Nearly Five Years Later…

When I look back to when I was a child – let’s rewind to 10 years old – and was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I never uttered the words “public relations professional.” If I remember correctly, I said a veterinarian or a horse doctor. I loved animals and thought the career would be amazing. But in all honesty, it was mainly because I had absolutely no idea that there was such a thing as public relations.

Even in college I wasn’t entirely sure what a career in public relations meant, but I still went down that path. Now – fast forwarding a few years – after dabbling in event and sports marketing I look at my current role as a Senior Account Executive for Nevada’s largest PR agency. If someone would have told me that I would get to work in an industry that constantly challenges me to be creative, work on my writing (non-stop), offers unlimited networking possibilities and allows me to work with a variety of industries and clients that I love – I would have laughed.

I started working at Kirvin Doak Communications almost five years ago as an Account Coordinator – fresh out of graduate school with no real hands-on experience in the industry. The first few months went by and I jumped headfirst into everything and picked anyone’s brain that crossed my path. Now that I am here, I couldn’t imagine working in any other profession.

Instead of working with one field, I work in many different industries such as fine jewelry, music festivals, sporting events, rodeos, hotels, nonprofits, restaurants, gaming and more. I get to work on some of the most unique events from USA Sevens International Rugby Tournament, Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas, Life is Beautiful to grand openings for VSiN sports broadcasting studio with Brent Musburger, professional bowling tournament facilities and equestrian arenas – not to mention being part of the PR team for Tiffany & Co. I could go on but that isn’t what this blog is for.

It’s been an amazing 4.5 years in my career with KDC, packed with different experiences and projects that have helped developed me as a public relations professional. So for those of you that are wondering what it is that we do, here are the top five things I’ve learned so far:

  • There Is No Such Thing as a Typical Day –I am always being asked “What do you really do during your day” and “What does a typical day look like for you?” I ask myself that question multiple times as well. In short, there is no such thing as a typical day. Of course there are days you do the same activities like reading the headlines on the major media outlets in your area or looking for trending topics on social media, checking emails and clipping. But then there are the other days where you attend a client TV segment, assist with a grand opening, coordinate a ribbon cutting, draft endless pitches and pitch grids, write a statement, search high and low for editorial calendars, respond to countless emails or write a press release. Every day is different and that’s part of what makes this profession so interesting.
  • I Hope You Look Good In Hats… Because We Wear A Lot of Hats – Outside of my one baseball hat – I have never found a good hat for my head. I had to quickly learn that it doesn’t matter how you look in the hat – be prepared to wear it because it is a necessity in public relations. We wear a lot of hats in this industry. Yes, writing is a key component to being successful but there are so many different facets that help to enhance the plans we build and the strategies we execute. From event planning, media relations, social media or advertising – it is important to understand and be able to apply these areas to your plans in order to best serve your clients needs.
  • RESEARCH – The worst thing you could absolutely do when working with media is to NOT do your homework. You need to know every possible detail about the media – what they write about and what they have written about, who they write for… you could even go as far as hobbies and where they live (but don’t make it creepy). This is all very important information that you need to consider before you reach out to media – it could make or break your relationship and even a potentially really good opportunity for a client. Research not only allows media to take you seriously (and shows that you are invested) but also ensures that your pitch is getting to the right contact. 
  • Get Out There and Network – Being in Las Vegas there are so many different industries and networking opportunities. From day one it was drilled into my head that I need to get out there and connect with people, attend events and build relationships. It doesn’t matter if it is with someone in the media, casino industry or a non-profit organization. Almost five years later and this has still been the best advice my former boss could have given me. So now it’s my turn to say… step out of your comfort zone, introduce yourself and stand out. Growing professional relationships has made huge impact for me in this profession – I have made some amazing connections and relationships. In short, make your presence known because at the end of the day you are likely to work with that person in the near future. 
  • Never Be Afraid to Ask Questions – I would like to say the biggest thing I learned my first six months is how important it is to ask questions and take advantage of the knowledge your co-workers offer. At times I swore I bugged my superiors and colleagues with the endless amount of questions I asked. But if I didn’t ask – how else would I learn? I come into work each day and am surrounded by professionals that all bring different backgrounds and perspectives to the table. I would be an idiot if I didn’t’ take advantage of their knowledge. Each of us started in the same position, wide-eyed and no clue what we are doing and 9 chances out of 10 we have all faced similar – if not the same – challenges. Did I have the fear that I would make myself look stupid and unfit for my job – yes. But, it is important to ask questions, pick brains and seek help if you need it. At the end of the day, we are not just a firm but a team. Be a sponge, asking questions and seeking guidance is essential – not only for the good of the client or the company you work for but to help you develop into a professional.

