I don’t remember not being on a bike. I was the third child—and the first girl—and grew up playing football. I was one of the guys, and if my mom couldn’t find me, she’d look up the nearest tree.

I was always riding over lawns and in the woods. In high school, I was captain of the soccer team, was on the swim team, and softball team. I was a very jock-type person. I have always been athletic. I also like kayaking.

Then I acquired the taste for mountain biking, which is basically trail-riding in the woods. It is wonderful…and at age 48, one of my favorite things to do. There are not a lot of girls who do it, and it was an instant attraction.

Susan Georgia mountain bikes the Grand Canyon rim—2008

Susan Georgia mountain bikes the Grand Canyon rim—2008

I work in a doctor’s office, and I often arrived with my bike in the car. At the end of the day, I would ride on a level trail around a nearby pond.

My love for the sport really picked up after I met Gary four years ago. He is 56 now and has been riding seriously for a long time—doesn’t even get on a road bike unless he’s going for at least 50 miles.

Anyway he introduced me to much more aggressive mountain biking, which involves steeper trails with lots of rocks and tree roots. The rides are longer, say 15 miles, and the biking is more technical.

I am on the bike once or twice each week after work and every weekend. Then every couple of years, I take a big trip.

Last year I mountain biked on the north rim of the Grand Canyon. I was in a group of 13 people, and coincidentally, all but one of us is in the medical profession. There was one other lady—an OR (operating room) nurse older than me. She was a very good rider.

In the beginning I actually was nervous. I mean if you make a mistake, you can easily fall over the cliff. The trail is very close to the rim.

The first time I was teetering, I got off my bike and walked. But by the end of the five days, I rode the whole time. You get confidence in yourself and your skill. Sure you can hit a rock or a big root, you can skid, and then fall over the edge.

So I don’t take huge chances. Sometimes I walk over a jump. I’m a single mother with an 8-year-old son who is autistic. I have a little guy depending on me.

My friend Margie is 38 and competes. When you do that, all concerns for safety go out the window. You just want to win. She’s a personal trainer exercising 24/7. I just want to have a good time, and don’t compete.

One time I was at Nassahegan (mountain biking trails) in Burlington CT. There were about eight of us, and I was the only girl. I was proud to be ahead of some of the guys. It’s kind of fun. But I know those trails.

When I ride on the road, I do 50 to 100 miles at a time. It’s not that easy for me, but I can do it, usually for charity. I especially Ride for Autism, pay a little bit and raise money from others too.

All the riding keeps me in shape. I’m not muscular now, but used to be. I have a Bowflex at home that I use now and then for arms and legs.

My mountain bike is a Kona that sells for $2000, although I bought it on ebay for $700. It weighs about 32 pounds and has full suspension, shocks in front and back. The lighter the better. My brother has the light one, about 20 pounds. Those cost around $4000.

I am already planning for the big trip next year. Maybe a week long in Moab, Utah…