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A Year in Review: The Power of Mentors - Ride Like a Girl 2019

Dec 19, 2019
by Amber Zirnhelt  
Ride Like a Girl mentor Trish Sinclair and her athlete Maddi Pollock, on a cross-country loop at Lost Lake in Whister.

bigquotesThe Ride Like a Girl program has helped me to increase my confidence on and off the bike, and my amazing mentor Trish Sinclair has helped me to significantly improve my technical skills so that I am a far stronger rider than I was last season.Maddi Pollock, an XC athlete from North Vancouver

From winning national titles to giving back to the cycling community by teaching kids to ride, and volunteering at races and trail days, the 2019 season was a great one for Ride Like a Girl athletes.

This year marked the fifth year of the Ride Like a Girl Program, and the biggest year yet with thirty athletes and mentors from across British Columbia. Each race season, Ride Like a Girl matches young female mountain bike athletes between the ages of 12 to 20 years old with professional athlete mentors in their cycling discipline. Athletes selected for the program have the opportunity to receive guidance, racing advice and meet and ride with pros in downhill, enduro, cross-country and freeriding disciplines.

Ride Like a Girl athlete Emmy Lan throwing it down at the Silverstar Canada Cup.

bigquotesDuring the season Ride Like a Girl provided me with constant support. I loved learning and riding with both my mentors and I always felt like I had a reliable source of support throughout my entire season.Emmy Lan

Lan was matched with mentors Stephanie Denroche (DH) and Carey Mark (XC).

Mentor Lisa Ludwig and her athlete Sarah Roberts tackled the Tripleshot Cross Fondo together in Victoria.

bigquotesSome of my best memories this past season were of the adventures that I went on with my mentor Lisa Ludwig. We rode Lord of the Squirrels during Crankworx in Whistler and did the Tripleshot Cross Fondo together in Victoria.Sarah Roberts, an XC athlete from Cumberland

bigquotesI loved being a mentor for Sarah and helping her navigate her excitement and challenges with riding her bike. It was so fun to see mountain biking through her fresh eyes of the sport; she is ever grateful and perceives most things through a positive lens. It was great to be a part of building her mental toolbox for dealing with competition and building her confidence.Lisa Ludwig

A highlight of the 2019 program, was the generous donation by Coal City Cycles (Nanaimo), Dodge City Cycles (Cumberland) and Juliana Bicycles of a Juliana Roubion bike for an outstanding Ride Like a Girl athlete. Cross-country athlete Geza Rodgers of Port Moody was selected as the recipient for the bike, and plans to use the bike to race Enduros in 2020.

Dodge City Cycles owner Dan Espeseth presents Rodgers with her new steed.

bigquotesGeza has a great attitude and has really progressed her riding over the past three seasons. She has demonstrated a commitment to pay-it-forward in the cycling community by volunteering with her school’s mountain bike club, and many community cycling events, including organizing a women’s night at her local bike shop, and helping with trail days. To top it off, she plans to donate the bike to another Ride Like a Girl athlete when she is finished with it.Amber Zirnhelt, Ride Like a Girl Chair

The idea for the donation of the Juliana, came from Robin Dutton at Coal City Cycles.

bigquotesI really appreciate how the Ride Like a Girl program encourages young women to believe in themselves and empowers them to pursue their dreams. We will do all we can as a shop to support that kind of growth in the sport we love.Robin Dutton

To complete the build of the bike both Dodge City Cycles and Juliana Bicycles were quick to jump on board and make significant contributions of components, and Jeff Barlow at Signage Canada customized the bike with Ride Like a Girl logos. Dan Espeseth from Dodge City Cycles donated hours to assemble the bike to get it trail ready for Geza.

bigquotesI was so excited and surprised when I found out that I won the Juliana Roubion! I’d like to thank all of the sponsors that made this happen and in particular Coal City Cycles and Dodge City Cycles for this awesome opportunity. They both played a huge part in this helping to build the bike and donate parts.Geza Rodgers

Rodgers had a chance to pop into Coal City Cycles to let them know how excited she is about her new ride. Here she is with Patrick Burnham of CCC.

Rodgers and her mentor Sandra Walter rode and raced several events together in 2019.

bigquotesI really enjoy being a Ride Like a Girl mentor because it gives me a chance to stay in touch with my roots in the sport and share what I've learned over my career. Plus, I've learned a lot from each and every one of the amazing athletes I have had the privilege of working with. It's a really special program and I think it has helped empower everyone involved.Sandra Walter

bigquotesWhat I loved most about being a mentor for the RLG program was watching my mentored athlete progress her skills and confidence throughout the season. As a talented athlete but new to mountain biking she really took some great steps forward in her riding, and it was fantastic to see her excitement at finishing on the podium in the overall standings.Tanya Allen, mentor for Comox XC athlete Frederica Blouin-Comeau

Another one of the highlights of the season for Ride Like a Girl athletes was the partnership with the North Shore Mountain Bike Association Dig Day. Many athletes and mentors took part in the trail day on Bridle Path on Mt Seymour.