While I only highlighted 5 things I have learned, I assure you the list could go on. Every day is a new day and brings new challenges, experiences and revelations. I am sure a lot of professions are like that but I am glad that my path took me this direction; otherwise, I would have missed out on so many of the amazing opportunities that I have been able to experience and be part of.  Last thought of the blog… I am curious to what I will say when I look back 5 years from now and what I may have to add to the list.

 

Submitted by Jaclyn Dadas

5 Resources for Non-designers to Create Beautiful Graphics

One of the best parts of working in public relations is you quickly become an expert in a little bit of everything. In my first six months at Kirvin Doak Communications I’ve had to learn about retail, NASCAR, construction, homelessness, hospitality, adult beverages and more. As a self-proclaimed life-long learner, I get excited coming into work knowing there is always something new to learn.

As the PR industry moves more into the digital space, it is becoming more apparent that professionals need to learn a little about graphic design. Whether you are managing social media for a client or drafting an infographic to accompany a press release, PR professionals should be able to create stunning visuals.

Here are five resources to turn any PR professional into a fake-it-til-you-make-it designer.

Canva

Cavna is my go-to anytime I need to design something, especially if it needs to be done quickly. It provides many templates from social media posts to invitations to flyers that make it simple for any non-designer to create graphics. Each template has pre-made designs where users can fill in information to make it customized for their needs. The platform is easy to navigate and offers many free elements, allowing professionals to create beautiful designs while staying in budget.

Unsplash

Unsplash offers free high-resolution photos licensed under Creative Commons Zero meaning you can use the photos, even for commercial purposes, without asking permission or providing attribution to the photographer. The photos are always beautiful and make for perfect backgrounds for a Monday Motivation social media post.

Color Hunt

One of the biggest challenges for non-designers is using color in a visually appealing way. Color Hunt takes the guesswork out of choosing colors by offering hundreds of color palettes. Just pick a palette you like and hover over each of the colors to find the Hex Color Code.

Bonus: Adobe Kuler

If you want to create your own color palette using an image, you can upload it to Adobe Kuler. It will guide you through choosing your own colors that are found in the photo.

Hubspot: Phone Photography 101

Hubspot provides great content to marketers through their blog. This post outlines how to take good photos with your phone. It is a great read for anyone looking to step up their photography game using tools they already have.

Buffer: 53 Design Terms and Tips to Level-Up

Buffer Social also provides marketers with tips on their blog. This post is a crash course in good design. It goes into detail of commonly used terms that can help non-designers learn more about how to create good images.

With these tools PR professionals can easily create graphics quickly that will impress clients.

Submitted by ~ Emily Ronquillo

How to Successfully #Adult as a Twenty-Something

Wouldn’t it be great if someone wrote a personalized how-to guide to surviving your twenties? Until that happens, here are a couple of helpful tips for transitioning from a twenty-something college student into a twenty-something adult.

Set Goals

Where do you want to be in one year, five years, or ten years? From finding financial stability to earning a promotion at work, writing down your personal goals plays a huge part in setting yourself up for success. It’s important to be realistic with your goals and make them manageable. (There goes my goal of getting married to Charlie Hunnam by the time I turn 25. A girl can dream, right?) Setting goals and crafting a clear vision will make it that much easier to get where you want to go, even if you’re not quite sure where that is.

Get Organized

Try out different methods of organization like color-coding or building lists. Altering your methods of organization can help improve your overall mental clarity. P.S. Please throw away that empty Starbucks cup on your desk and file that stack of papers you’ve been hanging onto for weeks. Physical organization is equally as important as mental organization.

