Fight or Flight Laura Slavin

Fight or Flight
Laura Slavin

No matter what type of riding you do, eventually you’ll come to a do or die moment - a point of no return. The fight or flight response kicks in and there are only two choices in front of you: brake, pull off, and give up… or step through the fear and commit. 
Laura Slavin

 From my days as a cross country racer to my current venture into freeride, the bike has always served as an instrument of self-discovery — a trial by fire method of finding new limits both mentally and physically.

Fort Hill Pro Line is located at Thunder Mountain Bike Park. Built by Gravity Logic, it encompasses the largest hits they have ever constructed and is one of the biggest public freeride lines in the world. Comprised of entirely gap features spanning up to 50 feet long, tackling this line demands full commitment.

When I first caught wind of a freshly built Fort Hill, I became obsessed with completing it.

Thinking back to my XC days, I would have never imagined being able to tackle anything like this. When I first looked at Fort, I was completely awestruck and intimidated, but I made it my mission to get to the end. It took two summers and the feeling was indescribable when I finally went for the last jump. But in truth, completing this line felt similar to other, entirely different, milestones I’ve had on my riding journey. I learned that it’s all relative and very personal.

In life, we all inevitably face character testing moments. The fear of failure can be overwhelming. When we decide to rise and meet these challenges, big or small, that experience changes us. For me, mountain biking has been a solid way to expedite that experience.

After an ugly crash riding steep rock chutes on another Pro Line that cut my '21 race season short, I was left with shaken confidence and found myself shying away from features that normally wouldn't phase me. I decided to head back to Fort Hill for a gut check. My Fight or Flight instinct kicked in, and I chose Fight.

When I make the choice to commit, all the fear I initially felt fades away and I’m completely immersed in the here & now. I've accepted all the consequences. Everything is quiet and peaceful within my mind. By walking through fear, I find a strength within me that I never knew I had - A strength I can bring to all other areas of my life. This is my favorite part about the bike, something I think all riders share.