Getting to Know Your 5 Female Pinkbike Academy Contestants

Nov 1, 2021
by Sarah Moore  


PINKBIKE ACADEMY
PRESENTED BY

SEASON 2




Pinkbike Academy Season 2 Photos by Chris Pilling


ALAINA HENDERSON


Where are you from and where do you live?

I grew up in Kingston, New York , About 7 years ago I made the move to California. I’m now living in a little beach town, Encinitas in north county San Diego. It’s truly paradise here.

Do you have a day job? If yes, what do you do?

Yes, I teach Pilates and I love it! Movement is so important and essential to me. Sharing my passion for pilates allows me to make amazing connections within the community and give back to the people that make this place special.

How long have you been mountain biking? How did you get into it?

Well, I started mountain biking just a few years ago after racing BMX my whole life. So the transition to mountain biking was natural for me. Friends from the BMX track invited me to mountain bike for the first time and I was hooked. I was doing both for a while up until the BMX track closed at the start of the pandemic. Since then my focus has been mountain bikes. It’s refreshing, traveling to new places and meeting new people. I now spend the most time on my enduro bike but of course have the DJ for dual slalom, dirt jumps, and pumptrack.

What are some of the accomplishments that you're most proud of?

There’s so many accomplishments big and small that I’m proud of. Moving to California and getting certified to teach Pilates all while continuing to do what I love is a big one and a dream come true. Being on Pinkbike Academy is a huge accomplishment for me. Having the courage to put myself out there wasn’t easy, but that’s how you keep growing and moving forward in life.

What were some of the highlights of 2020/2021 for you?

COVID times! I’d say a podium at Strait Acers dual slalom event was a major highlight. Racing my first enduro races here in California was a big humbling leap and a steep learning curve for me. The opportunity to sneak away to Canada for the summer is for sure up there on the list! I also just went to Red Bull Rampage for the first time, seeing the lines in person and the energy of the event left me speechless! First time in Utah dirt, sessioning features at old site was a blast. The opportunity for progression out there is unreal

How did you prepare for Pinkbike Academy?

While preparing for the Academy I made it a priority to ride as much as possible with just longer rides altogether. I changed things up in the gym a bit. Of course pilates, ate clean and some mental prep. It all adds up!

What are your strengths?

Coming from a BMX background is a strength in its self, giving me a well rounded base and understanding of bike control, including pumping, jumping and powerful pedals.

What are your weaknesses?

I feel like I struggle linking all the pieces together and the endurance factor mountain biking requires. Also, getting out of my comfort zone to ride more technical trails. Though I am confident with more time on the big bike and racing more enduro this will come. The plan is to make this weakness one of my strengths.

Where is your favourite place to ride?

So far my favorite would have to be the PNW and Whistler Bike Park. Every time I ride somewhere new it keeps getting better!

What's been your worst crash over the years?

In 2010 I lacerated my stomach open from my brake lever and damaged my intestines, spent New Year's Eve in the hospital. Or when I knocked my teeth out... I was dating a guy that rode BMX freestyle and I tried riding park with him, but it didn't end so well.

Who are your favourite riders?

Corben Sharrah, Brooke Crain, Kyle Strait, Kris Fox, Jill Kintner. A mix of BMX racing, freestyle and mountain bikers, all with effortless style and humble personalities.

What's your favourite motto or saying?

Spread love, share wisdom. This is what life’s about!

What's your favourite food?

My favorite food depends on the season, whatever’s fresh. Recently it’s been roasted veggies with tahini.

What annoys you?

Coffee cup lids, alarms in the morning, I'm more of a circadian rhythm type of person, and when people are wasteful.

What makes you happy?

I love riding with the groms - they're always stoked and sending it. Seeing other people happy, a smile is contagious. Exploring new places, and new experiences.

What do you enjoy away from bikes?

Balance is key. Off the bike I love the ocean, surfing, pilates really all types movement. I take pride in living a healthy balanced life style.






FLORENCIA ESPINEIRA


Where are you from and where do you live?

I am from Chile, currently living in Whistlaaa

Do you have a day job? If yes, what do you do?

Mountain biker during the day, dishwasher at night!

How long have you been mountain biking? How did you get into it?

For 19 years now. I started riding bikes with my dad when I was 10.

What are some of the accomplishments that you're most proud of?

Mange to make mountain biking the main activity of my life.

What were some of the highlights of 2020/2021 for you?

Moving to Whistler and all the riding I did during the season.

How did you prepare for Pinkbike Academy?