Morning Routine

Along with exercise and getting enough sleep, having a morning routine is key to starting the day off right. Waking up at the same time, heading to spin class and making sure I get (at least one) cup of coffee before heading to work are all things that help keep me on track.

Live Well

It’s important to live well (or at least try to). – Never skip a workout. Drink a lot of water. Read as many books as possible. Eat well most of the time. Sleep when you need it. Do yoga and meditate. Socialize. Find a passion. Talk to your coworkers. Have fun. Even if you have to fake that stuff until you find a routine that works best for you, do it.

Accept Failure

Failure is an inevitable part of life. It’s important as a twenty-something to learn to accept and embrace failure. When you stretch outside your comfort zone, you’re growing and developing as a person. Failure is not a bad thing, as long as you learn from it.

To sum up my experience as an #adultish twenty-something – it’s 70% getting it completely wrong, 30% getting it right and ALWAYS giving it 100% effort.

 

 

The Beginner’s Guide to Getting What You Want

I should probably put a disclaimer here; I may not be a complete beginner at getting what I want. I am an only child, after all. This is, however, the first year of my life that I feel even remotely qualified to be giving advice on achieving things in a professional capacity.  I accomplished a lot in 2016 that I’m quite proud of. So please, read on for some random, completely unsolicited advice on getting what you want, as told by someone who just recently got good at it.

On Moving

Moving: hard? Yes. Fun? Also yes. If there’s one thing I’m good at, It’s moving (not at moving heavy objects, though, I’m very weak). I’ve moved across the country twice and across the continent once. Up until 2014 I prided myself on being able to fit everything I owned into my Hyundai Santa Fe, including a seventy pound German Shepherd. I’ve been meaning to look into my ancestry for nomadic bloodlines, but I digress. Don’t be afraid to move. Everyone needs to experience life in a brand new place at least once. Maybe you’ll hate that brand new place and move back, but the experience will give you a new perspective. Moving eight million times has given me great peace of mind in knowing that Las Vegas is where I’m supposed to be. Moral of the story: Don’t get stuck. If you don’t like where you’re at, move. Find your happy place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Stress

Stress isn’t fun, but it seems to be highly correlated with success. For the first half of 2016, I found myself taking a full college course load while planning a cross country move, searching for apartments, searching for internships, making sure I was on track to graduate after said internship, oh and PLANNING A WEDDING. I worked myself into a stress frenzy after applying to each internship, imagining how each one could take my life and career down a completely different path (and developed a deep, deep hatred of cover letters).  Cut to summer 2016, while I worked an 8-4 internship, served on nights and weekends (Shout-out LVCVA and Pub 365!), applied for jobs, all while still planning that darn wedding! Cut to 2017, I am happily married and graduated, working a job I love in a city that I love. These days the stress I experience is of the healthy variety induced by responsibilities in work and life.  Moral of the Story: Overwhelming stress means you’re on the way to getting where you want to go. Embrace it, knowing that it means success is on the horizon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Is she cheering because she got just married, or because she’s done wedding planning? It’s hard to say.)

On Age

Did I think I was going to get married at 23 years old? Absolutely not. I watched way too much “Sex and the City” growing up to even fathom that finding a healthy, happy relationship could be accomplished at a young age. No sir, my twenties were surely going to be filled with a series of complicated relationships, and my apartment was definitley going to have a fire escape.  I managed to wrap my head around settling down at a young age, but it was oddly hard for strangers and acquaintances to do the same. I heard opinions from plenty of people that barely knew me that I was too young to get married. Try to tell me I’m not mature enough to own a house by 24, I dare ya. Moral of the story: Don’t listen to people who are only inserting their opinions because they want you to conform to the status quo. Go with your gut, even if it’s taking you down a slightly unconventional route (although it could be argued that marriage and home ownership are the most conventional routes one could possibly go down).

