MEET ONE OF OUR HEAD COACHES, DEVIN!
My name is Devin Knox, I am 24 years old from Rossland BC and I’ve been in Victoria for about 6 years. I’ve been coaching with Nolan for almost 2 years and am one of the head female MTB instructors. I have my PMBI level 1, just finished my PMBI level 2, wilderness first aid, and a whole lot of other certifications… and… I like bikes!
WHY MOUNTAIN BIKE?
Both of my parents love biking, they did a lot of coaching and guiding. I actually didn’t start liking biking until I was probably 12. My dad tried really hard when I was younger to encourage me to MTB, but I was pretty stubborn and was more into figure skating… He bought me this really old bike and custom painted it lavender and gave it to me for my birthday and I was still like “uuhhh I still don’t like biking!”
Now looking back, I wish I still had that bike. When I was probably about 12, all of my guy friends were biking and racing and there were no females out there, I wanted to do it and just hang out with the boys, so I started biking with them and went from there. It’s been a little up and down – but it’s all up from here!
WHAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT RIDING ON THE ISLAND?
Growing up in the interior, it’s not super wet, it’s pretty dry and it’s super technical with lots of descents. Growing up in Rossland and Nelson, I mostly concentrated on downhill biking. It’s a whole different terrain here. It’s wet and slippery, and rainy, but you can bike year-round and that’s pretty special.
I just went down to Moab, Utah, it was a whole different ball game down there. Super hot, no trees, lots of rocks. It’s cool to see different places and challenge my riding in different ways, but I love island riding.
WHY ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT GETTING GIRLS OUT ON THE TRAILS?
I work a lot with the girls’ race team women, and young females of all ages, and I really enjoy working with them all. When I was younger, there weren’t a whole lot of females in the sport and I was riding a lot with my guy friends – which was a ton of fun and I progressed but it’s awesome to see the girls making connections and having life-long friends and also just having girls to ride with and really empowering to push themselves in the sport. It’s such a great outlet, you’re out in nature, and you’re learning to be strong and confident. It’s a really rewarding job to work with females.
We coach 6-year-olds all the up to adults. 6/7-year-olds say the funniest things, I love coaching them. They always have the cutest gear. It’s awesome to see them progress and hopefully continue to love biking.
It’s so cute when kids start to mountain bike – you’ll just be on the fire road and kids will be like “this is the best thing ever!” and you haven’t even hit the trails yet. That makes my job so enjoyable and my heart so happy; hearing kids so happy to be out on their bikes.
WHY NOLAN RIDING?
Because it’s the best job! I’m outside every single day, I’m on my bike. No matter the age or the skill level I am coaching, I am learning and practicing my own biking too. Seeing the progression of other people, and the enjoyment and the joy they get from being on their bikes is so rewarding. I find myself after each day of coaching being like “Dang, I’m so lucky, this is great.”
Nolan Riding has a really good group of coaches, we have our older coaches and younger/jr and up-and-coming coaches. It’s a pretty special group to have with so many different people from different backgrounds, and different riding styles together. We work together very closely; almost every day, and do a lot of training together. It’s pretty special to be able to learn from each other and support each other and create such a special team. I love seeing all the younger girls move into coaching roles; it’s a pretty amazing job for teenagers.
I was actually driving back from a camping trip and saw the Nolan truck for the first time, out by some trails in Sooke. I reached out, went on a ride, and went from there! Honestly, if you love mountain biking and are looking for a job/career, coaching is incredible. We’re always looking for strong riders and coaches to join the team – I would definitely reach out if you’re interested.
YOU MENTIONED HAVING YOUR PMBI, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
PMBI is the Professional Mountain Biking Instructor course. It is transferable around the world and teaches you a lot! I’ve learned a lot about my own riding and it has helped me so much in teaching kids/adults and all ages in-between.
In the PMBI 2nd level course, I learned so much about body position and the micromovements that go into a stable body position. I learned a ton about climbing, too. I didn’t climb a lot growing up, I mostly did a lot of downhill. So, since moving to the island I’ve had to learn a lot about climbing.
I’ve been working a lot on my cadence (the number of revolutions per minute (RPM) you complete at a given speed) & also learning how to find things in other riders and give strong feedback.
WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT WHILE RIDING?
I think about making it over the features up ahead for sure… I actually talk a lot and make a lot of noises. People who ride with me always comment on my WHOOPS! All in all, I’m pretty talkative when I bike, so I don’t think much, I just say it out loud.
WHAT IS ONE TIP YOU HAVE FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN MOUNTAIN BIKING OR JUST GETTING STARTED?
My biggest takeaway for people who are already out on the trails – is to look ahead! It’s a huge game-changer, even though it sounds really simple. Just that one small queue of looking ahead can change a person’s riding drastically.
If you’re not already into biking, or if you are thinking about it, I would say go rent or borrow a bike and find someone to take you out on your local trails to try it out. We are always available for private lessons at Nolan. Personally, I love talking about bikes and of course getting girls out. If you are hoping to get into mountain biking – contact us! We offer lots of different lessons with the coach of your choice – we do beginner, womens, mens, all ages, and all gender clinics. So many different opportunities to get out on a bike! I can guarantee you won’t be the only new biker out there. We have so many beginners who fall in love with it – everyone is nervous at first, but you make friends and you gain a community to go out with.
FAV SPOT TO RIDE ON THE ISLAND?
My favorite spot to ride on the island is probably Cumberland. It has so many different trails, with awesome climbing and descending. I also love Cook Creek area and Nanaimo, it’s all fun!
My favorite spot to coach on the island is probably Tzouhalem. It has a little bit of everything, and I’m super familiar with it. We are also starting to coach more at Burnt Bridge, it’s so fun there! Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is also a super good time… All the coaching spots around here are pretty awesome, to say the least.
My favorite trail at Hartland is the loop of climbing up to 90s Jank, down, then over to Sofa King. It’s a pretty good easy ride, even just for 45 minutes to get out. Winnie, my puppy, her favorite ride would probably be… honestly anything where she’s just out riding. Where ever she can see some dogs and have a little play. She just wants to go fast and sniff all the smells.
FAV TRAIL SNACK?
My fav snack while riding, some people find this kind of weird, but for long rides, I usually bring a hard-boiled egg. It’s really good protein and it’s a complete snack! And of course, some sort of squished granola bar, and yogurt-covered raisins are really good too. Lots of water!!!
Devin is an all-star coach here at Nolan Riding, be sure to say hey if you see her out on the trails!
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