The Shred Girls, I think it’s really important and fun for you all to see that real girls are out there riding and shredding. So, let’s get into it! <3 Molly
Trek Canada racer Soren Meeuwisse is one of my absolute favorite people and a major inspiration for me, bike-skills-wise. She’s been riding since she was really, really young, and she’s a total boss on the bike now, racing for one of Canada’s top teams. She crushes it on the bike (and at school!) and she’s the perfect example of a real-life Shred Girl, so I wanted you all to meet her!
I love the best piece of advice that she gives: Just Be Your Excellent Self. So rad!!
Let’s hear from Soren—
Why did you start riding bikes?
Mountain biking was always a part of the family activities for me growing up, and I’ve been riding trails for as long as I can remember. But I REALLY started riding for myself when I fell in love with the sport at age 12 when I had an awesome group of gal friends I would ride with on Team Hardwood Devo.
What was your favorite part?
My favourite part was being out in the forests doing something different than most girls, yet riding with other girls who were just as interested in adventure and competition as I was. Mountain biking made me feel different, special, and radically bad ass!
What was the hardest part?
One of the challenges for mountain biking at a young age for me was just getting myself on my bike to start a ride. Anyone knows the feeling of just wanting to continue chilling inside, maybe on the computer/watching TV or hanging out with friends, and not having the motivation to get your exercise gear on and go be active. I always felt SO much better physically, mentally, and about myself once I actually got into a bike ride. However, I definitely needed my parents’ to force me to exercise some days to realize how magical exercise is on the body and brain.
What made you choose to focus on MTB?
Choosing to focus on MTB was a very tough decision for me because I was also very competitive with Nordic Skiing and Cross Country Running through elementary and high school. Once I reached about University age, I couldn’t keep up all sports year-round if I really wanted to excel at one. I still love the other sports and do a lot of them for cross training, but MTB has my heart with its technical aspects, the summer heat, and the unique community filled with such fun, welcoming attitudes.
What was the best tip or trick you’ve ever been told?
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given for competing at a World Class level in mountain biking is that on race day, all you need to do is be your normal, excellent self. Many people when they go to compete at a new, higher level for the first time feel the need to perform and be better than they normally are. However, this may cause a worse performance than normal because of the added pressure and expectation you put on yourself. Remember: you got to this new level just by doing you, so you don’t have to be extraordinary. Just be your excellent self.
I’m very proud of my accomplishment of qualifying to represent Canada at World Championships the past 3 years. Also, a highlight would be winning National Championships back-to-back years on home soil at Hardwood Ski and Bike.
What are your goals in cycling?
Olympic Medalist. World champion. I’m aiming high and I think that’s what everyone should do! My goals for cycling are as big as they get results-wise, but I’m also interested in helping develop the sport of MTB in Canada and get more ladies involved!
Advice for younger girls interested in riding?
My advice for young girls interested in riding is to grab some friends, strap a helmet on that noggin, sit on a saddle, and just start pedaling! It’s going to feel different and challenging, so don’t be focused on perfection! Allow yourself to make mistakes on the trails and know that if you aren’t making mistakes you aren’t pushing your limits to improve. The skills of MTB aren’t going to magically appear your first day… it takes years of small progression. But each small step will feel empowering: the first time you ride over a root, then a rock, over a log, around a burm… then before you know it you’ll be flying off a jump! The magical secret is to just have fun along the way.