How One Day at Ray's Women's Weekend Can Change Everything

Feb 17, 2015
by Leigh Donovan  
2015 Women s Weekend Photo George Sarkes

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!

2015 Women s Weekend Photo George Sarkes

Ray s 2015

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.

Instruction CLE s Women s Weekend 2014

Cleveland instruction.

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.

2015 Women s Weekend Photo George Sarkes

2015 Women s Weekend Photo George Sarkes

2015 Women s Weekend Photo George Sarkes

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!!!

Ray s 2015

Women s Weekend 2015

The next women’s weekend is March 13, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Details are here: raysmtb.com/events/womensweekend.html

Leigh 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.

MENTIONS: @raysmtb1


  • + 11
 Thanks for another spectacular event! We couldn't make this event happen without Leigh, her coaches, & the tremendous support of the cycling community. Anyone who's lived through a Women's Weekend knows that there's something special about that weekend regardless of your gender or even if you're an avid mountain biker!
  • + 6
 My life didn't get as good as it is now, until my girlfriend did a Leigh D clinic at whistler, my girl needed some help in some areas I couldn't teach. Women on bikes is cool as.
  • + 4
 Such an awesome weekend! I rode stuff I never thought possible. Jumped stuff I never thought I could. Even pulled a track stand for about five seconds(not the best at balance over here). Wish I could afford the trip to the MKE weekend, alas, I can't. But, next year- totes in!!
  • + 4
 Leigh @ichoosebikes ,
I always find myself diving into these articles for women/girls to see how they view riding. Both of my daughters look at riding in such a what I would think is "odd" perspective, but reading articles like this makes it dawn on me that it's not odd, but a girl's eyes that see riding in a more unique frame of mind than I am privy to.

Thanks! Hope you, Stik and your princess keep it pinned for a long time to come.
  • + 5
 Leigh, you make a difference!!! So impressed with your commitment to supporting and teaching riding to women. You truly are a game changer...
  • + 3
 Thanks for doing this and for posting it. I know it won't generate many comments from the 15-25 year olds males that dominate Pinkbike, but my wife has been a huge fan of Rays since its inception. I can't wait to send my daughter to an event like this. Thanks Leigh - I still remember hearing your daughter yelling "pedal, pedal, pedal" at Fontana. (I think that was you).
  • + 3
 Logging in and seeing this at the top of my feed is the shit... Seriously. It's so rad to see Leigh and her team helping other chicks have fun and progress further into the sport. Thanks for being an icon, @ichoosebikes!!!
  • + 1
 Thanks Leigh for the clinic. I have never felt so confident on a bike! And I realized that I can manual very well by the end of Friday. I am out for a while due to an injury I experienced the following day, but, I am looking forward to getting back in the saddle ASAP!!
  • + 4
 So important for the growth and future of the sport!
  • + 1
 Awesome, so good to read about a place where women can ride and learn to ride; need more events like this.
  • + 2
 Awesome event. I really wish I lived closer and could bring my daughter.
  • + 1
 A little bummed to see old photos used.

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