A lot of riding with my partners and gym workout

Where is your favourite place to ride?

The Sea to sky area and the Andes Mountains.

What's been your worst crash over the years?

In 2019 I went OTB after a huge drop and got a bad, bad concussion

Who are your favourite riders?

My friends.

What's your favourite motto or saying?

Voh dale ctm

What's your favourite food?

Ceviche, pulpo - any Peruvian cuisine.

What makes you happy?

Riding bikes, a walk in the park

What do you enjoy away from bikes?

Time with friends and family, playing the guitar.







KYRA WILSON


Where are you from and where do you live?

I am from Qualicum Bay and now live in Nanaimo BC.

Do you have a day job? If yes, what do you do?

I work at Arrowsmith Bikes in sales!

How long have you been mountain biking? How did you get into it?

I have been mountain biking for 2.5 years now. I borrowed a friend’s bike to ride the Whistler Bike Park and I’ve been hooked ever since.

What are some of the accomplishments that you're most proud of?

Last year I worked up the courage to hit a road gap! Installing Cushcore solo. Getting into Pinkbike Academy.

What were some of the highlights of 2020/2021 for you?

I have a few! I did two bike trips in 2020-2021, one around the interior of BC and the other in the Quebec City area. I also had the opportunity to be part of a Marine Debris Removal Initiative (MDRI) that removed 279,400 lbs of beach-cast debris from remote beaches on BC’s West Coast.

How did you prepare for Pinkbike Academy?

I trained 3x/week at Prime Performance Therapy in Nanaimo. I also practiced at the Stevie Smith Bike Park, and my local trail network.

What are your strengths?

I work hard and never give up and drops, jumps and fast wide-open trails.

What are your weaknesses?

Cornering. Sometimes I let the little things get to me a bit too much.

Where is your favourite place to ride?

South Benson baby.

What's been your worst crash over the years?

You’ll see…

Who are your favourite riders?

Casey Brown, Brett Rheeder and Brandon Semenuk.

What's your favourite motto or saying?

“Just send it” and “rubber side down boys”

What's your favourite food?

Lately I would have to say a medium-rare steak.

What annoys you?

Not succeeding at something I undertake, being too hard on myself.

What makes you happy?

Bike park laps, spending time with friends and family and being out in nature.

What do you enjoy away from bikes?

Hanging out with friends, training at the gym, going on camping trips and exploring Vancouver Island.







LAURA ZEITSCHEL


Where are you from and where do you live?

I am from Germany and I live in a smaller village called Barsinghausen in the near from Hanover.

Do you have a day job? If yes, what do you do?

Yes, I am an Officer in the German Army.

How long have you been mountain biking? How did you get into it?

I started mountain biking in 2015. I wanted to try something new. First I thought about MX, but the outlay was too high. So I got into MTB.

What are some of the accomplishments that you're most proud of?

Definitely my EWS100 win in 2019. It was a fight against myself and I managed it.

What were some of the highlights of 2020/2021 for you?

I don't have to think about this - the Pinkbike Academy 2021.

How did you prepare for Pinkbike Academy?

I know that I was bad in mechanical stuff. So improved myself in this area. I trained harder and more focused. The most important thing for me was: to give the best as possible and have a good time.

What are your strengths?

Now it's my mental perspective and strength. I developed this strength more and more in the Pinkbike Academy. It was hard to come back after the crash, but I tried my best and I am very satisfied with my performance.

What are your weaknesses?

Climbing and not to be too ambitious.

Where is your favourite place to ride?

I loved to ride two days before the Academy started in Vancouver. It was awesome. But I like to ride in Finale Ligure and Nauders too.

What's been your worst crash over the years?

Tossy III in 2016 and my crash this September in the training before a race (multiple shoulder dislocation) - the medical operation is in November.

Who are your favourite riders?

Casey Brown and Loic Bruni.

What's your favourite motto or saying?

Speed was okay, but the corner was too tight.

What's your favourite food?

French fries.

What annoys you?

When the french fries are out.

What makes you happy?

Riding with my Dog Anton.

What do you enjoy away from bikes?

Time outside with Anton, good times with friends and eating some cake.






TORI WOOD


Where are you from and where do you live?

I am from Melbourne, Australia, but moved to Canada when I was 12. I now live in Squamish, BC.

Do you have a day job? If yes, what do you do?

Currently I’m a student, studying a Masters in Counselling Psychology. I also work as a server in town.

How long have you been mountain biking? How did you get into it?

I’ve been riding for four years now. I first picked it up because I wanted to learn something new. I was in a pretty dark place in my life and needed something to focus on.

