Life is short – ride bikes.

“You just rode with a couple of the best lady mountain bikers around here,” beams my boyfriend with a proud smile.  He is referring to Jacque Ball and Cat Ambrose whom we coincidently encountered on our late afternoon ride.  “Oh, I know.” I thought.  Ball and Ambrose ride for the Yeti Beti Women’s Mountain Bike Team and have long been a focus of admiration for their light-hearted, friendly yet competitive vision of women’s riding.  They laugh a lot and engage other women to get out on their bikes in a motivating and empowering way. (The Beti Bike Bash)  I asked Ball how she got involved with the Yeti Betis,  I stalked our team manager, Amy Thomas and made her laugh. I knew she just couldn’t resist my charm and wit.  Seriously, I really liked the message the team put out there and wanted to be a part of it.  Cat Ambrose and I applied and we Jedi mind tricked them into taking us on.”

Jacque Ball Cycle Effect Team

Ball is also a volunteer coach for the Summit Cycle Effect Team and Coach Jaime Brede.  As a coach, Ball is dedicated, focused and expects a lot.  Do you see cycling taking off for women?  Absolutely.  There are so many more women on bikes than when I started.  Not to mention, the level of riding – ladies are just crushing it out there!  It’s so rewarding and I really love being a part of the progression I see in younger girls and new female riders.”

Ball didn’t start riding mountain bikes until 2001. Prior to that, she played competitive women’s soccer for 25 years.I played competitive soccer for about 25 years.  After my seventh knee surgery, I had to give it up but I was lucky enough to be playing semi-pro which was the highest level available at the time.  I still have dreams about playing – I miss it that much.”  A friend then introduced her to mountain biking in Soquel Demonstration Forest, Santa Cruz and she was hooked.We didn’t want to give up the mental and physical aspects that playing soccer at that level provided but needed something that wasn’t so hard on the joints.  I had been on a mountain bike some for knee rehab in years past but she influenced me to take it to a whole different level.  I am forever grateful that she took me there.”

Ball’s goals are still the same, stay healthy and have fun.  After a string of injuries and illnesses over the past three years, she is back and motivated. I’m a mover.  I’m good at being still but I really do like to move.  I read an article a while back and the author talked about the art of aging.  He said he keeps moving because running water doesn’t freeze.  Those are words I truly live by and are my motivation for sure.” 

headshot ball-6If you are ever out riding with Ball and friends, at first glance, you might think they are sassy twenty-somethings heckling each other with raunchy slang and sprinkled with “yo dawg” followed by a fit of laughter, but look again, these riders are strong, successful, beautiful, women who are just out to have some fun. What makes you smile?  Friends, friends, friends and our great community.  Oh, and riding downhill as fast as I possibly can.  Can’t wipe the grin off my face.“  says Ball.  Ball and Ambrose have signed up for the Firecracker 50 in July and Ball looks forward to the Summit Mountain Challenge, Peaks Trail Time Trial on August 24th. It’s so fun to ride with little foot traffic, plus that downhill as fast as I can thing…yea, love that.”

Ball rides the super sweet Yeti Beti SB5c, It is hands down the most fun bike I’ve ever ridden without a motor.” 

I asked Ball what was the best advice she has ever received, Relax and breathe.  Once I started doing those two things I actually got better.  Same holds true to just about everything in life.  I don’t recall who actually gave me that advice but something I always try and remember to do.  Relax and breathe – I’m doing it right now.  Ahhhh.” 

And one piece of advice she would give to women riders who are considering mountain bike racing, Don’t forget to have fun.  Once it stops being fun, it isn’t worth doing.  Of course, you have good and bad days but fun is the name of the game,” then adds, You’ve probably figured out that the general theme here is having fun, so I do my best to have as much of it as I can.  Life is short – ride bikes.  I think I saw that on a t-shirt somewhere.”

When Jacque isn’t riding, she lives in Breckenridge with her husband Greg and their dog Jasper. She is a Kitchen and Cabinet Designer with Creative Cabinetry in Breckenridge.