Women on Bikes Series: Danielle Jubanyik

Nickames: D and Dr. J (I earned my doctorate last year!)
My loves:  1. My cats 2. My husband (haha) 3. Biking 4. Animal rescue 4. Good food/wine/beer 5. Always learning something new 6. Meteorology/astronomy 7. Reading

When did you first start riding a bike?
I always rode a bike as a kid, but not seriously. My first “real” mountain bike purchase was in 1999-I think. It was a Gary Fisher hardtail. Lots of fun! I learned so much on that bike, and fell in love with the sport!

What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
Well, I have had a few tragic events (the loss of my youngest sister, and years later the loss of my father) that propelled me to want to get out an experience life. Additionally, I’ve always been sort of a loner, so any activity I could take on, and do independently on my own time naturally drew me in. My boyfriend back in 1999 when I purchased my first mountain bike (who is now my husband of 11.5 years) helped my get into riding cross-country and downhill. We ride downhill and cross-country together all of the time. We are best friends on and off the bike!

How have you enjoyed having a partner to ride with on a regular basis?
I really enjoy riding with my husband. I haven’t been able to find too many women who ride, so riding so much with him and his guy friends has really helped me to push my own limits. I am proud to say “I can hang with the boys” haha. I do like an occasional ladies ride though, and have a few girlfriends who like to get out once in a while and shred the trails!

Has your husband been your primary coach? (Travis is mine) It’s been interesting and sometimes challenging to take feedback from my significant other! How have you dealt with the struggles of learning from your partner?
Yes, Dave has been my primary coach, from getting me used to riding clipless pedals years ago, to hitting jumps and drops on the downhill bike. He knows me, and understands my fears and helps me work it out.

A few years ago I paid and met with a private coach once for a few hours on the trails. She is a pro racer and it was great to learn a few different skills from her. She just seemed to show me in a different way than Dave. I always attend clinic if they are free or reasonably priced, because I find I usually take away one thing I didn’t have before- whether riding someone I’ve never been, or going a different pace, or trying a new skill. I have a voracious appetite for learning all things (not just bike stuff).

As far as dealing with struggles from learning from Dave, I’d say that there really aren’t any. Most of the pressure on me is from me pushing myself and wanting to grow as a rider in the sport. He supports me on days when I chicken out on a new feature, and is there on the days when I am sending it, go pro camera in handJ 

What would be your favorite competitive biking event and why do you enjoy competing?
I love downhill biking the most, and although I only competed in one race this season, I am hooked. I don’t have the best stamina, and racing XC just wasn’t for me. In downhill, I love the “one and done” race feel, in addition to the fear factor and adrenaline rush from flying down a mountain.

 Do you remember how you felt on your first mountain bike ride?
Barely, I wish I did! I do remember feeling really excited to finally be out and pedaling, and setting small goals, and achieving them early on!

If you had nervousness at all, what do you do or think to overcome it?
Have a beer, haha. Okay, not the best advice, but really, it is mind over matter. I find that I need to do something that makes me nervous on my own time/when I am mentally ready. I also find that if I “own it” by talking about it, I am more likely to do said stressful thing.

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?
I use clipless pedals while riding cross-country, flats for DH.  love being clipped in when climbing. As far as beginner tips, I’d say practice on a flat, easy surface first- just don’t expect to ride the same trail in the same way clipped in. Practice  “putting out a cigarette” by unclipping quite a bit while sitting on the bike and holding on to a car or door etc. to stabilize yourself. Be prepared to fall because you can’t clip out on time. Learn to fall in a “good” way when you do. Make sure those cleats can be adjusted to a loose setting until you get the hang of it. The more you ride with clipless, the easier it is. I still see myself and friends just fall over because they can’t unclip sometimes, and it is funnyJ

On your Dirty Jane blog post, you said: “I need to (not maybe) gain more confidence, and clear a few troublesome areas and cobwebs out of my head. I had a few bad crashes last year that have rattled my confidence” How has that been going? What have you done to help yourself heal on a mental/emotional level? Any suggestions for others who have rattled themselves because of crashes?
I find that the more I ride, the more comfortable I become. As the season has progressed I have gone back to areas of the trail where I have had a crash, or issues, and have sessioned those spots that gave me trouble in the past. I have hit a few areas this year that have really made me proud. My husband likes to say “I moved up a few notches” this summer in terms of my DH style and riding ability, which makes me feel proud. Still lots to overcome though! I always want to grow as a rider- even if I reach pro, I know I will still want to work on things and perfect them! I find that helping newer riders, or those struggling with an area I’ve nailed down actually helps me out mentally too. I see how someone is unwilling to give up and desires to overcome their own obstacles, and am inspired.