What are some of the accomplishments that you're most proud of?

Probably just how much I’ve progressed in the last few years. From the moment I first got on a bike I’ve worked really hard and pushed myself every step of the way. Also, applying to Pinkbike Academy and committing to being on the show was a very intimidating decision and I’m super proud of myself for committing to it.


What were some of the highlights of 2020/2021 for you?

The last year has been one of the best of my life so there are definitely a lot of highlights. I’ve met so many rad people and been on a lot of really sweet adventures. It was my first season racing this summer, so definitely those races were a major highlight. Also I went on a big alpine ride in Panorama after the enduro there this summer and it was all time! Such a rad crew and the terrain was incredible. I can’t wait to go back.

How did you prepare for Pinkbike Academy?

I spent a lot of time working on technique and trying to dial in specific skills. I have never had any coaching on the bike so that was definitely a big help. Going off what was on the first season of Pinkbike Academy, I also worked with some of my mechanic friends to get some basics down. I also trained heavily, doing “mock enduros”, spending long days on the bike and riding different trails at race speed. Also a lot of interval workouts.

What are your strengths?

I’d say I’m a pretty determined and dedicated person. I’m also fairly strong and have a pretty solid level of fitness.

What are your weaknesses?

Definitely my mindset. I am very self-critical and sometimes I tend to be my own worst enemy. I have a lot of doubt in myself and It can be really hard to get out of that negative rumination cycle.

Where is your favourite place to ride?

Home! Squamish is so good. The trails here are incredible and it’s where I learnt how to ride so it will always be my favourite place. Also, being smack bang in the middle of the Sea to Sky there’s tons of really great riding super close by.

What's been your worst crash over the years?

Last summer I went OTB and got impaled by a tree branch in my neck. It was pretty gnarly because it just missed my carotid artery. This summer I had a bad one too and got my first really bad concussion which was pretty scary.

Who are your favourite riders?

I really admire ALN. I don’t know her personally but she lives here in Squamish and it’s so cool to see a local shredder out killing it on the EWS circuit. She seems to have pretty great mental tenacity in her approach to racing and she also just genuinely really loves the sport which is so good to see.

My friend Tom is another one of my favourite riders. He’s got so much style and I just love riding with him. Talent aside, the best riders are the ones who know how to have a good time and to keep their love for the sport alive and thriving!

What's your favourite motto or saying?

“I work at four”

What's your favourite food?

Peanut Butter

What annoys you?

When other people waste my time

What makes you happy?

Being outside. My dog. Friends and family. Bikes. Having a balanced lifestyle and my Prozac prescription.

What do you enjoy away from bikes?

I’m a big skier in the winter. I love trail running and spending time with my dog. I love learning and once I finish my degree I hope I can work with and help people struggling with mental health issues.


84 Comments

  • 138 2
 First time hearing about Alaina and BMX.
  • 48 1
 who has a BMX background?
  • 22 2
 i raced BMX during Alaina’s time
she’s fast AF
  • 5 1
 @DANKimball: IDK man, I think
if she had a BMX background Poutside Bike would’ve told us 37 times.
  • 13 0
 @DANKimball: She's as fast as Jill Kintner on the pumptrack, finishing on the same second. That's fast.
  • 113 0
 Accomplishments: KYRA - "Installing Cush Core by Solo". 100% Truth
  • 28 0
 Accomplishments: Convincing my parents to move to Squamish at the young age of 12.


It doesn't matter, she already won.
  • 45 0
 "lacerated my stomach open from my brake lever and damaged my intestines"
"went OTB and got impaled by a tree branch in my neck. It was pretty gnarly because it just missed my carotid artery"

