Women on Bikes Series: Staci Nash

Hi!! My name is Staci Nash, I am 27 years old and currently live in Anaheim Hills, Ca with my husband.

I grew up playing soccer and made the switch to running cross country/track my freshman year of high school.

I ended up receiving a scholarship to the University of Colorado at Boulder and finished my last year of eligibility at Azusa Pacific University, where I won 2 NCAA D2 titles in the mile and 1500 meters and met my husband. Currently, I am working at my family’s company, Crane Rental Service, where I am the office manager.

Although I love my job, when I stopped running I needed some sort of competitive activity back in my life (I am a VERY competitive person). My best friend was really into mountain biking and she convinced me to buy a road bike because a mountain bike might be a little much for a first-time cyclist. However, I wasn’t in love with it and ended up getting a mountain bike seven months later.

I got my first mountain bike May 2016 and 10 days later I was racing at our local summer race series called Over the Hump and haven’t stopped racing since. Last year I raced half the year in CAT 2 and decided to move up to Cat 1 where I finished the year racing at Nationals and getting 3rd in XC and 5th in short track. I was not pleased with my performance and knew I had to do a lot more if I wanted to win. This year I joined an amazing team called “Team Baghouse” and one of my friends started coaching me. Much to my surprise, I ended up winning Marathon Nationals in the Cat 1 19-29 age group, I don’t think I have ridden that far in my life! A couple months after marathon nats I flew out to West Virginia for XC nats where I won my age group, Cat 1 25-29 and got 5th in 17+ Short track. I finished this season and wished I knew about this sport while I was growing up! The mountain bike community has been so supportive and helpful; they have made it possible to accomplish my dreams. My goal is to be able to support young riders and help get more girls into the sport one day!

Instagram is @staciimafosterkid
Tell us about your introduction to mountain biking, what about it made you say "Yes! This is for me!"
I purchased a mountain bike hoping it would be more fun than road biking and since that day I haven’t stopped riding my mountain bike! I knew mountain biking was for me because of how competitive I could be at this sport and how challenging it was. Ten days after purchasing my mountain bike I entered into our local Over the Hump weekly MTB race series. During that race I thought to myself holy crap this is painful but why didn’t I start this sport sooner?! I was so in love.

When you bought your first mountain bike, what did you do to ensure you got the right bike to meet your needs?
I wanted to make sure I got a somewhat light full-suspension carbon bike so I was able to enjoy the sport right from the start! I didn’t want to go out there on a 50 pound bike on steep hills and absolutely hate it. My first bike was a black/pink specialized era and I was so obsessed ☺

When you started out riding, what were some handling skills that challenged you? Do you have any suggestions for what helped you grasp them?
The handling skill that challenged me the most when I started riding was this trail called chutes and it has this chunky downhill rock section at the top that I was mortified to do! I was finally able to grasp it by getting off my bike, checking out the trail, lowering my seat post and finally riding it when no one was looking, it takes most the pressure off for me.

Are there still handling or technical riding aspects that you find tricky? How do you not let that drag you down when riding?
The one riding aspect that I still find tricky is uphill, slow rocky sections. Most of the time I freak myself out and unclip before I even get to the challenging part. I try to overcome the tricky sections by building my confidence and telling myself to not stop pedaling and most the time I end up making it ☺

For folks who are nervous about giving mountain biking a shot, do you have any suggestions on how they can go about creating a positive experience?
Just have fun with it! If you get nervous about a section, get off your bike and walk it. If you are getting too tired, go home and do it again the next day. Each day on the bike gets easier and easier. When I first got my mountain bike I was hysterically laughing at myself because I had to walk every trail, fast-forward a couple weeks and I could ride it all. You just need to be consistent, find a group of people to ride with and mountain biking is such a blast!
Clips or flats? What do you use when and why?
100% Clips! I wouldn’t be able to function without them. I have been using them since day 1 and they help me climb and descend fast.