 

 

 

 

 

 

(My favorite family picture)

On Underestimating Females

DO NOT DO THIS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. Females are powerful and stubborn yet nurturing creatures. You want them on your side. I feel incredibly lucky to have ended up working in an industry dominated by females I admire, and I’m only here because the females in my life cared enough to help me get ahead. Moral of the Story: #GirlPower.

The End?

I wish I had more chapters to add to this Beginner’s Guide, but this is solely based on my experience from the past year or so. To recap: Move across the country or across the world for a fresh perspective; Embrace stress; do NOT let acquaintances or society dictate how and when you should commit to something; and don’t underestimate the power of the Sisterhood.  I suppose it will be different for everyone, but keep these principles in mind, add your own, and you’ll be well on your way to living a lavish Mariah Carey-esque lifestyle that entails stairclimbing in stilettos and calling people “lambs” (if that’s what you’re into.)

~submitted by Kelsey Cooper

Love Letters From The Heart

When planning for my #TeamTerri February meeting, I decided to theme it ‘Lunch and Love Letters.”

We started the meeting with everyone sharing why they ‘love’ Kirvin Doak Communications. We got a lot of great responses and below are some of the highlights:

• “The clients we get to work with is why I love Kirvin Doak Communications.”
• “I love the work environment.”
• “I love who we work with…our co-workers.”
• I love Kirvin Doak Communications, because we are ‘The Best.’

It was great to hear the reasons that everyone loves Kirvin Doak Communications and for everyone to share and comment about each others’ reason.

I purchased a lot of arts and craft supplies for the staff to create a Valentine’s Day Card for whoever they thought needed it most. Was it their grandma, husband aunt, son, mom, sister or boyfriend? Whoever their card was for they dug in and went to work and let me tell you they could give Hallmark a run for their money. They were creative, thoughtful and caring in crafting their cards. During the process we shared childhood memories of Valentine’s Day in grade school and stories about that special person their card was for.

The bottom line is there isn’t anything like a handwritten note or love letter. The world needs more hand written love letters, thank you notes and simply because notes. Take the time today, Valentine’s Day and hand write a letter to someone who is important to you. Let them know how much they mean to you. Sometimes it is something so simple that will make the day of someone so important to you. Make the time. Find the time.

Make today the day you script words of love to a heart in need. Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

Pumpkin Picasso and the Shame of Adulting

Fall. The time of year when leaves turn shades of orange and red, brisk breezes ruffle scarves, boots are required and the smell of pumpkin wafts through the air…if you live somewhere else. Here in Vegas, fall means 80 degree weather, there are no trees to look at and the pumpkins are guarded by carnies. That doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate the autumn spirit though. Personally, this is my favorite time of year to embrace basic-ness by wearing Uggs (with shorts…I know, I know, judge away), eating everything pumpkin and getting caught up in major Pinterest envy.

Fall’s first gift to us: pumpkin carving time! My favorite part of this pastime is thinking about the amazing pumpkins I’m going to make and the memories I’ll create with my 6-year-old pseudo-step daughter, then remembering the mess that comes with pumpkin guts and being overwhelmed by the fear of giving a carving knife to a 6-year-old (how did our parents do it?). So instead I go to Pinterest for some easy, mess free ideas and see this:

starrynightpumpkin

(Photo courtesy of: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/466615211370559535/)

I’m sorry but…WHO CAN MAKE THIS? Where do these magical, crafty people live? I don’t even think Van Gough could do it. Cue that Pinterest envy I was talking about… I’m pretty sure my greatest pumpkin achievement looked more like this:

carvedpumpkins

(Photo courtesy of: http://askannamoseley.com/2014/09/how-to-make-carved-pumpkins-last-longer/)

The daunting task of pumpkin carving begins to weigh down on me. I remember Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin. I imagine myself as Linus, full of disappointment and sadness. I slowly descend into the five stages of grief.

Stage 1: Denial. No one can make pumpkins like this. They must be created in Photoshop and posted to make the rest of us doubt our skills. It simply isn’t real.

Stage 2: Anger. I am so mad about these pumpkins! I’m not carving them this year! It isn’t worth it! No one likes pumpkins anyway.

