In early July, Maureen traveled up to Chico for a weekend of riding and to help me host the second edition of a series of free mountain biking skills clinics for women hosted through the bike shop I work at. We had a huge and very impressive turnout for the second clinic- 14 women! They all piled into Sports LTD and we began the clinic by talking about bike fit/setup and how to prepare for a mountain bike ride. We adjusted the air pressure in lots of ladies tires, tweaked brake levers, and raised seat posts. We then rolled through lower park, our impressive parade of women on bikes commandeering the trails as we talked about track-standing, cornering, and looking ahead.
We then headed over to upper Bidwell Park and session-ed the first part of North Rim trail, one of the most difficult, rocky, challenging climbs I’ve done. We talked about choosing your line, body positioning for climbs, and proper gearing. Then everyone had a chance (or a couple) to clear the first pitch, and almost everyone did! There were cheers and whooping and camaraderie to encourage the other riders.
We then continued onwards on Middle Trail and used a flat tire as an opportunity for a brief flat repair clinic. Mo was super helpful in describing the proper way to remove the wheel from the dropouts, use levers to pry off the tire, and check the tire for thorns. Many of the participants had never fixed a flat so it was awesome to share this knowledge with them and to give them a chance to see how easy it really is to change your own flat.
Back on Middle Trail we navigated our way through another challenging rocky descent followed by a sharp climb to the right, and it was so fun and inspirational to hear everyone cheering and encouraging each other, and to see riders clearing sections they’d never even attempted before. We had a tough-as-nails group and the girls barely even flinched as we talked out way through drops, g-outs, and rock gardens. I was impressed beyond belief when I watched Kendra (who was on her first mountain bike ride EVER) gracefully clear a rock drop that took me at least a few attempts to have the courage to try. With such a big group, the ride took longer than anticipated and part of the group split off to get home sooner. The rest of us worked some sections on Lower Trail headed out of the park and stopped for a photo in the gorgeous evening light. We then accepted an inviatation to finish the ride at Sam’s house, who’s husband is a very talented home brewer. Thank you Sam and Dan! And thank you to to the whole group of riders for being so awesome and fun! Bidwell Park is a very challenging place to learn to ride, and everyone was so brave about committing themselves and trying something new. There will be two more clinics offered: Tues August 3rd and Tues Sept 7th, 5:30pm for both. If you’re interested in signing up, post a reply below. Cheers! -E