Mia Meets Bike

Meatball Mia

Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
So I decided while I was bored studying that I wanted a blog. Mostly, I want to have a place for race recaps, training, fun stuff off and on the bike, and maybe some life updates, so basically a little bit of everything.

Now I’m assuming not many people know who I am so I’ll give a quick little introduction. My name is Mia. I am currently 19 years old, only a few months away from turning 20. I’m currently attending UConn for pharmaceutical sciences. I am also applying to pharmacy schools to hopefully get my PharmD and work in pharmaceutical research and development. I also love to cook and bake. I play fantasy football but suck at it not matter how hard I try. I have an obsession with rainbow sprinkles, Vans (sneakers), and bigfoot. Rumor has it that I also have an obsession with Richie Rude, but that may or may not be true. Just because the day that I hugged him has been one of the best days of my life thus far does not provide evidence for that.


I kind of have an interesting backstory to get me where I am today so I might as well share that now. My dad introduced me to mountain biking when I was 12, so I’ve been riding for almost 8 years now. I've been racing for 7 years and started racing cross country with my NICA team: the East Morris Rockies. I was a founding member along with my sister, and the first season went really well for me. I won every race for the 7th grade girls category. I felt on top of the world and I didn’t train much for the next season where I was moved up to the freshman girl’s category while I was in 8th grade. I did ok that season but all the girls I used to beat started to beat me by a lot, and I didn’t feel good during any of the races. I thought I would have learned from this the next season, but I didn’t. The next season I didn’t even do most of the races and every race I did, I felt like crap, and I considered quitting racing. There was one race in particular that sticks with me to this day. It was down in Camp Edge and it was my first race in JV. By lap one I wanted to die. My back was killing me and I had no energy. At the end of the race, my sister had beaten me, and for reference, I had always beaten my sister when it came to racing and we are competitive with each other so this one hurt a bit. My dad was also extremely disappointed in me, and I was really disappointed with myself. I felt like I had let myself down and my family which I never want to do. Looking back on this now, I think this is where I get my race anxiety from because I don't want to disappoint myself or others.


Then, covid hit. This is where my story gets a little bit sad and hard to share because I’m kind of embarrassed about it sometimes, but it makes me who I am now.

Growing up I had always been overweight and was told to lose weight by my doctors. I was actually told by my doctor when I was like 10 to go to a fat camp because of the way I was. I’ve always been very active so I was healthy in that sense, but a big part of my personality is my love for food. When I was little I just brushed this off and didn’t really think much of it. I thought I forgot it all until the pandemic hit, and I started to reflect on the past season of racing I had. I decided to start to lose weight. I was eating healthier and exercising a bit more but nothing too extreme. The issue came when I started doing more research into dieting, losing weight fast, and calorie counting apps. This led to the development of my eating disorder. I started training like crazy and eating less than a toddler a day. In my mind, I started to connect my weight with my performance on the bike and my worth as a person. The first stage of my eating disorder lasted for a year and got progressively worse because I started to get faster again on my bike and became obsessed with losing weight to go faster and looking like other people. My eating disorder just kept getting worse over the years, but I kept functioning through it. I hid it from the people who cared about me most because I was in denial that I had it. I made excuses for my behaviors when it came to my eating, training, and family. To be honest, I was a bitch to my family during most of my eating disorder. Instead of being nice and free spirited like I always was, I became uptight, anxious, and controlling over everything. It made my relationship with my family really rough and to this day I wish I could go back and change those years because I can never have that time back.

My eating disorder became its worst during my first semester of college. I was physically and mentally deteriorating. I lost a ton of muscle mass and looked not healthy at all, but I told myself I was. I mentally couldn’t handle anything and I lost hope in my life and felt like I was alone and no one cared about me anymore. That’s when I decided enough was enough. I admitted to myself and to my parents that I had an eating disorder. It was also the first time I was medically diagnosed with an eating disorder because I finally went to a doctor about it. I enrolled in an outpatient recovery program during my second semester at school. To say this program basically saved my life is an understatement. I learned a lot about myself and retaught myself a lot of things.

So the positives from this! I’ve been in recovery for almost a year now and I am doing a lot better! I would be lying if I said I don’t have my tough days, but overall I’m back to being a free-spirited person and have grown all my muscle mass back and gained even more. I’ve become the strongest version of myself physically and mentally. Honestly writing this is a very cathartic experience because I’ve bottled this up for almost four years now. I’ve realized it's not something to be ashamed of, but rather an experience that others can learn from too.

Now you’re probably asking, “What about biking?” well back to that…

So through my NICA team, I met @graveyardman67 . He was a coach for my last three years of NICA and that’s when I wanted to get more serious into racing but I don't really know why. It was like I woke up one day and was like I want to race again. I knew he was on team MTBNJ, so I decided to ask him if I could join the team. Well long story short, I made it onto the team and this past season was my third season with the team. I’ve met a lot of incredible people from being on the team, and some people I would consider to be a big part of my life now. It’s safe to say I can’t imagine my life right now without the team. I’ve also found my love for stupid gnar thanks to @JimN and @Wrong Way Dan .


