Women on Bikes Series: Lindsey (Voreis) Richter

Meet Lindsey (Voreis) Richter, a woman inspired to help other women learn to mountain bike by her own experiences. She feels mountain biking is not just "riding a bike" but a life changing sport!

Stay connected!

When did you first start riding a bike?
I started around the age of 4 chasing my brother and his friends around our cul-de-sac. At 8 years old, my parents gave me the freedom to ride my little bike alone at 6am a few miles to a horse stables to brush horses as they came in from the dusty field.

What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
The freedom, feeling healthy, being outside, breathing fresh air, the adrenalin, the friendships, the trails, the adventure and the fact that I will never stop learning.

Have you competed in events? If so, what were your reasons for competing?
In 1996 I started racing cross-country because I was an athlete in High School, then lost it in college. Without a sport, I didn’t find exercise all that fun. I took up racing as motivation to train and stay in shape.
I started racing downhill in 2004 because I wanted to try something different. The downhill sections of cross-country races always intimidated me, so it was exhilarating to find the confidence to throw myself into downhill races!!
Then along came Super D racing and Enduro. I love this format. It’s just you against your bike but the trails aren’t super scary and gnarly like some downhill races. At the start line it’s just you and your bike racing the clock. Between race segments we all ride to the next segment together and encourage each other and talk about our runs. It’s a great way to push myself and hang out with other ripping, rad female riders!

What would be your favorite competitive biking event?

What kind of riding is your favorite? (paved, gravel, mountain, etc.)
Mountain biking technical terrain high up in the mountains with fast flowy sections mixed in.

Do you remember how you felt on your first mountain bike ride? (If not a mountain biker, how about first commuter ride, paved trail ride, gravel, etc.)
My dad totally got me on the dirt. He bought me my first mountain bike for transportation in college, as well as long fire road excursions with him between semesters. We would ride a fire road that meandered along the end of the Deschutes River in Oregon so I remember feeling free and fell in love with being close to nature on a bike. It took me further than walking could and I loved it.

If you had nervousness at all, what do you do or think to overcome it?
I get super duper nervous before races. I feel like I have to go to the bathroom right before they say “go.” I doubt everything about my abilities. I stress about staying safe and not pushing myself. I have to talk myself into getting on the start line.
How do I overcome this?
I talk to myself. I try and get those negative thoughts out of my head. It’s JUST like mountain biking. If you let negative thoughts in, they will sabotage you. You HAVE to believe in yourself and think positively. It’s an important thing for me to go through sometimes. It’s good stress management practice. Make the choice and overcome the fear. I stay within my limits and tell myself it is FUN to push myself to the best of my comfort level.

Do you use clipless pedals? If yes, what are some tips/suggestions for beginners that you would share? If no, are you thinking of trying it out at all?
Yes I clip in. I like being one with my bike and I feel more confident and stable clipped in.
If you are just learning to clip in, go to a soft grassy space and practice. Clip in, clip out, clip in and clip out. Do it again and again. Turn in tight circles, stop and start and lean it over on both sides. Get to know them and start understanding when to get out. Over time it starts to come pretty naturally.

If you are a commuter what are some of the challenges you face and how do you overcome them?
I have to say I’m not a commuter because I work from home unless I’m on the road. I live just far enough out of town that I need the car to run errands, or it would take all day. If I lived in town, yes, I would ride my bike everywhere.

Have you had a bike biff? If so, how did you recover on a physical/mental/emotional level?
It wasn’t cool to see my leg split open after popping it on a rock. Compression split. Aaahahahah It was pulsating blood and filled up my shoe. The girl behind me in the race pulled over to see if I was ok because there was a lot of blood. I took my shirt off, tied it closed, and hiked out.  It was gnarly for me. I’d never been split open. In any case, the stitches were fine and it only ached for a short while. 
Now the scar only reminds me of a great story, of a great crash during the Downieville Classic. 
I got Downievilled!
It is depressing when you are down and out. It totally sucks. But it’s part of the game we put ourselves through, so the best thing to do is take care of it the best you can. Rest, heal, eat clean and healthy and do the steps to recover and strengthen. It’s another test the bike gives us. Can you get through this with a good attitude and persevere?

What do you love about riding your bike?
I come from many years of riding horses. Both the bike and the horse were the ultimate feelings of freedom for me. I still feel like I’m riding a horse while zipping through the woods and jumping. It’s not a bunny-hop; it’s a jumping horse.
There are so many reasons I love riding my bike and they continue to grow.
It brings out the best in me.
I feel alive, happy and free.
I feel confident and don’t care what anyone else thinks.
I stay in the moment and think logically, which is harder for me to do off the bike.
I love the challenges, the overcoming of fears and the knowing when to back down and choose safety over adrenalin. I choose smooth style, over going big. I try hard to be safe and do it right. I love that I will never stop learning, practicing, perfecting the art and technique of it. I love that I can share it with amazing people who understand what it’s all about and become friends for life.
I love that I get to share it and inspire others to see it as I see it, and have the patience to learn how to do it well.

What inspired you to become a mountain bike coach and mentor?
What inspired me was that I felt insecure about my riding when I started riding with Pros. Once I met a few women who gave me pointers, I realized women don’t hear this stuff! Most people don’t know how to articulate what’s going on and how to do it. I have heard things like: “lean back, just let go of the brakes,” etc. It drives me crazy when women are taught wrong. It’s a dangerous sport so I felt the need to get certified so I had credentials, which ultimately led me to seeing a whole new side to this sport and I just HAD to share it. 
What about coaching/mentoring do you love?
I love all aspects of it. There is nothing like the feeling of seeing a woman conquer a fear or ride something she never thought she would ride. I cry with them, laugh with them and cheer them on. I love figuring women out and catering to different personalities and different types of learners. I love the spirit between women and I love facilitating the camaraderie that comes with this sport. 

Any tidbits for new mountain bikers?
Keep your elbows slightly out and back instead of in close to your body. Push up position. Stay relaxed and don’t let your arms or legs stiffen up. The arms need to be free and able to drive the front end where you want it to go. If you get stiff arms, you can’t move the front end around. 
Always look ahead. It’s imperative to keep your eyes focused on where you’re going, not what’s happening right in front of you. Looking through corners and through rock gardens is key. 

How many bikes do you have and do you have a favorite?
I have a xc bike, a dh bike and a jump bike. Of course my Yeti SB66c 6” travel 26” wheel bike is the one I ride most often and it rocks!

Care to share something random/neat about yourself not many people know about you?
I was on the TV show Survivor Africa in 2001. Not sure if people know that. It’s the reason I am where I am today. It hurt me personally for awhile, but it’s the reason I do this. I found confidence in myself and life became limitless for me.