Event Report: The World’s Biggest Women’s MTB Festival

Nov 20, 2019
by Ash Bocast  


bigquotesI don’t even know how to explain it. It was off the charts. Blew all of my expectations out of the water, it was seriously a million times better than I could have ever imagined it would be.Jen Zeuner, former pro DH racer / Hot Tomato Pizza owner

This past weekend over 350 womxn traveled to Sedona, Arizona to partake in Roam Fest, a three-day mountain bike event curated for experienced female riders. Progression, world-class riding, fun vibes, and community building were all important aspects of the festival. Participants had the added benefit of nearly two hundred demo bikes with hand-selected frame sizes for the female riders in attendance.


“I thought the festival was amazing to have such an awesome group of women together that could shred on every level,” said Jen Zeuner, a former pro DH racer and co-owner of Hot Tomato Pizza (of Fruita, Colorado fame), “I don’t even know how to explain it. It was off the charts. Blew all of my expectations out of the water, it was seriously a million times better than I could have ever imagined it would be.” Zeuner came to the event as a panelist for the event's SHREDTalks influencer panel; one of the dozens of pre and post-ride activities offered at the event.

Roam Fest Sedona 2019
Roam Fest Sedona 2019

Roam Fest Sedona 2019

Roam Fest Sedona 2019
Roam Fest Sedona 2019

bigquotesWe're just throwing bike parties for lady shredders.Andi Zolton
"When Roam Fest launched in 2017, it was the only event of it's kind in the world. To my knowledge, we continue to be the only dedicated large-scale event aimed at seasoned female riders looking for a fun-first, non-competitive experience to enjoy with other women." festival co-founder and co-director Andi Zolton said, "That sounded pretty serious, but really we're just throwing bike parties for lady shredders," she laughed.


The festival hosted dozens of small-group rides led by volunteer ride leaders throughout the weekend. Although geared toward established riders, the event hosted participants of every skill level from nearly-first-timers to World Champions, with the majority falling somewhere in between. Organizers created a detailed series of Trailforks routes utilized during group rides, as well as by riders who were happy to adventure out on their own outings. Hermosa Tours was on hand to get riders to and from trailheads with shuttle drivers doubling as hype-girls and route experts. There was also an opportunity to attend over 30 workshops hosted by participating bike companies with topics like bottom-bracket removal and trail building techniques.

Roam Fest Sedona 2019


Onsite activities ran well into the evening, with participants suiting up in puffy coats and wool caps to ward off the desert chill. On Friday there was a raucous meet-and-greet Happy Hour followed by an outdoor all-womxn's adventure film screening.


Roam Fest Sedona 2019

"We invest in a lot of evening infrastructure," said Zolton, "we want the event to feel like summer camp for adults, so we corral activities into all-festival gatherings in the evenings. We bring in the food, lights, space heaters, blankets, and campfire to set that tone. It isn't surprising to us that next to riding, the evening is nearly everyone's favorite part of the festival."

Roam Fest Sedona 2019 SHREDTalks Influencer Panel featuring L-R Vaea Verbeeck Anneke Beerten Anne Keller Jen Zeuner

After a long day on the bikes Saturday, ladies enjoyed a warm catered dinner together while listening to a hilariously empowering keynote speech titled "Elephant in the Room" from Lisa Slagle, founder and CEO of creative agency Wheelie Creative. Then it was time for the aforementioned SHREDTalks discussion panel where Zeuner and her wife, Hot Tomato co-owner Anne Keller, joined reigning Queen of Crankworx Vaea Verbeeck and 4x World Champ Anneke Beerten. The crowd, full of stoke from the presence of several legends, was fully hyped for a raffle giveaway with all funds raised donated to the non-profit World Bike. The evening continued on its upward swing with a culminating animal-themed dance party just steps away from racks of demo bikes. A group of Sedona tourists on a Javelina safari stumbled upon the crowd.

Roam Fest Sedona 2019

Roam Fest Sedona 2019

bigquotesYou can't help but be stoked!Heidi Dent, Paralympian

"Roam Fest was hands down one of the most epic experiences I have ever had, " said festival attendee and Paralympic snowboarder Heidi Dent, "words don't describe how amazing it is to be in one of the most awesome places on the planet surrounded by three hundred plus badass womxn. You can't help but be stoked!"

Roam Fest Sedona 2019

Roam Fest will be hosting two events in 2020: May 1-3 in Brevard, North Carolina and Sedona, Arizona in the fall. Registration for Roam Fest Brevard opens December 2nd, 2019 while the fall festival will launch tickets in early May. For more event information visit the Roam Events website or follow @thisisroam on Instagram for the most up-to-date announcements.