Stage 3: Bargaining. *Searches Pinterest, Etsy and other avenues for people who will make pumpkins for me* “Ummm… hi there. You don’t know me but would you be willing to make me a pumpkin and let me pass it off as my own? I’ll pay you…”

Stage 4: Depression. I’ll never be an adequate pumpkin carver. *tears begin to fall* It’s time to just give up. I am obviously not crafty enough to create these memories with my family. I’m crawling into bed until Christmas.

Stage 5: Acceptance. Buys a bunch of candy, makes an ugly pumpkin and then laughs when it begins to rot two days later. My 6-year-old lost interest half-way through anyway.

So, as you can see, pumpkin carving is the first emotional roller coaster of the holiday season. Luckily, post Jack-o-Lantern PTSD, we get all the pumpkin pie, candy and treats that we want as we prepare for Thanksgiving.

Which brings me to my next question…does anyone actually know how to cook a whole turkey?!

~Submitted By Lisa Forrest

Wait, this isn’t the Olympics!

If my diary from when I was eight were correct, I should be touring the world after winning my Olympic medal by now. It would also say I should be married to Aaron Carter, but that’s beside the point.

I spent a third of my life waking up before the sun, lacing up my ice skating boots, and combing my bangs straight with a single dream: to stand on the podium with a gold medal. Competitive figure skating is not like your regular extracurricular sport where you can come and go as you please. For a third of my life I ate, slept and breathed for ice skating. You could find me (and my mom) on that ice year-round before and after school, on the weekends and on holidays. From the moment I touched the ice I was absolutely enamored with it.  But things got more complicated as I got older. The things I wanted and needed, skating didn’t offer me anymore so I said goodbye to the skating life.

What I didn’t realize at the time was how all those years of ice skating has made me a better adult and given me so many lessons I could apply to every area of my life, even today.

Things Ice Skating Taught Me:

Before you get anything right, you’re going to fall A LOT. When I was younger the only way I learned a new skill was to figure out why I was falling so much. In fact, you knew you were close to greatness when you had bruises and an icy cold, soggy bottom. (Thankfully that last part doesn’t apply anymore).

When you find a mentor, trust them. I don’t mean this in a ‘jump off the cliff if they tell you’ way either. Mentors are humans too, but their hindsight can be your foresight. Skaters were nothing without their coaches, and the coach reflected on the skater. The same can be said for our managers as adults.

Hold onto the “why” of what you’re doing. There are days when every little thing goes wrong all day and the possibility of you turning on a dime and running out of the door grows exponentially as every hour passes. Sometimes the best solution is to take a minute and remember why you are here and why you loved what you’re doing in the first place.

 The more experiences you can get, the better human you will be. At school, I was surrounded by people who were all very similar to me and usually fell in at least two of the following categories: southern, conservative, wealthy and religious. Without my friends that I had made from skating, I am scared to think of the kind of person I would be today. I try to do activities and choose experiences that expose me to all kinds of people, passions and places. A great example is that time I moved 1, 204 miles away from home by myself to work in a city I’d never been to. 😉

So, I’ll leave you with something I think eight year old me would’ve written down in her diary: Maybe sometimes the best things in life can’t be hung on a string or tied around your neck.

Also, I think she would tell me not to give up on that Aaron Carter thing.

paige_skating

~Submitted by:  Paige Adams

5 Ways to Stay Friends After College

friends-blog-title

At Southern Utah University I got more than two college degrees and six years of memories. I found my closest friends, my soul mates. I found people that shared my interests, my intellect and my humor. We are there for each other for everything from celebrating professional achievements to heartbreaks to marriage and having kids. These people will be my friends for the rest of my life, but only if we put in the effort.

friends-blog-1

When I was getting ready to leave college I was scared of losing all of my friends. I’ve never been good at keeping up with people at a distance because they were out of sight and out of mind. I have let so many people walk out of my life simply because neither of us put in the effort to stay in touch. When I graduated from college, my friends and I vowed to stay in contact and so far it is going well. These are my tips on how to stay in contact with your friends, even when you live on opposite sides of the country.

