By Karen Brooks
My favorite event on our calendar was this past weekend: the Women’s Weekend at Ray’s Indoor Bike Park in Cleveland. This is always such a good time, riding-wise and socially, and I’m not exaggerating when I say it has been fundamental to my development as a mountain biker.
The first day, Friday, is when we ladies get the park to ourselves. Like last year, the legendary Leigh Donovan led the coaching staff of pro-level women of all riding persuasions, helping women improve on everything from body positioning to backflipping. Also like last year, I honed in on the intermediate-level box jumps and picked up as many tips as I could from BMX legend (and future ABA Hall of Famer) Deanna Jamieson. She showed us the right line through the tricky turn section, and gave us individual feedback on how to improve. I’m not sure I’ll ever fly through the air in perfect arcs like Deanna can, but it’s a helluva lot of fun to try.
This was the fifth year of the Women’s Weekend. As she has all five years, Dirt Rag Original Subscriber Elizabeth Klevens came along on the trip, and continued what’s become a tradition: adopting and tending a mascot. This year it was not just one, but handfuls of mascots, tiny rubber chickens. These little dudes found their way into all kinds of situations.
On Friday night, there was a party. It was a lot of fun, partly because, as with all good parties, it got a little out of hand. It seems that Ray thought it would be fun for the girls to get a private show by a male stripper. Someone else thought it would be funny to chuck a bottle at the guy (who might have been left over from the cast of Jersey Shore) while he did his thing, and he got mad. But things calmed down and we kept dancing.
Saturday and Sunday, those who were not too hung over came back to hone their new skills amidst a packed throng of dudes. It’s also a tradition that this weekend is the busiest in Ray’s calendar (go figure), and this one did not disappoint on that count. It was really cool to watch ladies who had previously been a little trepidatious go out and own the pump track, jumps, and stunts.
The newer Milwaukee location of Ray’s has a Women’s Weekend too, and it’s coming up – March 9-11. By all means, ladies, go if you can!