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5 Steps to Finding Your Riding Niche

Derek Teel on February 4th, 2022

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that this past fall and winter, I have been super into riding my XC bike. When I first got on it, it felt super fresh, super fun, and I was all about it. I was loving the uphills just as much as the downhills. Plus, for the amount of time I had to ride, it felt like I was getting the most bang for my buck. I was stoked!

Again, if you follow me on Instagram, you know that I recently did an XC race. At the starting line, I just had this gut feeling that this isn’t it – this isn’t the type of riding I want to do. I was in the lead on the first lap and got a flat. And you know what? It just felt like a sign that I wasn’t supposed to be there.

So, all of this to say, I realized that XC racing is not the niche for me, regardless of the stoke I initially had. This triggered me to go into some deep reflection on what I actually want on my bike, which then led me to actually finding the niche I want to have in 2022.

I know I’m not the only one going through this and that’s why I want to share the exact thought process I took for finding my niche, so you can find yours, too.

  1. Question yourself.

This fall I had this impulsive to train for XC riding. That’s fine. I think it’s great to explore different styles of riding. But, just because I was enjoying exploring this style of riding, doesn’t mean I need to turn it into my niche. That’s why I needed to stop and question myself. Is this what I actually want? Is this where I actually want to be? 

So, if you’re struggling to find your niche, ask yourself these two very specific questions, and be honest with yourself in the way that you answer them:

Question #1: If you’re spending hours a week on your bike, how do you actually want to be spending your time?

Question #2: What type of riding actually gets you excited and motivated to spend hours on your bike?

  1. Realize it’s okay to evolve.

Based on these two questions you answer above, realize that it is okay to evolve. Perhaps how you want to spend your time on your bike and what motivates you now vs. five years ago may be completely different. That’s okay – it’s more than okay for your riding to evolve.

For me, my riding has 100% evolved as my personal life has evolved. I used to be a downhill pro racer and now, I rarely ever touch my downhill bike. 

But, for complete transparency, when I decided to make the change, it was extremely hard for me to except the reality of my decision. Downhill riding was what I did and it felt like I was losing my identity by adopting any other style of riding.

Thankfully, I was able to come to the realization that allowing my riding to evolve would allow me to have greater longevity in the sport. 

  1. Give yourself permission to go for it.

The thing I’m most thankful for when finding my niche on my bike is the permission I gave myself to change. Even though my 15 year old self would think I’m lame for wanting to do 100 mile gravel races, I wasn’t going to let that hold me back.

I decided to give myself 100% permission to override what I used to think was cool and not cool. I even gave myself permission to ignore the opinions of others and what they would think about my change in riding style. 

If you want to change your niche and even just want to explore a different niche, you deserve to go for it and you should go for it. Don’t let your own judgements or the judgements of others stop you. Give yourself permission to go for it, unapologetically!

Want to hear more about finding your niche? Do you also want to find out how to train for your niche? And, are you curious what I decided my niche is in 2022? Check out episode 107 of the Dialed Health podcast below…

108: ♥️ How to Find Your Riding Niche + How to Train for It

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