Here at Shine, we try our very best to include, collaborate, and grow with as many other womens mountain biking clubs, teams, and individuals as possible. These women make up our Riding Community, the most essential part of the sustainability and growth of womens mountain biking. It is with great honor and excitement to add the Mountain Miss Fits to our community! Back in June, not long after my spleen injury, Meghan, the west-coast head-giraffacorn of SheJumps.org let me know that the Mountain Miss Fits were craving a skills clinic and weekend of fun riding adventures. Checking the MMF facebook page I could tell these ladies were all about fun, great times, and helping each other grow on mountain bikes. There is no way I could have turned down the opportunity, and I am ever so grateful for the energy and motivation their request gave me to get off the couch and back to coaching. I spent several weekends working for Yuba Expeditions, so that I could “live” in Downieville and get back in shape for the epic weekend. Many thanks go out to Jake, Amy and Andy of Yuba for keeping me stoked and getting me up at all hours of the morning for bike rides in preparation for this event.
For the Girls Gravity Getaway, I offered a short version of both my FUNdamental and Enduro skills clinics at a special rate. Registration was open to the public and many women who had never heard of the Mountain Miss Fits, Shejumps, or Shine signed up for the clinic, bringing many new faces together. We had a mixture of riding styles, abilities, ages, and bikes that showed up throughout the weekend. Overall, about 30 women showed up throughout the weekend for skills clinics, riding, and/or camping with the lady crew.
Preparing for this event, I was really worried that we wouldn’t have enough drops or gravity features in the area I selected for the clinic. However, the ladies were most interested in getting up and over obstacles at slower speeds, such as technical climbing. They were also thrilled to learn more about cornering, a skill many riders struggle with before they have mastered the FUNdamental skills. We worked for hours on “slow speed skills” like pumping up and over rocks to keep our momentum moving forward in tricky terrain. The women were marvelous listeners and quick learners, which made teaching fun and enjoyable. After Fridays clinic we enjoyed Pork Tacos from La Cocina de Oro, my favorite place to eat in Downieville.
I felt really confident about Saturdays ride after seeing the fast improvements and ahhhh-haaa moments take place before my eyes. Most of the riders were also exceptionally fit and strong, and my previous concern about getting out of the woods on Saturdays ride before dark quickly vanished. At 2pm we loaded up 2 Yuba Expedition shuttles and made our way to the tippity top of the mountain, which is at about 7000 ft.
The shuttle drive is about 45 minutes long and is known to make the more sensitive folks car-sick. After turning up the road at Bassets, the Sierra Buttes quickly come into view, which is a very inspiring view to those who are seeing the first or thousandth time.
At the top we did our mandatory group photo and trail safety talk, the Miss Fits left a momento on the Shuttle Parking Only sign, and it was time to drop in on the Sunrise Trail to enjoy all of its new flowy fun.
The ride was mostly un-eventful (in a good way!) all the way down Sunrise and the new part of Butcher, which is now smoother and has more flow than the old OHV route. When we approached the “Rock G-Out” we made our first stop to session and take some photos. Bailey, and other Mountain Miss Fit leaders helped coach the ladies through the section, while I mostly stood back on the far side and cheered as the women made there best efforts to climb up the other side. It was a rock-solidly-rad sight to see, cross-country women killing rock sections!
The ladies were also interested with cleaning the Waterfall section. No not, the kind of cleaning you might do in your kitchen or garage, but making it through smoothly with no dabs. Many tried, and many made it! Many ladies helped spot the trail and watch for riders approaching from uphill.
After the technical challenge of Butcher, Pauley Creek was super rewarding. At this point I swept the back end of the group, so that everyone could move at a pace comfortable for them (read = I wanted to kick it by that creek too!) The ladies that hung back gave me a workout up the climb, sprinting most of the 500 ft of elevation gain to the rewarding Third Divide trail. After Third, some riders chose to take the fireroad back to town, while others worked on more technical skills on First Divide. The group ahead almost lost Stephanie as she and her beautiful new Julianna slipped off the side of the trail. The crew of ladies, worked together to save both her and the bike, and the incident served as a scary reminder how dangerous our sport can be even though it is loads of fun. Yet another reason to ride with a group, for safety.
After the 4600 ft of descending and about 4 hours of laughing, pedalling, and having a stellar time, all riders returned to town. Most ladies were super hungry, which was fine because the Mountain Miss Fits hosted a dinner, complete with CHOCOLATE at their temporary weekend home of Union Flat Campground.
On Sunday I led a full day clinic on the Downieville Downhill while the Miss Fits led another No-Drop ride on the North Yuba Trail. I had so much fun with my student Lani, and I really hope she will come back for more.
If you’d like to find more photos from this fun excursion, be sure to check out the Mountain Miss Fits facebook page, and don’t forget to LIKE!