1. The riders need bigger courses and features to practice on.
The reality with showing up to a Diamond level slopestyle course or event is that as a rider you need to have practiced on something like this before to reach full potential. These courses and features aren't easy to come by, and likely require the riders to travel far distances in hopes of getting a chance to practice on something of this caliber. Maybe they know another rider who is lucky enough to have the space and features in their yard to visit but just imagine how hard that would be and the logistics involved in getting there. 2. If you build it, they will come. Hell, even if you just invite them, they will come!
From what I gather, most of these riders just want to be included. With inclusivity comes progression. By getting the opportunity to ride on a course like Joyride, in events like Speed and Style, or even dig at Red Bull Formation, these riders are gaining valuable experience and time in their arena. They then have first-hand knowledge of what it feels like to hit a jump that big or tall or long and can piece it together and draw on that in the future. Another example is digging in the desert; until you've gotten your hands dirty and filled sandbags you really have no idea what it takes to create something out of nothing. The Sunday Session was to open to many riders and the turnout was amazing to see. While we didn't see all of the heaviest hitting riders out there, the ones that did show up made the most of their time.3. Maybe we aren't ready for women to compete in Red Bull Joyride...but maybe we are.
Actually, it's not up to us to decide that. It's up to the women to decide when they are ready to ride in a level of competition such as Joyride, and I can tell you, some of them really really want that! After witnessing them piece together the course so quickly, it's no surprise they want a crack at the whole thing and to lay down their best runs. While some riders out on Sunday admit it's not their prerogative to compete in Diamond or even Gold-level slopestyle events, the fact that they showed up to cheer on and ride with the other women shows the level of support within this discipline. A lot can happen in one year, so I hope to see this fire spark some inspiration in others to practice the tricks and build big lips. Joyride is coming!4. Jam sessions benefit everyone.
The riders had about two hours to session the Joyride course Sunday morning after the dust settled after a long 10 days of Crankworx competition. In that time they ticked off loads of features - some of them put together nearly top-to-bottom runs, tricking along the way. Some of the builders of the course, Justin Wyper and Phil McLean, helped with judging speed in the beginning, but it took no time at all for Shealen Reno to drop in and pick that course apart, inspiring those around her to do the same. The smiles were countless and the stoke was high This is the vibe I always remember from a sick session and to see the riders talk speed, run-ins, and egging each other on was a testament to how productive one session at the jumps is.
The same could be said for the men that competed on Saturday. They thrive on each other's energy and creativity. What I would love to see are more chances for the women to take part in practice sessions throughout the week leading up to Red Bull Joyride. The women have proven that they can hang and honestly, maybe they'll bring a little fun and lightheartedness to this competition while inspiring the next generation to follow their own dreams.
Shealen Reno Boosting with style and grace while Lucy "Luce Operation" Van Eestern chucks a sui.5. We've actually been here before...
Let's be honest...this is not the first time these women have gone huge. In the past years we've seen incredible achievements by loads of riders from invites to Audi Nines, Red Bull Hardline, Formation, Fest Series, District Ride and many more.
As a matter of fact, let's take a quick trip down memory lane to Crankworx 2007, and specifically the WomenzWorx Gala Competition that saw more than 40 women compete in a series of freeride events throughout Whistler Bike Park, including Crabapple hits and the slopestyle course. The winners back then were Claire Buchar in pro and Casey Brown in amateur, and both of them still work darn hard to keep the progression going while inspiring others. Just imagine WHAT IF we had kept that momentum going? That was 16 years ago... Where did it slow down and why? Seeing the progress we made in two hours on the Joyride course is a testament to what women can do in a short amount of time if given the opportunity.
With that said, let's not slow down again. Let's go all gas and no brakes.
Photos: Alexa Christensen