Pick up the phone – One of my favorite ways to stay in contact with my friends is through a phone call because it is much more personal than sending a text. Texting is great, don’t get me wrong, but hearing your friend’s voice on the phone is so much more satisfying. I typically call a different friend every day on my drive home from work.

friends-blog-2Send a card/letter/package in the mail – When I was a kid I loved getting mail, but that’s because I didn’t know about bills yet. Don’t let your friends’ mailboxes turn into bill-boxes. I have so many different types of cards and stationary that I could send my friends a different card each day of the month without sending the same card twice. It’s a cute and unexpected way to let your friends know you’re thinking of them.

Use social media – Do we have full conversations on Twitter? No, because we aren’t 14 anymore. But, if I see something that reminds me of someone, I’ll send it them. Some people argue social media is impersonal, but who are we kidding? If we were still living together we would just be sitting in the living room showing each other the funny things we found online.

Plan trips together – My friends and I haven’t done this yet (because we’ve only been apart for four months), but we want to go on a yearly vacation together. Our plan right now is to have each of us host a trip in our own city. So one year, my friends will visit me in Las Vegas and then we’ll go to North Carolina, etc.

Be spontaneous – Sometimes you just need to be surrounded by your friends. My best friends-blog-3friend is living in South Bend, Indiana while her husband is working on his PhD. at the University of Notre Dame. Friday of Labor Day weekend I was driving home from work and I thought to myself, “I really want to go visit them.” Twelve hours later I was at the airport and I couldn’t have been happier with my decision. The trip was short, but spending two days with my best friend, her husband and their baby was the perfect weekend getaway.

Staying friends with people that live in different time zone is difficult because the best friendships are the ones that seem effortless. Suddenly, you need to put in a lot of effort. These are people that I could sit in a room with and do nothing while being perfectly content. When you move away you realize that you miss things like making margaritas and watching Broadway musicals at 11 p.m. or going on night hikes to watch the moonrise. Being away from friends isn’t easy, but if you know how to stay in contact, it will be worth it.

friends-blog-4

Submitted by – Emily Ronquillo

Best Spots for Live Music in Vegas

I’m not good at sticking with hobbies; I never have been…my attention span is ENTIRELY too short for knitting, fencing or playing piano. But one “hobby” I have been unable to shake is going to concerts and music festivals. Excessively. And I’m not ashamed to say that “Lost in music” is my happy place (hey Instagram – can I get a location tag?).

From the Empire Polo Field in Indio to The Independent in San Francisco, good venues are aplenty on the west coast. I heard 2016 was going to be a big year for music in Vegas and I was a wee skeptical, but with Life Is Beautiful returning for its “senior year” and live venues absolutely THRIVING all over town, I’m a believer. Let’s explore a few of my favorite places to lose myself, shall we?

Foundry at SLS

DanReynoldsFoundry

 

 

 

 

 

(PC: @GlobalMediaGroup)

This space inside SLS Las Vegas was formerly LiFE, but let me tell ya – the recent revamp is the REAL breath of life to the venue. It may be less than a year old, but the nightlife team is KILLIN’ it with the acts! From AWOLNATION on opening night to a surprise Dan Reynolds appearance during X-Ambassadors, Savoir Adore meet & greets and an upcoming Against ME! show later this year, they are #winning.

Brooklyn Bowl at The LINQ

BBowl

 

 

I’ve been to this venue more times than I can count, and for good reason. There’s something SO SPECIAL about a large venue capturing such an intimate vibe – Brooklyn Bowl does it well. Modeled after the original Brooklyn Bowl in (you guessed it) Brooklyn, this is a concert venue – bar – bowling alley – restaurant hybrid. Totally revolutionary, totally impressive. The sound system and lighting rigs are a force to be reckoned with, and can I give a quick shout out to whoever books the talent?! Portugal. The Man, The Roots, Silversun Pickups…The Offspring?! YAS. Plus, where else can you take a chicken fingers break mid-set while still maintaining an awesome view of the stage? Nowhere. Bravo, B-Bowl, bravo.