Regions in Article
Sedona


75 Comments

  • 27 1
 Shoot, we were in Sedona last week and had no idea this was happening! My wife and daughter would have had fun riding with these gals!!! FWIW, I saw zero publicity about the event between social (Instagram/Facebook/Pinkbike) and physically being in Sedona all last week.

Will put next year's event in North Carolina tentatively on the calendar ,but that's a much bigger trip for us.

Super cool that this is a thing!!! Nice work!
  • 8 2
 Organically massively successful FTW! To be fair we were in Sedona and had no idea you were there! Ha!!!
  • 2 0
 It was the week before you came.
  • 2 0
 @hardtailparty: Next time we'll make it! Looks like an AWESOME event!
  • 1 0
 I ride in Sedona often and was up there that weekend. It was good to see large groups of ladies out there riding. My group was on Hogs (double Black Diamond) and there were some ladies out there crushing it.

I would agree that maybe a marketing firm could help as 350 women is a good number but it has the potential to be some much bigger then that.
  • 5 0
 @vjunior21: The event sells out months in advance every year. I'd say their marketing is doing pretty well. I would guess they're trying to keep it small and intimate. There were a LOT of shredders there this year. This is such a good thing for our sport.
  • 3 0
 @hardtailparty:
Not ripping on the event at all. The female riding population (mtn & road) is expanding quickly so capturing the potential would be great. If the idea is to keep it small then I get it.

My thought is if 2019 yielded 350 and 2021 grew to 1,000 then the industry would take notice. The industry would start to loom at the segment and devote more attending to women's products, marketing, and outreach.
  • 12 0
 Thank you for hosting one of the best mountain bike events of the year!
  • 19 10
 The bottom line is that if your first reaction to an all women mountain bike event is negative, the problem is not the event, it's in the mirror.
  • 5 4
 Sorry all; misplaced response to the Angry Dudes in the downvote section below!
  • 7 1
 Women make mountain biking a better sport! I believed that when I hosted a WOMBAT tea and Jacquie Phelan at the Chihuahuan Desert Challenge in the late 80s, and I still believe it today!
  • 2 0
 Alice B Toeclips rules
  • 4 0
 These events are so much fun! The organization is top notch and it is a great all-around experience where you get to ride your bike all day, learn cool new things about bikes and how they work, and then get to party your face off... until 9pm (which is great because you need to get up early in the morning to catch the beautiful sunrise and then ride your bike all day again!). The encouraging atmosphere and camaraderie can't be beat.
  • 4 0
 I was there riding for a co 40th birthday celebration that weekend with my buddy and my wife and we ran across a few groups from this event. They seemed to be having so much fun! Cool event. My wife would have loved to check it out if we'd have known.
  • 7 0
 So great to see events like this, awesome job to everyone involved!
  • 13 10
 LOVE the event! So awesome to see women out shredding!!!

Quick question for the Roam organizers-
"Gals", "Women" ("womxn"), "Ladies", "Girls", "Gurls" -- which do the organizers of Roam prefer?

I'm a relic of 2nd-wave feminism & am sensitive to naming. I'm noticing a LOT of lady shredders like to use "Girls", but I'm remembering loooong discussions in college which argued that's not the best term (ie infantilism, etc).
  • 6 0
 Roamfest is awesome. My wife loves this event. The girls have all the fun.
  • 2 0
 It is awesome to see I9 doing wheel demos on the rider's existing bikes. I thought about that a few years back as it would make sense for a rider to feel the performance difference on their own bike then go to a whole new bike and assume it might be the wheels versus the whole bike rides better. Smart move I9...smart move.
  • 5 0
 This is rad. Haters gonna hate. Sounds like it was an awesome party
  • 3 1
 Womxn is trying to be inclusive, but acknowledges that you might be different… So are you inclusive or do you exclude people that identify as women by writting womxn ? Im lost.
  • 4 0
 It seems they had great times !
  • 5 0
 Absolutely the most fun!
  • 3 0
 Hands down one the best events we participate in each year! Looking forward to the future Roam Fest events!
  • 4 0
 Dope! A friend of mine went to this and is (still) all smiles.
  • 3 2
 Would I'd love to see the world's biggest woman. And she rides a bike?
  • 11 12
 An article highlighting women in mountain biking and they misspell 'women' in the first sentence.
  • 12 6
 @h82crash the spelling is intended to be inclusive of all people that identify as a woman, as well as woman of colour. I didn't know this till I Googled it! en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Womxn
  • 9 3
 @silvergrip: you couldn't make it up. oh, hold on..
  • 18 2
 @silvergrip: because 'women' doesn't include women of colour?
  • 8 1
 @Mac1987: in the minds of progressive white people, you have to create an addition for people of color because they are not included or equal
  • 4 0
 And I thought "womxn" in the first sentence was a new expression of women rippers on mtn bikes. Maybe we can just start using it as they are not just women...they are womxn.
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