DAVIS – Flipping through the pages of the September issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine reveals a familiar face – that of Davis resident Susan Haywood. She talks about how she became interested in biking, and another article tells what she keeps in her bike pack.
Haywood, who is touted as an East Coast mountain bike icon, said she moved back to the Davis area about 15 months ago from Virginia.
“I had some changes in my personal life that brought me back,” she said. “I own a house in Canaan Heights that needed some love.”
She said she got into riding bikes in college.
“I talked my dad into buying me a mountain bike in college for exploring,” Haywood said. “I took that investment and went pro, not even knowing what that meant until I won the national championship while being sponsored by Trek/VW and then got paid to race for the World Cup.”
Haywood said she has many mountain biking accomplishments.
“I am a certified mountain bike coach through the International Mountain Bike Association, and I put on the Canaan Mountain Bike Festival in June in Davis which benefits the Tucker County Trails,” Haywood said. “I am a member of Stan’s NoTubes women’s elite racing team, and I teach cross country skiing at White Grass.
“While I was racing professionally, I was a two-time Pan-American Champion and three-time National Champion, a member of the U.S. National Team and a numerous time West Virginia State Champion. I was featured in a mountain bike movie called, “Off Road to Athens.”
Haywood said she enjoys Tucker County and its surroundings.
“I think the beauty of Tucker County is exceptional,” Haywood said. “Everywhere you look, there are mountains, trees, rivers and rock outcrops. And since I love being outside, I really get to enjoy that beauty.”
Haywood offers classes teaching women to mountain bike.
“I never had formal instruction when I started biking,” she said. “It was all trial and error and that resulted in a slower learning progression. Nowadays, mountain bikers look at lessons and instruction as part of the sport. There are always things to learn and always skills to practice.”
She said she specializes in teaching women because she enjoys seeing them gain confidence in their biking skills.
“They enjoy talking about the skill, seeing the skill done properly, practicing the skill and then talking about what happened,” Haywood said. “It’s a process that most women enjoy especially when done in a group of women. I’ve seen some amazing support that women show to each other when practicing a skill that is out of their comfort zone. When one gets it, they all cheer. And I think that is a great way to learn. And of course, there are a few great male mountain bike instructors that I’ve benefitted learning from.”
She also makes and sells her own salsa.
“I traveled to Guatemala for a bike race in 2007 and went back in 2009 on a riding vacation. After a big day in the mountains, we arrived at small cheese farm that had lodging and food. We sat in the kitchen while an old women made us fresh tortillas, beans, eggs and salsa. She roasted tiny peppers in a cast iron pan, added garlic then put it in a food processor with tomatoes. It was delicious. I recreated that recipe adding a few items. I call it HaySue’s – and it’s spicy! I take it to biking races and clinics to help pay for gas. Locally, HaySue’s is available at the Highland Market in Davis. Someday, I would love to have it in bike shops around the country.”
She said she finds it fun to be featured in magazines and newspapers.
“So much stuff is internet based, so it’s nice to have something you can hold on to,” she said. “Blue Ridge Outdoors is a cool magazine that celebrates the outdoors and knows Tucker County has it going on with that.”
In the future, Haywood said she would really love to see Tucker County promote their trails more, as well as see them secure more trail access for recreational users.
“The completion of the Heart of the Highlands trail will be a huge boost for tourism and will show that all the land owners/managers can get along to support tourism in Tucker County,” Haywood said. “Completion of a trail for all users between Thomas and Davis would be wonderful for both towns. I love what Parsons did with the Allegheny Highlands Trail.”
Copies of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine are available at the Tucker County Convention and Visitors Bureau in Davis.