From Ryan: On my end the short story is that I had the ring, and I knew that I wanted to do something fun and outside. When Maddie just got her first mountain bike and we found out we were going to CB that weekend, I knew it was the right time! I found our photographer on IG and reached out, scoped out the perfect spot, asked her parents for their blessing that morning (without them knowing when it was happening).
I told Maddie that I had met “a photographer” out on the trail on my ride the previous day. I told Maddie that we had got talking about my racing and her photography and she mentioned she was trying to get more into outdoor/lifestyle pictures. The photographer asked if I'd be interested in meeting up with her the next day in exchange for use of photos, and told me it would be great to bring Maddie along too!
This was perfect because she didn't have to hide and we could make sure we got the perfect shot! Also we got some great riding shots 🙂
On Maddie's end this was all super believable since I am a pro mountain bike racer, so this type of situation does happen in our worlds, and she admits she had NO CLUE. She was reluctant to go for the photo shoot because she was tired and didn't want to miss happy hour with friends. When we sat on the rock, looking out on Paradise Divide, she was so confused when I was being so loving when there was a photographer behind us. She was asking about random things which made it tough for me to segway into the proposal. Eventually I forced the situation, it got awkward, I told her to stand up and she was a combination of all of the emotions!
From Maddie: We had a full Crested Butte weekend- just playing from the morning until afternoon, so by day 3- I was super wiped. I asked Ryan if we could reschedule the photoshoot for the morning and he was pretty calm the entire time saying: 'I'll ask” + 'Let me check'. He ended up saying we will go for a quick hour and that's all, I promise. Also, I was excited for happy hour at the Brick with some of our good friends.
I planned to just sit around and watch Ryan do his thing- he had spent a few days of slow rolling with this newbie. When we got to the trailhead + met with Lydia + T, I was so focused on riding (and not falling), I was just excited to make it through the first portion of the ride without dying. It really did feel like a bike photoshoot.
When Ry + I sat down on the rock- he put his arm around me + I remember joking that we were 'just friends' as I didn't want Lydia to feel like she had a lot of staged shots. Then Ryan went on about how much he loved me + how he wants to do these adventures our whole lives and I asked him if he thought I could do the Leadville Stage Race. We don't normally have these conversations on the trail so found it super weird. After a few minutes of this, Ryan stood up and at that moment I knew what was going on. When he got down on one knee I lost it. I just said: 'are you serious!? YES'. I think there were a few more 'Are you serious' comments following mixed in with quite a few tears. I remember just grabbing the ring because I just wanted to kiss + hug him. I continued to cry for the next four hours straight, but couldn't stop smiling! It was hard to ride the trail back as I was just crying and shaking with excitement! Such a sneaky (and the best) surprise in our favorite place in the world.