Living a life without limits

By Nicole Marsel

Much like the character of Merida from the movie “Brave,” Teal Stetson-Lee is courageous, daring, helps others conquer their fears and has a great head of hair. Those are very rare qualities to come across in one single person these days. She’s also a complete badass when it comes to enduro mountain bike racing and cyclocross racing. When I moved to Tahoe, mountain biking was only natural to pick up. While you visit, perhaps you could follow Teal’s lead and push yourself to the next level in America’s all-season playground!

it’s always worth taking the risk and having that experience”

A woman changing gears

Enduro mountain biking and cyclocross are two completely different worlds, but Teal makes the cross between these two male-dominated sports seem like a walk in the park. Both sports are high intensity where you’re putting in a lot of power in a short period of time pedaling — similar to sprinting as hard as you can for a relatively short period of time. With enduro mountain biking, you’re timed more on the downhill part of the race than the uphill. And with cyclocross you are timed the entire race which is full of all sorts of different features both up hill, down hill and even picking your bike up to run over terrain.

Teal Stetson-Lee (Marcello Rostagni)
Teal Stetson-Lee (Marcello Rostagni)

A few favorite rides

Teal works for the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship where they build and maintain trails including one of her favorites, Mills Peak. It’s a spectacular trail that’s not super well known with premier single track from top to bottom. This trail is filled with incredible views at the top, dense woods and flowy trails that are fun for all levels. She also loves Downieville, which is one of the more technical trails. It doesn’t matter how many times you ride it, it’s amazing, especially after you cool down with a swim in the Yuba River. After those two, pretty much anywhere in the Lost Sierra has her heart.

Epic adventures

This past summer, Teal took an incredible bike packing adventure with a couple friends through the Toiyabe Crest Trail in the middle of nowhere Nevada. Unless you can be reached by radio, you’re on your own. Adventures like this have been on my bucket list, so I asked her for some words of wisdom for those of us who keep putting adventure on the back burner. “JUST DO IT,” she says. “No matter the doubts you have in your mind about jumping into something like that, it’s always worth taking the risk and having that experience.”

One of the guys

Teal knows how challenging it is to put yourself outside your comfort zone in sports that are male dominated. So after our amazing conversation, I want to share one last quote from her that inspired me to keep pushing the limits of my own adventures around Tahoe: “What you learn through doing these types of risky, extreme, challenging sports is something that translates to all aspects of your life. We all have that fear of not being good at something, and when you’re learning something new, you’re not going to be good at it. Coming to terms with that type of fear and that type of risk taking teaches you so much about your ability to navigate the world.”

I hope this gets you amped up for YOUR next adventure, now go and drink in that wild air!