Nearly forty amateur and eight professional women riders participated in the Weekend. They came from as far away as the West Coast and stayed as long as they could. We ranked from the novice beginner to the top-of-the-class professionals. The youngest rider was around fifteen years of age and the oldest around fifty. Not one attendee would be swayed from their goal of riding by the tempting KISS Convention at the Holiday Inn nearby.
Friday, Ray had opened the doors early for the girls and once everyone had trickled in, Karen proceeded to officially start the Weekend with an introduction to the pros and a raffle. Many of these professional women riders came to support this venture and lend a hand on their own dime. All were eager to spread their love and knowledge of mountain biking with other women.
– Jill Kintner, longstanding champion of mountaincross and BMX schooled us on the pump track
– Kathy Pruitt, 2007 downhill National Champion showed us how to handle the drops with style
– Sue Haywood, queen of cross country, not only gave good advice, but traded lycra for jeans the second day
– Gale Dahlager, DH pro who was instrumental in getting this weekend together
– Lisa Myklak, another BlkMrkt styler and profiler, taught us how to handle the steep and tight corners
– Tammy Donahugh â€“ IMBAâ€™s Operations Manager, freerider and jumping aficionado
– Nina Buitrago, a top female BMX freestyle thrower-downer and Ray’s employee who showed us how to get the most from her home turf
Thanks also goes to Elizabeth Klevens, Dirt Ragâ€™s first subscriber and fantastic rider, and Mindy Kuth from IMBA, part of the nucleus for Womenâ€™s Weekend.
A nod must also go to our sponsors who were beyond generous in support for this maiden (pardon the pun) venture. Both GT and Trek brought a stable of demo bikes, and Trekâ€™s Chris Garrison even joined in a few sessions. For the raffle we gave away goodies from SRAM, Giro, Fire Eye, Fox, GT, and Dirty Girls. Since this was officially a World Tour stop, WTB tires were offered as a Dirt Rag premium for subscribers.
Rayâ€™s staff went above and beyond the call of duty (especially since Ray himself was getting over a nasty illness and couldnâ€™t stay for Fridayâ€™s fun). They helped out with anything we needed and got to ride some too. Nina herself took a few riders under wing. Lindsey Prosky, another of Ray’s employees and one of the youngest riders Iâ€™ve met, was also on hand to lend advice.
Fridayâ€™s afternoon clinics were ideal with small groups teaming up with the pros to learn basics, jumping back flips, wheelies, bunny hops, you name it. As one exhausted participant remarked, itâ€™s hard to take a break when there was so much knowledge to soak up. It was great to be able to quiz the pros on approach and technique and glean valuable advice from their years of experience.
Friday eveningâ€™s entertainment was provided by Uncle Scratchâ€™s Gospel Revival, which consisted of Brother Ed (drums and megaphone) and Brother Ant (guitar and vox) and a picture of Jesus. Pabst provided the free social lubricant.
Saturday was one of the busiest days at Rayâ€™s, but there were still plenty of chances to seek advice from the pros. This was a great opportunity to form friendships and discover some true die-hard mountain biking souls.
Weâ€™ve already got the weekend after Presidentâ€™s Day penciled in at Rayâ€™s to do it again next year, and have been talking about some ideas to make it even better. Womenâ€™s jump jam, anyone?