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Natasha Miller of Coquitlam threw down a suite of new tricks this season all the while having a great season racing downhill and BMX. Miller was mentored by Jaime Hill. Photo: Jake Fox.

Miller won the Phat Kidz race series in Whistler this summer. Photo: Clint Trahan

North Vancouver's Bella Caswell during the Crankworx A-Line Race. Photo: @onecutmedia_rm

bigquotesALN encouraged me non-stop through the season helping me surpass injuries and taking the time to heal, along with giving me tips and tricks that helped me improve both on and outside the race circuit. It’s been awesome to have the opportunity to have ALN as a mentor.Bella Caswell

Marin Lowe of Squamish, had a strong XC season, including winning the BC XCO Provincial Champion title.

bigquotesOne of the main highlights of my season was the creation of many friendships. I really enjoyed the time with my mentor Zoe Dawson and the Ride Like a Girl events during Crankworx as well as the North Shore dig day and the ride in Cumberland.Marin Lowe

Katrin Rytir of Maple Ridge made some solid gains in cross-country this season, including a 4th place finish in the BC XC Provincial Championships.

bigquotesMy season was amazing thanks to the Ride Like a Girl Program. The best part was definitely spending time with my mentor, Kelli Sherbinin, and learning new skills from her while riding on the North Shore.Katrin Rytir

Ride Like a Girl athletes Maddi Pollock, Geza Rodgers, Sarah Roberts and Marin Lowe at the Bear Mountain XCO race earlier this year.

For several athletes, 2019 was their best season yet. A few highlights include:
• Bella Caswell, winning National and Provincial downhill champion titles in U15
• Emmy Lan winning the Crankworx Enduro World Series race in U17, and placing 1st in the Vedder Mountain Canadian Enduro Series in U21 and 1st place in Junior at the Mount Washington BC Cup DH
• Maddi Pollock placing 2nd at the Canada Cup/BC Cup at Whistler and at the High School Mountain Bike Provincials in XC.
• Marin Lowe took the BC XCO Provincial Champion title and earned a 2nd place in her first XCO Nationals race in U17.
• Natasha Miller took the win for the Phat Kidz race series at Whistler and finished on the podium in the Kidsworx Speed and Style Invitational during Crankworx, all the while also crushing it at BMX racing.
• Geza Rodgers placed 1st in U21 women at the Nimby Fifty and in her first race in elite, she landed on the podium with a 4th place at the Aldergrove Cyclocross race.
• Sarah Roberts took the win in U15 at the 2019 Canada Cup Bear Mountain XCO and was crowned 2019 BC Cyclocross Provincial Champion (U15)
• Katrin Rytir had a solid season notably taking a 4th place in the BC XC Provincial Championships and 5th place in overall women at the Vedder Mountain XC short course.

Ride Like a Girl’s 2019 athletes included cross-country athletes Sarah Roberts, Marin Lowe, Geza Rodgers, Frederica Blouin-Comeau, Katrin Rytir, Maddi Pollock, Tayte Proulx-Royds, Kaila Lafreniere, and Sabine Worsfold, and downhill/enduro athletes Gracey Hemstreet , Natasha Miller, Emmy Lan, Bella Caswell, and Oso Punchard.

Mentors for the program include professional downhill/enduro/freeride mountain bikers Jaime Hill, Kelli Sherbinin, Lynne Armstrong, Stephanie Denroche, Deb Mackillop, Lucy Schick and Andreane Lanthier Nadeau (ALN), and for cross-country Sandra Walter, Melanie McQuaid, Lisa Ludwig, Zoe Dawson, Carey Mark, Trish Sinclair, Tanya Allen, Julia Long and Jean Ann Berkenpas.

For more information on Ride Like a Girl or to get involved visit:


  • 18 0
 Hey Pinkbike! You forgot to nominate everyone in this article for the 2019 Performance of the Year.
  • 2 0
 Thank you for being the voice we need to hear!
  • 4 0
 I know a few of the girls who have benefitted from this tremendous program. Mentorship is a powerful tool and this is such a great thing for all involved.
  • 5 0
 So much stoke!
Kudos to all the mentors and athletes. Big Grin
  • 4 0
 A Good news story indeed!

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