Southeast Wyoming Women Building Skills and Finding Friends In Mountain Biking
By Jenn Hess and Lisa Marno
This women’s season started in June with the first annual Rowdy Gowdy Women’s Mountain Bike Camp. Jenn Hess, a local shredder with a passion for networking lady mountain bikers through skill building, dreamed of and organized the camp. The two-day event included bike maintenance, basic skills, and advanced skills like bunny hopping, dropping, and even a few wheelies. Thirty women participated with 10 coaches, and many other helping hands. Dinner (BEER!) and breakfast included. Many local businesses stepped up with donations of food, expertise, and amazing raffle prizes for the lady riders. A nominal camper fee was charged with the extra proceeds donated to the local youth MTB camps. Sunshine, challenges, and plenty of riding will keep this camp an annual event. No one left their smiles or skills behind.
Barely time to catch a breath, the Rowdy Gowdy was followed by the Granite Girls MTB Camp. In its 3rd season, the camp is geared toward high school aged riders. Kate Rau, the Colorado HS Cycling League Coordinator, and Cindy Dywan, head of the Laramie HS 7220 Racing Team started the camp to empower young women and to give them a supported riding environment to test their skills. The 3-day camp was attended by 30 girls not afraid to skin their knees, ride the slabs, and take some chances.
All participants came away with more confidence in their riding abilities and the skills to change a flat tire when the need arises. All coaches volunteered to share their passion with these young lady rippers. This was truly a women’s only camp. The improvement in each rider was not only noticed by the coaches, but by participants as well.
“You pushed me to do things I thought were impossible for me and would never try on my own.” said Julia, a first-year camper.
Throughout the summer women continue to ride together with TWO all-inclusive local ladies groups that ride every Thursday. DORA, Dames Out Riding Descents, is the Cheyenne based group of women who really love to hit the trails at Curt Gowdy. Jodee Pring keeps this group rolling. Towards Laramie, the Spinderellas also encourage all women to show up and explore the trails with different ride leaders show casing their favorite paths every week. Once in a while both groups ride together! And, they will all ride until the snow comes, so join in if you can.
AND, in wrapping up July, the Rowdy Gowdy Camp hosted a one day, donation based, beginner camp. Ten women filled the slots which were intended to lure the most timid riders out for a day. Skills, lunch, and a great ride made for some stoked (and tired) women.
Still to come is the fall Rowdy Gowdy one day clinic on September 30. Pretty soon they will have to have an advanced skills camp with all the women taking to the trails en masse seeking speed and jumps!
“The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you’ll crash.” Julia Furtado.