Women’s Weekend at Ray’s

One of the first things you see as you walk through Ray’s Indoor MTB Park doors are the words, If You Build It, They Will Come formed in lengths of chain on a rough piece of plywood. I think Ray’s borrowed philosophy can apply to Dirt Rag’s First Annual Women’s Weekend at Ray’s (Feb. 22-24th). It’s important to note that without Ray, this event would not have happened. He built it and we came.

Nearly forty amateur and eight professional women riders participated in the Weekend. They came from as far away as the West Coast and stayed as long as they could. We ranked from the novice beginner to the top-of-the-class professionals. The youngest rider was around fifteen years of age and the oldest around fifty. Not one attendee would be swayed from their goal of riding by the tempting KISS Convention at the Holiday Inn nearby.

Lisa Myklak above the foam pit.

Friday, Ray had opened the doors early for the girls and once everyone had trickled in, Karen proceeded to officially start the Weekend with an introduction to the pros and a raffle. Many of these professional women riders came to support this venture and lend a hand on their own dime. All were eager to spread their love and knowledge of mountain biking with other women.

Jill Kintner, longstanding champion of mountaincross and BMX schooled us on the pump track

Kathy Pruitt, 2007 downhill National Champion showed us how to handle the drops with style

– Sue Haywood, queen of cross country, not only gave good advice, but traded lycra for jeans the second day

– Gale Dahlager, DH pro who was instrumental in getting this weekend together

– Emily Johnston, BlkMrkt jumper and jammer, inspired us to go higher (she’s also a coach at the Dirt Series camps)

– Lisa Myklak, another BlkMrkt styler and profiler, taught us how to handle the steep and tight corners

– Tammy Donahugh – IMBA’s Operations Manager, freerider and jumping aficionado

– Nina Buitrago, a top female BMX freestyle thrower-downer and Ray’s employee who showed us how to get the most from her home turf

Thanks also goes to Elizabeth Klevens, Dirt Rag’s first subscriber and fantastic rider, and Mindy Kuth from IMBA, part of the nucleus for Women’s Weekend.

A nod must also go to our sponsors who were beyond generous in support for this maiden (pardon the pun) venture. Both GT and Trek brought a stable of demo bikes, and Trek’s Chris Garrison even joined in a few sessions. For the raffle we gave away goodies from SRAM, Giro, Fire Eye, Fox, GT, and Dirty Girls. Since this was officially a World Tour stop, WTB tires were offered as a Dirt Rag premium for subscribers.

Ray’s staff went above and beyond the call of duty (especially since Ray himself was getting over a nasty illness and couldn’t stay for Friday’s fun). They helped out with anything we needed and got to ride some too. Nina herself took a few riders under wing. Lindsey Prosky, another of Ray’s employees and one of the youngest riders I’ve met, was also on hand to lend advice.

Friday’s afternoon clinics were ideal with small groups teaming up with the pros to learn basics, jumping back flips, wheelies, bunny hops, you name it. As one exhausted participant remarked, it’s hard to take a break when there was so much knowledge to soak up. It was great to be able to quiz the pros on approach and technique and glean valuable advice from their years of experience.

Friday evening’s entertainment was provided by Uncle Scratch’s Gospel Revival, which consisted of Brother Ed (drums and megaphone) and Brother Ant (guitar and vox) and a picture of Jesus. Pabst provided the free social lubricant.

Saturday was one of the busiest days at Ray’s, but there were still plenty of chances to seek advice from the pros. This was a great opportunity to form friendships and discover some true die-hard mountain biking souls.

We’ve already got the weekend after President’s Day penciled in at Ray’s to do it again next year, and have been talking about some ideas to make it even better. Women’s jump jam, anyone?

The whole gang.

Wanna see what ya missed? Check out these photo galleries:

Dirt Rag’s Gallery

bikemonkey.smugmug.com

Jill Kintner’s website

Bob Myers, Territory Manager for Trek – blog

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