Highland Mountain Bike Park’s annual Women’s Gravity Weekender event celebrated a record turnout this Mother’s Day. Undeterred by wet weather predictions, twenty-eight women joined Highland’s top female coaches for an empowering weekend honing downhill mountain bike skills.
Coach Whitney Poulin described Highland Camps’ inspiration for an all-female event as “we wanted women to be able to kick the season off with some new skills and meet people from many different areas. We had a lady travel from Michigan! Fourteen hours! We had locals from right down the road here too so it’s good for them to mingle. The weekend is for women to really get together. Riding with guys can be a little bit intimidating for some.”
The excitement was palpable as the day began with rider assessments and fundamentals, building to cumulate in riders conquering trail features such as rock gardens, drops, and jumps. It was thrilling to witness the drastic increase in confidence and skill, spurred on by the positive group dynamic.
When asked what makes the all-female environment so successful, Coach Leila Carrillo explained, “they have this freedom to ask any questions they want without having to be afraid of whatever environment they're in. They can just ask you a simple question that they think they need to ask, and not worry what anyone else thinks ‘cause it just is open.”
This proved true, as most riders did have specific progression goals that they were unafraid to share and work towards. It was rewarding for all to see. Giggles resonated throughout the woods as women shared their family’s reactions to their choice of Mother’s Day activity. After bonding over their teenager's incredulity, they proceeded to ride flawlessly down well-known trails such as Freedom Rider, Happy Hour, Fancy Feast, and Cat’s Paw.
The camaraderie continued off the bike as well. True friendships were formed, and many numbers and hugs were exchanged with plans of return visits. The 2017 season will be an exciting one, as coaches and riders alike look forward to many more successful days on two wheels.