Bunkhouse Saloon

BunkhouseSaloon

(PC: @bunkhouse_saloon)

 

“Though she be but little, she is fierce.” This quote PERFECTLY sums up this hidden gem of Downtown Las Vegas. With a max capacity of 250, Bunkhouse has booked gigs for bands of all walks of life: We Are Scientists, Built To Spill, Ra Ra Riot, MSTRKRFT – the list goes on. However, potentially the most impressive was The Killers’ pop-up concert immediately after opening the T-Mobile Arena back in April. And yes, I pulled myself out of bed at 11:50 p.m. on a school night to attend. There was no doubt the indoor space was going to hit capacity, so the Bunkhouse team planned for a live streaming screen out in the yard to accommodate everyone! Added bonus: The good folks at Zappos arranged for complimentary White Castle catering (Thank you, Based God). Long story short, Bunkhouse Saloon is FULL of surprises & keeps me coming back for more. I’m. Hooked.

Thanks for listening to me ramble on about my favorite pastime…See you on the dance floor?!

Submitted by : Shaina Chambers, Social Media Coordinator

“Life’s a Climb”

My coworkers are going to be shocked when they read this. I’m sure they have no idea that I’m a mountain biker. When I’m not busy crafting clever captions for clients or engaging in stimulating conversation on Twitter, I love to head outdoors and soak up as much nature as I can get. I love all things that involve the outdoors, but my newest passion is mountain biking.

As addictive as cocaine and twice as expensive, or so I’m told (about the first part!) riding is thrilling, and at times, scary. As of this August I will officially have been mountain biking for one year and here are a few lessons I’ve learned along the way.

  1. “When in doubt, pedal it out.” Whenever I feel anxious or stressed, going for a ride is one of the best ways to work through whatever is bothering me and get my head right. Whether climbing a hill or grinding out a long pedal, there comes a point when your groaning muscles and weariness subsides, and you find yourself breathing and turning the cranks in perfect harmony while listening to the soft, rhythmic whir of the wheels. The headaches of the day fade away and nothing enters your thoughts except the colors and sounds of nature for the rest of the journey. On any given day you’re only one bike ride away from a good mood. Bonus: I sleep great after a hard ride!
  2. Mountain bikers are some of the friendliest, realest people you will ever meet. The crew I ride with is filled with some nationally ranked shredders and lots of guys, and from my first slow-paced, apprehensive ride they have been nothing but encouraging, supportive and FUN. Along the way I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting some amazing women that have blazed an impressive trail ahead of me. These type of people are not limited to your local riding scene either. Each time I ride in unexplored territory I meet new, like-minded people and now have a network of friends that ranges all over the southwest. I say the southwest only because I haven’t ridden outside the area yet. But I will! Each October my husband and I head to Virgin, UT for the pinnacle of adrenaline pumping events, the Red Bull Rampage freeride competition. We’ve been camping with the same people we randomly met the first time we attended and now look forward to those days we spend together all year long. These people are my tribe. We mesh.
  3. The meaning of “if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you” can be found in the sport of mountain biking. I have fallen more times than I can count, have bruised muscles I didn’t know existed, and donated blood to many trails. Mountain biking challenges you physically but I would argue that it challenges you more mentally. I’ve put in the research and trust me when I say I’ve learned the hard way that slowing down or grabbing a handful of brakes is the quickest route to crashing. Letting go of your fears of crashing, of falling off a narrow trail, or of attempting a front wheel lift over a boulder while pedaling uphill, determines whether you shred the trail or you fail. You should always challenge yourself to ride at your best and there’s always another hill, another obstacle or a new technical section of gnar to tackle. I’ve learned to take calculated risks, that I can do more than I think I can if I don’t overanalyze and panic, and you know what? Despite the bruises, I’m having the time of my life along the ride.

The list of lessons mountain biking can teach you is endless, but that’s another blog, maybe even a book. So I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes and the knowledge that if you ever need a riding partner or someone to watch Rampage videos with, I’m your huckleberry.

“May your trails be crooked, winding, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.” – Edward Abbey

Submitted by – Aimee Wenske, Social Media Coordinator