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.
"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.
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.
"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."
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 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 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.