Written by Christine Beriau Tuesday, 12 September 2017 00:00
This past weekend I attended the first NEMBA Women's Mountain Bike Summit which was held at Kingdom Trails in East Burke VT. It was an amazing weekend with 175 women mountain bikers in one place exchanging inspiration and camaraderie.
I had the honor of being invited to not only attend the summit but to be involved in the planning and organizing of the event. Some really amazing women stepped up and put in a ton of volunteer hours to get this event up and running. My involvement with the planning was limited however, I participated on a panel for “All things Racing” and led one of the many group rides during the summit on Kingdom Trails.
We gathered at the Burke Mountain Hotel and Conference center on Friday evening for the start of a 2 day conference on promoting women’s involvement in NEMBA and in their local mountain biking community. Our mornings were centered around discussion panels ranging from advocacy, racing, getting more women involved, getting kids involved, women in the bike industry, along with taking your riding to the next level. During our panel on racing many topics were covered from trying your first race to building on your skills and speed. We discussed the different types of mtb racing from xc, endurance, and gravity. Mary Elges, pro downhiller for Team Bikeman was also on our racing panel and led some great discussion on gravity racing along with Stacey from the quiet corner CT NEMBA chapter. Participants were really interested in the discussion about gravity and Enduro racing asking great questions about how the races are held and what is the best way to get started. There was much discussion on learning to jump. I left our racing panel inspired to become more skilled with gravity riding. I hope to find a clinic to build on my skills and become more confident when riding at a bike park and on downhill trails in general. Much of this summit was about getting us all to step out of our comfort zone and on that, the summit succeeded.
In the afternoon, we got to get on the bike and attend skills clinics led by certified coaches for all levels from beginner on up; including a very popular gravity beginner and intermediate level skills clinics. Participants could also participate in led group rides of all levels. I led an Advanced Intermediate ride with Lydia Barter, who had been the one to invite me to become involved with this event. We led a group of 9 ladies on a 15 mile ride through some of the best trails in VT. If you have never been to Kingdom Trails you really should go. East Burke has a festival feel about it with mountain bikers congregating in the river to cool off after riding and enjoying a post ride beer at Mikes Tiki Bar.
The Summit was a huge success! I learned so much and returned home very excited to bring my local mtb community some great ideas and to become more involved with my local NEMBA chapter.
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