Three Days of Bikepacking in a Goofy Floral Skirt
Story by Meghan Sinnott Photos by Jocelyn Gaudi
I thought about it all night and into the morning: How am I going to ask seven experienced badass ladies the most embarrassing, girly question I can imagine on the very same day we embark on a three-day bikepacking adventure? They’re going to find out just before we push off that I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m a hack, a noob, a liability. I sucked it up and finally let the question out: “Um, hey, so…what are you all wearing today?”
To my surprise, nobody laughed at me, and no one thought I was any less prepared or ready to ride than they had previously assumed. As it turned out, they didn’t know what they were going to ride in that day either. Like me, they had never seen the trail, so how could they plan?
My confidence swelled…until I got on the mountain bike I had borrowed for the trip. I ride a bicycle every day, and yet here I was biking down Highway 112 towards the trailhead of the 25-mile Olympic Adventure Route, a single-track wonderland through the Olympic National Park, and I couldn’t figure out how to shift gears. I’d mountain biked three times before in my life and hadn’t killed myself yet, and so I had gotten cocky. I’d somehow convinced these women that I could hang, and I was failing before we even hit the trail. And then the mantra of the weekend played out in my head. “Don’t say ‘sorry,’” we had requested of each other. “Instead, say ‘thank you.’” So, I humbled myself and asked, “How do I shift this thing?!” I got the answer and said, “Thanks.” It was as easy as that.
Here’s the shocker: I kicked ass, we all did. The ride was epic, and I didn’t need “proper” gear of my own, or even any previous bikepacking experience. My goofy floral skirt and borrowed gear suited me, but it wasn’t about gear or experience. Success on the trail resulted from the support we had for each other and, perhaps more importantly, the trust we had to find in ourselves.