Jill Martindale
Jill Martindale

Jill Martindale

The bicycle to me means a whole heck of a lot of things - friendship, community, exploration, the best job in the world, independence, self-reliance. I love that it can connect me with so many people and so many places, but I also love that it can disconnect me from those places and people.

Jill's Kit

The last few years, our shop has hosted a women's beginner friendly group mountain bike ride. Getting to know some of the women that go on these rides has been one of the best shop experiences I have had. Growing all of our skills together is incredibly rewarding and seeing all of us succeed is just simply the best! When the going gets tough, and I find myself in the dark on a ride, and I feel like I have so far left to go... I think about those women back home and how they're rooting for me! Thanks, friends.

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What kind of cyclist are you?
I'm a cycling enthusiast! I love seeing people fall in love with riding and I have a ton of fun taking beginners out for their first rides! I'm best at endurance racing and being on the bike all day long - although I can hold my own in shorter races (they just hurt a lot more!) Fat and mountain primarily holds my heart, but I have been getting into more gravel as of lately! I love having a mission when I ride, and typically the mission is to ride from point A to point B or to see if I can ride somewhere faster than someone could drive - but seeing how many groceries I can fit on my bike is also really entertaining!!

How long has cycling been a part of your life? When did it become more than just “riding a bike”?
My parents took us on bike rides a lot when we were growing up, and we rode to school or to visit friends and family pretty frequently. The first multi-day trip we went on was in high school, and we rode from our hometown to visit an aunt who lived about 200 miles away. My mom drove SAG, and we rode department store bikes in jean shorts - ouch! Soon after moving to Grand Rapids I got a job at a bike shop, and that's when I started to "get serious" about riding! (Disclaimer: I'm never serious!) Being around bike-minded folks all day long made me want to spend more and more time riding and getting my paws in the whole gamut of cycling.

The cycling accomplishment you’re proudest of to date?
Rolling up to the finish line of the Arrowhead 135 and setting the new women's course record was an incredible feeling, and I still can't believe all of the hours of training paid off!! That was pretty amazing, and it still feels like a dream. Truthfully, the experience I'm most proud of was riding self-supported around Lake Superior with my friend, Emma. It was Emma's first bikepacking trip, and it rained nearly18-days straight! So many things went wrong on that trip. Rolling through the last day of that ride wearing the wool sweaters we had bought from a thrift store because we didn't bring enough warm clothes was glorious! That trip sparked something in me and it changed my life.

Favorite place you’ve been on a bike so far?
I went to MOAB on our honeymoon with my husband, Dan, and we rode the Whole Enchilada. I had never been on a shuttle before, I had never ridden at elevation before, and it was some of the most beautiful views I have ever seen! All so new and exciting! Everything from the golden aspen trees to being on top of a plateau and shouting, "Cattle up!" while zooming down the trail made me grin! I crashed in a snow-melt creek and became entirely submerged in the water and couldn't stop laughing! The place was amazing, and the company made the dirt 1,000 times more perfect!

Favorite place to daydream about that you haven’t yet ridden?
Alaska has been on my list of places to ride, and I'm so stoked to have plans in the works to get out there!! I love dark, damp woods, and would love to ride through some giant Redwood forests someday. Every time I see photos from someone else's trip, I immediately begin daydreaming about getting out to it!

How do you describe what the bicycle means to you?
The bicycle to me means a whole heck of a lot of things - friendship, community, exploration, the best job in the world, independence, self-reliance. I love that it can connect me with so many people and so many places, but I also love that it can disconnect me from those places and people. I love using the bike as an outlet to sort through my thoughts and then riding more and having my mind go completely blank. It gives me something to keep working towards and riding towards.

How will your future as a cyclist unfold?
I'm optimistic about riding more places, meeting more great folks, and getting lost a whole lot more! Getting after the winter ultras and long mountain or gravel events is definitely on my docket! I know I'll keep encouraging more women to get into the sport. The sport has given me so much, and I think it's really important for events like Skirts in the Dirt, a women's only mountain bike race, to keep happening. I'm a cyclist for life!

Who inspires you and your riding?
The last few years, our shop has hosted a women's beginner friendly group mountain bike ride. Getting to know some of the women that go on these rides has been one of the best shop experiences I have had. Growing all of our skills together is incredibly rewarding and seeing all of us succeed is just simply the best! When the going gets tough, and I find myself in the dark on a ride, and I feel like I have so far left to go... I think about those women back home and how they're rooting for me! Thanks, friends.

Favorite Salsa model and why?
Yes. All of them. Haaa! Truthfully, the Beargrease has been the most comfortable bike I have ever ridden. Fat tires, mid-fat tires, 29" wheel set up... so comfortable and fast and fun and dependable! The Spearfish is my next favorite, it helps me tackle single-track I'm not 100% sure I can handle, and it has my back and sees me out safely on the other side. The Warbird is also tied as a top favorite rig - it's fast but reliable on gravel, and it loves having its limits tested on fire roads or in little pockets of urban single-track! I seriously cannot pick one. Each bike has its strengths, and the equation n+1 plays a huuuuuge role in Salsa's lineup - so many possibilities!!

Favorite pre, during, and post ride/race food and bevvies?
I like eating as much fresh food as I can pre-ride: bananas, apple sauce, beets, watermelon, sweet potatoes. So good! I have a hard time scarfing down a ton of food if I wake up super early to ride. In the morning, a cup of coffee and fruit usually do the trick. The longer I ride, the more downhill (health-wise) my snacks start to get: Primal Strips (vegetarian jerky), Pringles, Payday Bars, Haribo gummy snacks, Combos, and my absolute favorite: gas station pizza! I mix gels and chews in with all the solid food, and I'll rely more heavily on drinking calories during the summer, but in the cold, it's primarily solids! I love making giant monster salads and adding quinoa, lentils, and tofu to it but I equally love pizza, and I eat fish now, so I'm basically a bottom-less pit. Yummmmmm! I like IPA's but also love sours and my whiskey. Sometimes I don't wait until the end of my ride to partake in whiskey...

When you’re not cycling…
I'm running, hiking, playing outside somewhere, hanging out with friends, Dan, or our dog, Oso. Scheming on more women's events, volunteering at a trail day or drinking some adult beverages - but let's be truthful, I'm typically on my bike or within arm's reach of a bike. ;)

What don’t you leave home without on a ride?
My lights, more-than-I-need snacks, and water! I love getting lost, and when I tell Dan I'll be home in an hour he knows to typically expect about another two or three. A lot of the time I'm out past dark, especially in the winter. I also get cranky if I run out of snacks or water, so I always take way more than I need. You never know when you'll find something cool, so you have to be prepared!