How has training been going for sustaining a stronger pace while riding? Any suggestions/tips for this? 
Training has been something that I think will have to wait until winter, haha. I have been trying to ride more, but I am not sure if it qualifies as training. Each time I ride, whether XC or DH, I do set a goal though. So maybe on a XC ride, I might try to keep my average pace a 9.5 mph…or perhaps on a DH day, I might scout a new drop/ watch others hit it until I feel comfortable enough to try it. I am hoping that with winter approaching I can pick up some tips from other riders that race and train and blog about it!
Were you able to achieve IMBA Level 1? If yes, how did it feel to accomplish that goal?
No, unfortunately I did not. Money was tight this summer, and the training sessions I was considering were a little too far. That is on my goal list now for 2015! I am a teacher, and have parents coming to me sometimes to ask about training their son/daughter, so I am really excited to put that in the mix down the line!

What do you love about riding your bike?
Ah, there’s so much! As I mentioned earlier, just getting out to clear my head is why I love to ride. But, I love setting goals for myself and achieving them, and riding my bike makes setting goals very do-able. I love nature, animals, and the peace within. And so enjoying a sunset in the forest at the end of a ride is a killer way to live for me. Biking keeps me feeling young, spirited, and capable of doing anything I want.

Tell us about your bike(s), what they are like and why did you choose them?
I just sold my 2013 Specialized Status 2 downhill bike. It is a great bike, but a girl I ride with will now be her new owner! But, that Status. I loved it- all black and tricked out with purple ano Deity parts. I am lucky to be able to get a new Specialized Demo 8 very soon for the 2015 season. Pics and details to follow! But, I am sure the bike will be EPIC!

My current cross county bike is a 2013 Specialized Fate, which is a carbon hardtail designed for women. This thing climbs like no other! I added some Carbon Roval hoops, and love this bike. It is great for the XC trails I mainly ride- fast, twisty, flowy places like White Clay, DE. Not going to lie, I do miss riding full suspension sometimes, especially when I am on a techy trail, I am missing that. Luckily, my years of DH biking really help me out no matter what kind of bike I ride! I love having versatile bike skills thanks to so many years of riding.

My third bike is a DJ bike, a 2014 Specialized P26 am. This bike hasn’t seen much use; I think it might have a cobweb, or two;) But I plan to start hitting the pump track and indoor bike parks this winter! Jumping is my kryptonite! I’m terrible at it, and want to improve on jumping in the 2015 season!

What clothing/bike accessories do you love? What would you recommend to your friends?
As far as clothing, I really love Dakine and Zoic- they have some awesome DH and XC styles that aren’t too girly. Harlot had some cool lines too- looking forward to when they rebrand themselves next season. Troy Lee and Fly Racing make awesome DH moto pants and jerseys. Specialized has some spot on Motodiva clipless shoes, and Five Tens are so grippy for DH and Park, I love them, and couldn’t imagine riding without them!

Bikes definitely should project a bit of your style. Adding some new pedals, a seat clamp, or grips can really spice up your ride without costing too much. Deity has killer stuff!!

How did you hear about Dirty Jane and what inspired you to become a Dirty Jane Ambassador?
I saw Dirty Jane’s posts on Facebook, and was intrigued and visited their website. After reading the bios of some of their ambassadors, I was super impressed and inspired. I new that becoming a Jane would only further inspire me…so glad I took the chance and applied!

What do you feel deters women from getting involved with cycling? Especially mountain biking?
I think a support group is definitely missing. I was always lucky to have my boyfriend/husband to ride with. I am independent, and have no trouble riding alone. I do know a few women who currently hate to ride alone, and so they don’t get out as much.  Also, just word of mouth when it comes to clinics, etc. I wish more LBS would get involved with helping new riders out on the trail by way of clinics, not just with a purchase in their shop!

What do you feel could happen to make changes and/or encourage more women to ride?
More exposure for sure when it comes to women riders/racers. I bet that when girls check out great videos, photos, or podiums of lady riders they too will be inspired. I would like to see more opportunities for clinics in a number of areas geared towards women in all levels- beginner through advanced.

Why is it important to you to help encourage other women to ride?
It is important to me to encourage more women to ride because I know first hand the role my bike has been in being my therapist, my fitness coach, & my motivator in my life goals, and I would hate to see someone miss out on any of that without giving riding a chance!

Tell us a random fact about yourself!
My left eye is half green and half brown; my other eye is all green!