Now the fun stuff: enduro racing! I started enduro racing my first season with the team because I was told I would be good at it so thanks @graveyardman67 and @UtahJoe ! I also had been following Richie Rude for a while so I kind of wanted to do it to be like him too. So my first enduro race was the MASS mountain creek enduro. I raced the U19 girls category and surprisingly won by a decent amount. This race was what sparked it all for me. I fell in love with enduro racing ever since that race. That season of racing I did some races but not a ton. The highlight of that season was winning the ESC Pro Women’s race at mountain creek for my last race of the season. That race is the reason why I'm racing pro today.


My second season of enduro was for the ESC series in the Pro Women’s category. I also got a few sponsors for my season. I didn't win a race that season, but I finished 2nd overall for the series which was pretty sick. I also did the EWS 100 at Burke, which was so much fun and I got the best prize in all my years of racing which was a Cabot cheese box.


This past season of racing has probably been one of my best ever. I wanted to go for the ESC Pro Women’s series again but hopefully win it this time. It was a lot of training and effort, but it all paid off in the end because I am the 2023 Eastern States Cup Pro Women Champion. Winning the series means a lot to me. It kind of proves to me that maybe someday I can go pro in the world circuit with a factory team sponsorship.


Now what I have coming up for this next season/year …

I plan on doing a bunch of the ESC races and try for the series podium once again. This one will be difficult with pharmacy school but it's on my list. I also want to convince my parents to let me do an enduro out on the west coast at some point or an EWS in Europe. Finally, I want to do the Wilderness 101 100 mile MTB race. This goal is kind of loose right now, but it's something I really want to accomplish this season. I just need to find someone dumb enough to do it with me.

Well there it is! Hopefully this wasn’t too much to read (sorry if it was) and stay tuned if you want to hear about what goes on in my training, racing, and life!
Great read and looking forward to reading more. W101 is totally obtainable and a totally different animal than enduro racing. I had the W101 on my radar since '08 and finally checked off that box in July. Loosely planning to do it again this year.
I don't subscribe/read many blogs - but this is one I'll be watching - I've watched you grow up to be the woman and bike enthusiast that you are!!!! There is so much I didn't know - and it really hits hard reading. I applaud you for putting yourself out there - and I am looking forward to riding with you soon!!!! xoxo
Your eating disorder really hits home for me and my family. Glad you are better. It takes a strong person to admit they have a problem.

My daughter went through the same thing over the pandemic. stress induced eating disorder. Hospital visits, 4 months of out patient therapy, nutritionist.

Fun watching you grow as a racer .
Thanks for sharing! I have three little girls/bike racers, the oldest of which is going into 7th grade and definitely knows who you are (she also has Enduro ambitions, though she hasn't raced one..... yet). This blog further proves you're a great role model. We'll definitely be following!
Good to see you sharing. You should know we all <3 you and being part of the team.

It would be very unlike me not to point out the irony of someone with an eating disorder winning a box of cheese. Next time, feel free to drop that off at my house.

Great intro and very brave to share all those details good and bad. I was coaching the first year of NICA and remember watching you dominate all the races.

Keep moving forward and will be looking to see you on the pro tour even if we can't watch it on GCN+ anymore.
Wow, after reading your intro I have so much admiration for you, as a person, a MTBer and a racer (not that I would know anything about the last two, and I'm a little fuzzy on the first one to be honest).

I agree with @MissJR on the title though, maybe stick Mr.Rude in there, or cheese...

Pretty much sure your family is super proud of you as they should be! Keep it up!
So first off....when you told me you were going to do this, I didnt know how personal you were going to get....Props to you for going into your issues with weight and eating...Its probably the hardest thing you will ever have to master....It certainly has been for me...And I still have to work on it every day. But we're New Jersey Italian's, its not our fault 🙂

And it has really been a pleasure these past few years riding and racing with you....you have certainly earned our respect for being unbelievably tough....Like quite frankly, its a little obnoxious and disrespectful how tough you are.....I mean you would think you could show us old people a smidge of respect and just die on a ride for us once. I think that pre ride for the EWS....when we climbed the toll road twice and you had your broken rib and wheezed for like 4 hours....I was pretty sure after that there was nothing we could do to break you lol.

And you HATE xc racing but now you want to do a 101? Just stop talking to @Wrong Way Dan......and while my first thought was....Shit ok, if you do a 101, ill do it with you....But then I remember what its like to race with you...and you would probably run flat out the whole time and not even stop for a drink.....it would probably really suck 🙂

Watching mia when her dreamboat Richie Rude is around
This is great. I'm also going to let my daughter read this. She is currently a junior in high school studying biomedical sciences with the goal of continuing into Pharmaceutical school as well. Good luck in the future with balancing the racing schedule and your education.
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