Rider Profile: Suzie Livingston
Profile by Reese Ruland, Photography by Adam Concannon
I met Suzie Livingston about six months ago at a local bike shop. At the time, I didn’t know about her impressive mountain biking skills, but within the first few days of knowing her I found out that we had an uncanny knack of speaking in a terrible foreign accents to each other, laughing at ourselves, and shared a fondness for casual champagne drinking and love for bicycles. Which, do you need anything more in common than that to form a solid friendship? I think not. It wasn’t until I got to know her better did I learn about her mountain biking bad assery. She races for a local Fort Collins, CO team, The Fort Follies, but isn’t afraid to ride to the beat of her own drummer sometimes. At local grassroots events, like the New Belgium Short Track races, she frequently doubles, sometimes triples up on races. Riding with the ladies and then hitting up the men’s races. I’ve never known her to shy away from a challenge. Suzie has that special kind of determination that is innate in some people. That certain drive that won’t let you give up no matter how many times you fail or fall. She told me a story about her experience with the infamous Fort Collins Maxwell Trail, a technical trail that climbs to the top of a ridge which overlooks the city. In college, just as she started getting serious about mountain biking, she would frequently ride that trail each day for a month, until she could complete it without walking her bike. That determination runs like smooth single track through every facet of her life. The more time I spend with her, the more I want to get better a mountain biking. She has such a contagious passion for the sport that I, and others, can’t help but want to shred. It is this, her desire to spread the glory of the dirt, which is propelling her to inspire more women to get out there and create their own experiences on the trail.
Name: Suzie Livingston
Age: Old enough.
Whereabouts: Chi-Town to Steamboat, CO to Fort Collins, CO.
Drink of Choice: Champagne. Kidding. Sort of. Local Fort Collins beer.
Team: Fort Follies.
Hand Up of Choice: Donuts or Pizza.
Rider Stats: Pro Mountain and Cyclocross bad ass.
Weapons of choice: Trek Remedy, Trek Superfly Ridged Single Speed, Trek Superfly Hardtail, Specialized Crux, and Specialized Ruby—For those times when the trails aren’t on fleek.
Favorite trail: The home trails of Fort Collins, CO. The stabby technical ones that make you think and ultimately sculpt you into a better, more confident rider.
Best Battle Scar: Her knee. Biffed it at a mountain bike race in Wyoming. Now she knows what the patella of her knee looks like. In vivid detail. Back at the MTB game, undeterred. Boys dig scars and bad ass chicks.
Where She started: Skiing the slopes and running the trails. After incurring a stress fracture from running, Suzie picked up road cycling. Being inactive just isn’t her jam. Cycling not only kept her from going stir crazy, but allowed her to meet new people. Shortly after she started riding, she joined the Colorado State University cycling team. There she was able to ride with other women riders, but on the team she was subjected to peer pressure. Don’t worry, just pressure to leave the woes of the road and join the ranks of the mountain bikers. With her trail running background it seemed liked a perfect fit. (And it didn’t hurt that cute boys also rode the trails. I mean… come on…we’ve all been there.) Soon enough she was dabbling in mountain biking. The trails offered something the roads didn’t. Peace and quiet. Time away from people and the hustle and bustle of traffic. A little bit of alone time to clear the mind. Some call it serenity, but Suzie just calls it fun. So she bought herself a Santa Cruz 26” Juliana and rode that rig till she broke. Like all cyclists, she opted for an upgrade. Specialized Epic Carbon Twenty-Niner. The options for trail rides now suddenly grew. There was less walking the bike over rocks and more riding. Maybe it was the bike or maybe Suzie was fine tuning her handling skills.
Where She’s At: Admittedly not the best recreational/hobby rider, Suzie went full gas on mountain biking and started racing one month after picking it up. All those cute boys that she wanted to ride with in the beginning? Now she races against them. And wins. Who doesn't like winning? But, we all know, it isn’t everything. At these races and on the trails there is a noticeable absence or lack of participation on the women’s side of mountain biking. Suzie believes that sharing the love of dirt and inspiring other women to ride would be the frosting on the donut, so to speak.
Where She’s Going: To ride like a boss. And by that she means, to be the best possible bike handler and rider. Not just for a woman, but on a level playing field. She doesn’t just want to shred with the best of them, but she wants to spread the worship of all things dirt to women. To inspire experienced and inexperienced female riders to quit making apologies and gain the confidence to ride the way they want to. Too often, women find themselves being reluctant to start mountain biking or quit when they lack the necessary knowledge or experience. It is her goal to make cycling, specially the mountain variety, more accessible. If this means classes and outreach, so be it. It is best to lead by example. Go confidently in the direction the trail takes you. We all start at the bottom and work our way up. Suzie didn’t get to her gnar shredding self today by wizardry and wishes. She spent days working on the same damn trails, walking her bike over rough spots, practicing techniques in hopes that she would never have to walk her bike up that trail again.
When She’s Getting There: Now. Suzie isn’t one to wait and doesn’t want other women to either. If you want to hit the trails, don’t let anything- rocks, intimidation, lack of experience, fear of gear, scare you away and keep you from realizing your potential and having fun. She admits that places like Fort Collins, which boasts many local grassroots/zero pressure races, is somewhat easier to enter into the mountain biking scene than towns that don’t offer such luxuries. But that shouldn’t stop anyone. Bikes are for fun. They allow you to meet and ride with amazing people. They enable people see places they’d never be able to experience otherwise. Get out there. Have fun. Ride bikes…mostly on trail.