It can happen in one moment, your entire life can change just by taking a leap of faith, trying something new, or just scaring yourself to the point you realize you were more capable than you ever thought. That day for me happened when I raced the Kamikaze Mountain bike downhill at Mammoth Mountain, California in the summer of 1992. I was living a normal life for a 20 year old. I was in college, working as a waitress, yet I didn’t fit in anywhere, I was lonely and probably at the beginning stages of becoming depressed. Accepting an invite to a bike race from some friends changed my life...forever!
At Ray’s Mountain Bike Park, the Women’s Weekend is for many, life changing. The stories I’ve been blessed to hear are remarkable and inspiring. From women who were scared to get back into the working world, to women who were scared to have a baby because they were afraid they couldn’t do both; the weekend gave each of these women the strength to take a risk and for one of them, they are now the leader of a mortgage company and for the other she is on her second pregnancy and loving that she can ride and be a mom. Bicycles may surround this event, but being part of the event gives you more than just bike skills, it seems to help us find our life skills as well. When you ride at Ray’s, you overcome fears, make friends, and realize what you are made of.
It’s an experience only those who have visited the park understand. This year, we saw the largest group of youth riders; the youngest was 4 years old. With a place to ride with over 200 women, gain some bike skills and walk away feeling more confident on and off the bike, Ray’s Women’s Weekend is hard to beat. At only $25 for the day’s event, where can you go with 13 of the world’s top technical bike instructors (all female) and get fed breakfast and lunch too...Ray’s Bike Park, that’s where.
For most of us we will find a way to say no to something that scares us, especially when we are not confident enough in ourselves to take a risk. I say look at your life, is it where you want to be or would adding an adventure possibly enhance your future. I know for me, it was the bike that changed my life and the people that surround the bike, but for you it might be a surfboard, an actor’s camp, or even asking for a raise, but for me it was the bike, plain and simple and Ray’s Women’s Weekend is a great place to start your change. Hope to see you at an event one day. Happy trails!!!
The next women’s weekend is March 13, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Details are here: raysmtb.com/events/womensweekend.htmlLeigh Donovan is 1995 World DH Champion, 9x US National Champion, the only female in both the BMX and MTB Hall of Fame, and is owner of ichoosebikes.com a platform based on getting more women more confident in the dirt. Leigh partners with Liv Cycling, SRAM, Troy Lee Designs, and WD-40 Bike on all her events.