In our Basecamp Bellingham series, we are sharing stories about talented local athletes who choose to call Bellingham “home”.
Angi Weston is living the Bellingham dream. As a professional skills coach and owner of Radical Roots Mountain Bike Instruction, Angi lives and breathes mountain biking. So how did it all start? Angi’s career in mountain biking didn’t begin as child prodigy, nor did she start her riding on a top-of-the-line full suspension bike.
Angi says, “I came to WWU fresh out of high school, and as a sophomore I was short a couple of credits to receive financial aid. In my search for classes, I came across a P.E. class called ‘Beginning Bicycling’ and all you needed was a bike and a helmet. I had that, my dad bought me a bike for a high school graduation gift because I was coming to college without a car. I knew I was able to get around town by bike, and I wasn’t a cyclist by any stretch of the word.”
Showing up for the first day on her town cruiser bike, she learned very quickly what exactly mountain biking entailed. “I rode over roots and in dirt on my bike and I crashed, but I thought it was the coolest thing!” The beginner mountain bike class culminated in riding Galbraith, the iconic trail network held near and dear by the Bellingham mountain bike and trail running communities, and Angi was hooked, “I remember going home to my roommates in college bloody, muddy and sweaty and I was like ‘I just did the most amazing thing ever, I mountain biked!’ I was blown away by the sport.”
After that class, her friends and family all pitched in to help her buy a new bike and she took the class again. When it came time for her teacher to graduate, he had recommended that Angi take over the class. “Within the first year of me learning how to mountain bike, Western Washington University was paying me to teach mountain biking.” Coaching seems to have come naturally to Angi, as her students rave about their experiences. The testimonials on her website, Radical Roots say it all:
“Angi is hands-down guaranteed to provide incredible results and give her students an amazing experience to boot. From enduro and freeride to absolute-beginners and dirt jumping, we’re hailing Angi as the most diversely experienced and top notch coach in the country. ”
— ASH BOCAST (ROAM EVENTS)
After she started coaching mountain biking at Western, she joined the collegiate downhill racing team. At her first competitive race, she was quickly bumped up from beginner to sport because she was the only woman in the category, and she still won. Her immersion into mountain biking continued as she started working for Fairhaven Bike and Ski, where she fell in love with technical aspects of working around bikes at the shop. Angi then started working for Kona Bikes where she eventually moved up to sales and was introduced to women’s clinics, familiarizing herself with the certifications that she needed to further her mountain bike coaching skills.
As Angi progressed her coaching, she learned that “ladies love to learn from other women.” She took this in stride, starting a women’s downhill camp at a bike park in West Virginia called Snowshoe Resort. “When I hit a jump on my bike, and another girl sees me, it looks more familiar to them. It seems more obtainable and closer to what other women feel that they look like on a bike… I am able to relate to women and teach them about what thoughts to think that will serve them, rather than thinking thoughts that increase their fear.” She says, “So much of mountain biking is mental and I pride myself in having the ability to tap into that with my students…I can give them what they need to gain their confidence back.”
People started to really notice Angi in the coaching world. She eventually retired from her position at Kona to start her own business, Radical Roots, which took off shortly thereafter. She joined the team over at Transition, a rider owned, local bike shop venerated across the country and especially here in Bellingham. For Angi, Transition has been instrumental in supporting her business and coaching efforts. Quickly after starting Radical Roots, she was booked for the entire year. She began to see a major interest from women in the Pacific Northwest and coaching lady mountain bikers became the main focus for her coaching business.
Bellingham is a great place to be for any outdoor enthusiast, especially if you’re a mountain biker.
“When I learned how to mountain bike in town, I didn’t realize I was learning to ride on such technical terrain. Here, you learn how to choose a line and you know how to ride steep features because that’s what we have to learn on.”
To say Angi is a product of her environment is an understatement.
“The more I’ve traveled the country and realized how special it is here, the more I realize that I am hooked on Bellingham. There are many layers within the Bellingham community, like the mountain bike community, the trail runners, skiers and snowboarders- and that’s what makes Bellingham so special, I feel like I fit in here.”
Angi Weston is surely leaving her mark on the Bellingham biking community, and we’re proud that she considers Bellingham her home and basecamp. Be sure to follow along with Angi’s endeavours on Instagram @angiweston or try to book her for some high caliber coaching at www.radicalroots.com.
Update: In the Summer of 2018, Angi’s skills as a mountain bike coach took her all the way to Italy where she was hired to coach for a mountain bike retreat. In her words, it was dreamy, combining luxury with world class mountain biking.
Q & A with Professional Mountain Bike Coach Angi Weston
What is your pre-ride ritual?
Drink some coffee to caffeinate.
What do you take with you on a typical ride?
I am a bit of a pack rat. But I carry a bunch of first aid stuff, just in case. Tools, spare parts, snacks, water, and a koozy.
What is an athletic highlight of your career thus far?
Starting my own business and getting level three certification. And also seeing the achievements that my students have made throughout their races and accomplishments – I feel like I have won when they win.
Favorite places to eat?
It’s funny, because in the summer time my favorite places to eat morph because they’re places that are still open when I get done riding. When it’s daylight for so long, and when you get done with a ride and it’s 9 p.m. 10 p.m. at night you’re starving. Places that serve food late are the ones that become my favorite.
Favorite place to grab a drink?
What would be your super power?
I’d make people be able to believe in themselves. If I could wave a magic wand, I’d erase fear, self doubt and negative self talk. Life is too short to be hard on yourself.
Locally in Bellingham, I have a friend Laura Todd and her profession is a life coach. Through our friendship, she has given me a lot of insight and advice for how I can live out my values. And through our conversations, she was the one who inspired me to start my own business. She’s very humble, approachable, and always happy and she helps other people do that as well. She’s an incredible friend and mentor, and whenever I’ve been challenged she knows what questions to ask me to have me help myself.
Three things we might not know about you?
- I have a pet box turtle that I’ve had for 22 years. His name is Keoke.
- I love cooking food for other people.
- I am a Master of Ceremonies – I really enjoy being an emcee for bike events (like races, fund raisers, etc) and am also an ordained minister through the Universal Life Church and have solemnized a few marriages over the years. My niche is obviously with mountain biking couples.
How long have you been mountain biking?
Mountain biking 17 years and teaching 16 years
Who do you teach?
I teach all ages, abilities, and interest levels as well as coach coaches. I have many years of experience in coaching and because of my energetic travel schedule I’ve been able to amass a larger number of coaching hours than most coaches get the opportunity to teach. I realized that many of my peers were turning to me for additional coaching advice, especially around teaching and service concepts, so I developed a new curriculum as a way to give coaches continuing education opportunities, which hasn’t existed before. It’s pretty unique to coach coaches outside of their certification courses but I am finding there is a great need for it so the development of this new program has been exciting and definitely unique to my program. I’m hoping to host a coaches training here in Bellingham starting in 2019 since so many coaches around the country have Bellingham on their “Bike-it List” already, I think it will be a hit!
Where are you from?
From south of Seattle, Tacoma area.
Favorite places to ride?
Galbraith, Chuckanut and Blanchard – I love Blanchard.