The 2014 Meyers Mountain Bike Festival was an incredible representation of the strong and welcoming community of mountain bikers living in and loving the Southern Tahoe region. With the festival main location being right at Divided Sky, festival attendees started the day off right with fresh breakfast and coffees (I had my four slices of bacon thank you!). Free shuttle were running, and the Corral Trail, freshly buffed up from the combined efforts of local trail stewardships TAMBA and SBTS, was a popular course for riders to test out a brand new Rocky Mountain Bicycle, Ibis, or to enjoy their own trusty steed. In the evening, music, beers, and delicious BBQ kept riders warm through the excitement of a hail storm or two. To top it all off, I got to spend a day and a half with teammate Robyn Embrey, and coach old friends and new ones, in the inspiring setting of beautiful Meyers California.
This summer has been a bit off-track for me, meaning I haven’t gotten to spend enough time with the people I love, and doing the things I love doing most… gravity biking with my gal pals. An early season accident, put me down hard for over a month, and I was almost sure this summer had come and gone without me… So when it finally came time to get my freshly healing self back out there and down to South Lake Tahoe to tag team an event with Robyn Embrey, I was super stoked and beyond ready to get back out there and inspire and be inspired by womens mountain biking.
Unfortunately, poor Robyn, was now on the sidelines, with a bummer hip. In true Shine form, Robyn was all smiles and support for having a great weekend. She shuttled her boyfriend and myself up to Corral the evening before the festival to check out the Corral Trail. On Sunday, after making me fresh eggs from her chickens, Robyn worked the booth all day long, explaining the efforts of not only Shine Riders Co, but that of our sisters SheJumps.org, a non-profit aimed at getting more women outdoors, and DirtyJane.com, an online boutique store for female cyclists. Robyn described our upcoming collaborative events, collected e-mail sign ups, sold SheJumps t-shirts and hats (yes we will have Shine stuff soon!), and most of all, shed some light to the female attendees that there are now immense amounts of opportunities for women of all ages, riding types, and abilities, to get and stay involved with mountain biking. People were pretty bummed when Dirty Jane was not there in person, but hey I promise, we will get the great Jane physically to our events ASAP.
Our FUNdamentals Clinic started around 9am. I worked with our lovely students on everything from mountain bike anatomy and set-up, to how to have a dynamic body position and balance perfectly to maintain superior traction on any type of terrain (uphill, downhill, bumpy, loose Tahoe pow dust? No problem!!) I also taught the ladies about proper and efficient pedaling, shifting, and braking techniques. When I was satisfied with their operation of their bikes, and ability to maintain and adjust a perfect body position, we moved on to slightly more advanced skills. Utilizing all the room we had around what would later be the main stage of the evening music show to work on nice big flat corners, teaching the ladies to really let the bike lean, while counterbalancing with their outside foot, and leading with their heads, shoulders and hips. We also worked on riding in super tight little circles, to simulate tight, technical, singletrack and prepare the students for future lessons in conquering tough switchbacks. We even had enough time to begin working on lifting the front wheel and un-weighting the back one, a skill to ensure safer and smoother riding over obstacles.
After finishing up the FUNdamentals Clinic, one student stayed along to join two of our past students from the 2013 Queen of the MTN DH clinic at the Tahoe Fat Tire Festival last year at Squaw Valley USA. I was excited to get to ride Corral with these ladies. I was even more excited when Bob from Dakine offered to drive us up in his really awesome truck. If you like his sweet Pick-Up Pad (it matches my hydration pack!!) you can get one here.
After a refresher on the FUNdamentals for our returning students, and talking about what everyone would like to work on during the lesson, we dropped into Corral, but a bit farther from the actual top, which is actually part of Armstrong Trail. (I’m new to this area, so I just go where they tell me, ASK Robyn for trail tips). The trail starts out a bit rocky and challenging, so we worked on line choice, pumping natural transitions, and other ways to keep our momentum, balance, and smiles through the challenges. We worked on corners as they became available, with many being rocky, loose, and on the side of a cliff. An excellent venue for an intermediate clinic! I am so proud of our students, especially the brave “beginner” who signed up for both the FUNdamentals and the Enduro clinic. Watching someone who says they are “afraid of and not so good at” rock sections, fly down the trail with confidence and smoothness, is super satisfying as a coach. This is why I do it!!
Near the bottom of Corral is an excellent section of table tops and rollers to work on your jumping and pumping. We decided to spend a little bit of time here talking about the anatomy of a dirt jump, proper body position for take-off and landing, and beginning how to arc our bicycles, like the pro dirt jumpers do, landing with our wheels matched perfectly to the transition of the landing. I had promised not to jump so soon, but with the perfection of these jumps, and the great company, I broke my promise, over and over again. These jumps are great for learning!! Fun, safe, wide open, a great place to play!
Wish I could say the weekend went 100% perfect and that there were no accidents. Our group wrapped the day injury free, with even a ride back to town from Bob the Dakine guy. However, on our way out of the woods, we did happen upon the lovely Lindsey Kenney, down in the dirt. Lindsey, after making it down basically the entire trail all smiles and style (we saw you girl!) had a little mishap in the last roller section and took a hard fall, injuring part of her spine. Of course all injuries are a tragedy, and I wish I could support every single side-liner out there, but Lindsey’s story hit my heart like an arrow through a bullseye. If you have anything to give to help her through this tough time, you’ll find her fundraiser in the righthand sidebar —–>. You can also go directly to her youcaring.com account here.
And when we returned to the festival we had another surprise in store: HAIL! The Shine tent held up and provided shelter until the storm passed. Warm and delicious BBQ, along with beers or hot beverages kept folks warm. For a moment we thought the parking lot might flood, but that didn’t keep the kids from riding in and out of the puddles, reminding adults, that this is what mountain biking is all about: Be prepared for ANYTHING, be prepared to have FUN, be prepared to be INPSIRED.