Theme Ride Thursday: International Mountain Day (Updated with a New Profile)

Did you know there is a day to honor the mountains? International Mountain Day is held annually on December 11. What a joy to know that something we love to simulate in our cycling classes has been given its own day to be honored! It’s a great way to create a theme and promote a special day of climbing to honor the mountains around the world. On the day you teach this ride, perhaps hang some Tibetan prayer flags in your cycling studio and some posters of beautiful mountains. 

To help you put together your own mountain tribute ride, I curated a bucket playlist consisting of songs related to mountains, climbing, the summit, and being on top of the world, currently with over 170 tracks. Or, to save you time, use one of the two profiles we’ve put together for you. One is a new profile by Fern Stancer (which you can find at the bottom of this post), and the other is one I first created in 2019 called In Honor of Mountains consisting of three climbs, then modified in 2022 to become a ride consisting of one long climb. You’ll find a link to that profile below.

International Mountain Day began in 1992 when the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development designated this day to bring the world’s attention to the importance of mountains and mountain ranges. Did you know:


For a little more about this day, here is an excerpt from the website

Celebrated on December 11th annually, International Mountain Day is an international observance day whose goal is to raise awareness about the role that mountainous regions play in the lives of people and their importance to our planet. While most people take mountains for granted and don’t think much about them, mountains are actually very important for the well-being of the planet. Mountains provide numerous resources such as freshwater, food, and energy. And the scarcity of these resources is only going to increase over the next few decades as the human population continues to grow and use an even greater share of the Earth’s resources.

International Mountain Day is a great day for people to get together, either to celebrate the contributions made by mountains and mountain ranges or to raise awareness to the issues that affect mountains and the people who depend on them. Climb, hike, or drive your favorite mountain; plan a mountain themed party; or raise awareness about the plight of people who live in mountainous regions and how resources can be used without further degrading mountain ecosystems that continue to become even more fragile.

Here at the Indoor Cycling Association, we think it’s a great day to celebrate the joys of climbing a stationary bike that goes nowhere…because we know we can go anywhere our minds will take us!

Inspirational Quotes About Mountains

In your ride to honor the mountains, why not read out a couple of quotations about mountains? I’ve compiled a list of 70 quotes about mountains that you can download here. I project images of mountains with these inspirational quotes on a screen at the front of the cycling studio during my ride.

Below are a few of my favorites:

“The mountains are calling and I must go.” ~John Muir

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddam mountain.” ~Jack Kerouac

“You are not in the mountains. The mountains are in you.” ~John Muir

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!” ~Dr. Seuss

“The summit is what drives us but the climb itself is what matters.” ~Conrad Anker

“I learn something every time I go into the mountains.”  ~Michael Kennedy

“I don’t know why mountains lift the spirit so. They just do.” ~Alex Derr

“Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view.
Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.”  ~David McCullough Jr.



ICA Has So Many Climbing Profiles to Choose From!

Below, ICA members will find the Spotify playlist for “Mountain Day” with over 170 songs.

Click here to go to my profile In Honor of Mountains and the empowering playlist for that ride. There are two versions of that profile; the original had three climbs, and the second version is one long climb of 46 minutes with no recovery. That can be daunting for some instructors and their riders—I challenge you to present this amazing challenge to your class! (Note: There’s an updated version for 2023 with a few new songs.)

We also have a new profile from Fern Stancer called Alpine Ascent: Celebrating International Mountain Day. This profile includes two songs, “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver and “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus, that were recently highlighted in our Tribute To John Denver and our Celebration of Disney’s 100 Birthday. You’ll find the profile and playlist below. 

In addition to these two theme rides, we have so many climbing profiles on ICA that could also be used to celebrate this day. Feel free to take some of the inspirational coaching in these profiles and add them to either of the mountain-day-themed profiles above. Here are a few of those profile options as well as a series called “Strategies for Strength” that has numerous posts filled with inspirational climbing-focused coaching:

Strategies for Strength. A 12-part series on coaching climbs filled with motivational ideas to enhance your climbing profiles.

Billy Coburn teaching “North,” a ride up Everest

Below, in addition to Fern’s profile, you will find the bucket playlist I call “Mountains/Summit/Climb/The Top/Top of the World.” It currently has over 170 songs. I am always looking for new songs on this theme to add to it, so if you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments. 


  1. Another stellar profile. I used some of the inspirational quotes you listed here on the slides I projected via the Stages Studio software. My class loved it all; the profile, the music and the slides/movie. I got the biggest applause at the end of the class that I have ever gotten in my 20+ years of instructing. THANK YOU!!!!! A huge part of my success as an instructor is because of you and ICA.

  2. Another one for the list. Used this gem (if you like Psytrance that is!) this week for the final climb.
    The Highest Mountain by Astral Projection. It’s 10 mins long, no vocals apart from the great interjections of ‘’Because only if you’ve been in the deepest valley – Can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain’’.
    Also try King of the Mountain by Louis II. Unfortunately couldn’t find a good QOM track.

    1. Author

      Martyn, this is an AWESOME song! Thanks! I love those lyrics, or interjections as you call them!

      King of the Mountain is another great one—I’ve used that in several versions of this ride before—it’s perfect, isn’t it?!

      Keep the great suggestions coming!

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