Have you had any biffs (accidents) that were challenging for you on a physical/mental/emotional level? What did you do to heal and overcome?
YES! My first year riding I could not stop falling but one crash that was very challenging for me was this past February at a race in Arizona called the Cactus Cup. There was a group of 6 girls and I was at the back and these 2 guys kept yo-yoing with us, 30 miles in one of them thought it was a really great idea to pass us on a super rocky fast downhill, he clipped my bars and I went flying over my handle bars. I laid down for a minute and thought I broke every bone in my body but quickly realized I was still in the middle of a race and got up and finished the race. For me I was most bummed about the fact that I felt so good and was sticking with those girls, and that I had scrapes all over me. I got over it pretty quickly when my coach kept reminding me that it was just a race and to focus on the next one.

What do you love about riding your bike?
The thrill of it and all the trails I am able to explore! I love being able to fly downhills and grind the uphill’s, but mostly I love the competitiveness of it.

Tell us about your first mountain bike race! What was the experience like?
IT WAS A BLAST!!! My first race was 10 days after I bought my first mountain bike at our local summer weekly race series called Over the Hump. There were about 500 people on the course at once which was very overwhelming for my first time but everyone was so sweet and supportive. I haven’t stopped racing since that day!

Since your first event, you've gone on to participate in Nationals, what did you enjoy about your experience this season?
I enjoyed being able to share my accomplishments with the people who support me daily! My first year racing I was on my own and wasn’t really supported by anyone. This year I was able to enjoy it all with my team, husband, coach, family and those who train with me. I also enjoyed having teammates at races, I didn’t realize how much of a difference this makes but it was a blast having support throughout the weekend and in my races.

For folks new to bike racing, can you elaborate on the Cat 1/2/3 categories and what those mean?
Mountain bike racing is broken up into three categories Cat 1/2/3. I would describe it best as Cat 3 would be those just starting out to mountain bike racing, Cat 2 would be more of intermediate class and Cat 1 would be considered advanced, one step down from the pro level.

Tell us more about Team Baghouse and why you enjoy being part of a cycling team-
This was my first year on a team and it was such a positive experience. Team Baghouse was a constant support system all year and helped me attend some big MTB races! I couldn’t have achieved anything I did this year without them. At marathon and XC nationals, my teammates were constantly helping me get my bike dialed, pre-riding the course with me and encouraging me.

Why do you feel should folks try at least one mountain bike event?
They are such a blast and you get to hang out with people who love mountain biking as much as you! Definitely no pressure to race, but you can always go out there have fun and meet some new people in the sport.

What are your goals for 2019?
Defend my marathon and XC national titles
Race Leadville
Win Sea Otter
Help get more girls on bikes!

Tell us about your bike(s), what they are like and why did you choose them?
I have a 2018 S-Works Epic and 2017 Specialized Epic Hardtail! I raced my hardtail almost all year, I chose that bike because of its pretty color (pink/orange fade) and how super light and fast it is. My full-suspension Epic is even more amazing! It has a rad paint job and one of the lightest full suspension frames in the industry. Both of my Epics have suspension with Brain technology that keeps my suspension firm when I need it but will automatically open when I hit a bump. I also like that I don’t need to worry about lockouts and that I can focus on my riding.

What do you feel deters women from getting involved with cycling? Especially mountain biking?
The price of getting involved in the sport is pretty outrageous. It is hard to spend all this money on mountain bikes and equipment if you don’t know if you will love it 6 months from now.

What do you feel could change industry-wise or locally to encourage more women to be involved?
Industry wise I believe they are really trying to get more women on bikes and giving them support, Ten Speed Hero x Specialized Cyclocross team for example! They could continue encouraging more women to get involved by creating more teams, once you reach a certain level you really run out of support and honestly there aren’t enough women teams in mountain biking.

What inspires you to encourage women to ride?
Being able to show other women the positive impact riding has on our lives! I believe it is such an awesome way to get to know other women in the community and to laugh and have fun all while riding our bikes. I would love for more women to experience that ☺

Tell us a random fact about yourself!
I was at Cross Country running practice my sophomore year of college at the University of Colorado at Boulder and a sheep dog was chasing a car and was running right for me, it hit me and I tore my MCL. Pretty random!!