After spending the last few years as a team of four, 2012 ended up a little differently for the Trek Gravity Girls. Jess Stone got the chance to step up to the next level in her racing career and ride for the Unior Tool Team. She's still on Trek, but now has complete race support at the World Cups. Another former Gravity Girl, Solveig, has became a mum and started her own mountain bike school, ridingstyle, with her boyfriend
The easiest way to fill the empty spots would have been to add an already known rider to the team, but Steffi and Katja came up with another idea. Why not give unknown female riders with great skills the chance to win a spot on the team? The idea was born to create a contest in order to find the perfect teammate for Steffi and Katja.
Since the Trek Gravity Girls are based in the German speaking countries, 30 girls from Germany, Austria and Switzerland were selected from all of the applications received and were invited to the first event, the Dakine Freeride Festival in Saalbach, Austria. Over three days the girls had to do different challenges on their bikes while Steffi and Katja got the chance to see them ride and rate their riding skills and overall performance. In the end, a hard decision had to be made, and 10 girls were selected to advance into the next round.
It was amazing to see so many girls having fun on their bikes and shredding hard. The highlight of round one was a helicopter shoot on the Hacklberg Trail. A big thanks to Saalbach and Bascht Hasenauer for making this possible.
Katja and Steffi leading the girls on Hacklbergtrail. 30+ girls in a line. Longest girl train ever?
Goasstall Hinterglemm - looks like Brett Tippie is having fun.
The next stop was Flims/Laax in Switzerland for the ride days. Two days packed with alpine trail riding, skills sessions, a foam pit and shredding the Runca Trail in Flims. Unfortunately, the weather gods were not on our side. We got a lot of rain, but that didn't stop the girls from having fun riding their bikes outside. In the end, Steffi and Katja once again had to decide which five girls got into the next round at the Trek Bike Attack Race in Lenzerheide / Switzerland.
In August the last five girls, Yvonne, Michèle, Steffi, Kathi and Gloria, were invited to Lenzerheide in Switzerland. The girls spent four days riding and racing around the Trek Bike Attack with Katja, getting some final tips from one of the fastest long distance downhill racers in the world. Once again, it was a hard decision for Katja to nominate the final three girls for the last round in Brixen, Italy, in September.
Meeting René Wildhaber, getting tips, riding together. Seems like a good time for the girls.
Qualification run for Yvonne.
Air time for Kathi during the quali run.
Steffi during her quali run.
Racetime for Michéle.
The final decision was made in Brixen. After a long discussion, Steffi and Katja were happy to announce the addition of two new girls to their team, so there would once again be four Trek Gravity Girls. The lineup for the next season will be Steffi Marth, Katja Rupf, Michèle Quint and Kathi Kypers.
Four again: Steffi, Katja, Kathi and Michèle heading into the 2013 season.
Finally, a big thanks goes out to all our sponsors who made this possible. Thanks to Trek Bicycle, Bontrager, Saalbach Hinteglemm/Young Generations Resort, Flims Laax / Signina Hotel; Trek Bike Attack, Bikehotel Goldene Krone Brixen. And most of all, to all the, girls we were lucky enough to meet and ride with throughout this search.
You can follow us through the upcoming season at:http://www.facebook.com/TrekGravityGirlsPhotos:
Sebastian Doerk / www.infinitetrails.de
sportograf / www.sportograf.com
Philipp Ruggli / www.philippruggli.ch
Philip Ruopp / www.philip-ruopp.de