This is gnarly
  • 7 0
 I'm with Tori - always root for a woman who battles the dark sidel!!!! Go get em!!! ....But they all have good stories
  • 1 0
 @suspended-flesh: peanut butter, Prozac, and Tom. I work at four
  • 44 0
 “Speed was okay, but the corner was too tight.” Love that!
  • 6 1
 Spoken like a true racer, she already has the excuses down.
  • 12 0
 Good ol' Juha Kankkunen quote.
  • 26 0
 Isn't Flo an established enduro threat in South America? A fully developed top level racer just in need of funds...sign her
  • 10 0
 Kind of...
She's won the Andes Pacifico a couple of times and even raced EWS PRO; however, racing in South America is not something you could do for a living. Frown
  • 3 0
 Flo is clearly the fastest woman, but if you are looking for upside potential as in significant additional improvement, then going with a rider that has much less experience might make more sense.
  • 16 0
 She moved from Chile to Whistler to be a dishwasher and ride bikes? Nothing but respect for Florencia. That's dedication, I'll be rooting for you!
  • 19 4
 Solid crew. I'm really enjoying the series. Jason and Christina are great hosts...even if Christina is a smidge intimidating Wink
  • 12 3
 Christina is a boss babe. she's killin it at everything she does
  • 7 0
 I don’t see her as intimidating, focused and direct, yes.
  • 16 1
 how the f*ck they get inventory on those baller builds?
  • 14 0
 Brands still need to market their product regardless of demand levels
  • 2 0
 They've had them on order for a year or so because they knew this was coming. Or stock piled them in the fallout shelter. Parts haven't disappeared, just not available on demand.
  • 10 0
 Laura beeing from Barsinghausen is funny because it is basically in one of the flattest regions of germany... part of the area is colloquially known as "Zuckerrübensteppe" which means "sugar beat steppe"

... I guess it also very close to the "Deister" which is a very small very low mountain range that has a few trails
  • 3 0
 I’ve ridden the Deister occasionally when I’m in Hanover for work. Yes it’s low angle but a few of the trails are pretty long, and super flowing and fun. Also, very reminiscent of what a lot of us call loamers on the Coast. Not bad for an otherwise flat part of the country!
  • 3 0
 @ukr77: agreed I enjoyed riding there too when I lived in Hannover
  • 3 0
 @SalamanderOnAMTB: Well, coming from Hannover region and knowing Laura, it really is not bad for riding trails and enduro here. People from whole northern Germany are coming to ride. Trails have up to 250 vertical meters and are easy to connect with some short and steeper stuff.
  • 9 1
 I had to laugh at this

"I wanted to try something new. First I thought about MX, but the outlay was too high. So I got into MTB."

didn't that backfire!

Flo is already a well established racer, she deserves this shot I believe.
  • 13 2
 Ladies how’r’ya now.
  • 9 0
 Good'n'you?
  • 9 0
 @jcc0042: Not'sa'bad
  • 4 0
 @jcc0042: Not 'sbad
  • 9 0
 Riding for 2.5 years and already on pinkbike academy?? That's impressive.
  • 9 0
 riding for 2.5 years and sending the road gap on Bob's in Dumont - Nanaimo is pretty epic too. that gap is no joke
www.pinkbike.com/photo/14084093
  • 5 0
 She very quickly snagged nearly every QOM in town. She absolutely rips!!
  • 1 2
 @deepstrut: Nah it's butter dude Wink
  • 4 0
 Hates alarm clocks, uses circadian rhythm. That's how I improved my sleep if anyone else has troubles. Not the entire answer, but it's a piece of the pie.
  • 4 1
 Anybody notice that every single one of those seat posts is as low as it will go in the frame? Coincidence? I think not
  • 2 0
 a new travel adjust Transfer post? or just all slammed to look good in photos?
  • 1 0
 The new Rallon's are designed so even the size small frames can run at least a 200mm drop post I think?
So it'd make sense to run short cranks & the biggest drop post you can get your legs to work with.
  • 3 0
 Tori Wood, repping Melbourne, but not really!
Why do all the good ones move away!?
  • 3 0
 outstanding. Glad to see such a diverse group of Female Shredders.
  • 3 0
 Voh dale Ctm!!! jajaja love it!!
  • 2 1
 Translation?
  • 3 0
 @Daniel412206: Send it MF!!!
  • 3 0
 @Daniel412206: would be something like "just go for it mf"
  • 2 1
 Good luck ladies! you all seem like strong competitors. I respect you all, but im rooting for Tori and Kyra as they're from the home team
  • 3 0
 Go Toridog!! Smile Fan favourite for sure
  • 2 0
 Why is 1 of them not wearing turquoise shoes, eh?
  • 2 0
 Grande Flo! Voh dale nomás ctm !
  • 2 0
 Go Laura! Show 'em what Kraut-Biking is about!
  • 2 1
 If only Israel had a BMX background
  • 1 0
 I miss seeing Alaina at the track, so fast!
  • 1 0
 Aguante floo voh daleee Ctm a fondo y con todo el Fuaaaaaaaaaaa
  • 1 0
 Edit
  • 1 2
 How the heck can Tori be taller up side down
Axn 4 a friend
And those Orbea’s Eek look’n Perty dope!
  • 8 0
 Her arm length (or at least some of it) is added to her height when she's upside down. Her upside down is the same as her upright holding her hands above her head.
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