The Joy of Women’s Cycling Skills Clinics

By Karen Wright

When asked to do a blog about women’s bike clinics I was happy to oblige.  A big part of the women’s clinics are the support and camaraderie that women share with each other.  There is nothing more empowering then a group of women working together to learn and support other women in the goal to become better mountain bikers.

I started riding with my husband and friends years ago.  I love my husband but a man does not think like a woman on a bike.  I’ve been told that men grew up riding dirt bikes and mountain bikes so a lot of the techniques come natural to them.  His advice of “just ride over it” did nothing for my skills.  It was time for me to learn from some ladies.

14358763_1781651452111138_4858072435991276997_nThe first lady that came to mind was Cooper Dendel.  She was up in Marquette, MI and I bugged her to do a women’s clinic.  Cooper is an awesome rider who is now dominating the professional enduro racing circuit in Colorado.  I’m proud to say she was my first instructor.  The whole weekend of gal pal time, driving to Marquette, learning, laughing, supporting, and sharing stories was incredible.  What could I do next?  A GRIT clinic!

I never knew the amazing experience I would have when my girlfriend and I loaded up our bikes and headed to Duluth, MN for a Grit Clinic.  Ladies from Bend, OR and around the area would be instructing at Spirit Mountain.  I was blown away by the talented instructors that came in from all over the area to teach us.

clinic1The powerful, feminine knowledge and support was awe inspiring!  They were able to break down skills in such a way that made so many techniques and tricks possible.  Each instructor brought years of training, racing, and challenges.  All of us left that weekend with techniques and confidence that allowed us to ride our best ride.  A lot of techniques are in the small details, and boy these ladies could dial in on your riding style and improve your ride.  I was hooked, I was riding stronger and smarter then ever!

The next year my gal pals and I got into the Copper Harbor Clinic.  It sells out in less then ten minutes.  Every clinic, every location you will learn something new, become inspired to be your best, and feel empowered to ride different terrain and trails with confidence.  It was at this clinic they helped me overcome my fear of bridges.  I had detached my retina in Copper Harbor during a previous trip.  I was riding over a wet bridge, my bike slipped out from under me and I hit my head so hard I detached my retina (I most likely had a week retina attachment anyways).  It was through the support, encouragement, and presence of so many ladies that I conquered my fear.  That was huge for me.

clinic3You will also meet ladies at the clinics that you may see on a trail someday.  My husband and I are looking to head to Duluth, MN for a week of camping and riding.  I contacted my mountain bike gal pals in Duluth that I met at the clinic for some information on their local trails.  It was great to connect with them and I’m looking forward to riding with them when I get to MN.

Women’s clinics will change your ride in so many powerful ways.  I took a local clinic last year and will attend the clinic being hosted by Latitude 45 and Liv Bicycles next month.  I learn or remember something new with each clinic and I ALWAYS have FUN!  The ladies that instruct are so inspiring and amazing.  I encourage you to attend every clinic you can.  I’ll see you there!  Let’s go learn how to shred some trails!!

Note from the shop: Huge thanks to Karen for sharing her experiences. If what you just read about sounds fun be sure to attend our May 3rd Giant Bicycles Demo at Avalanche Park in Boyne City. There we will have Steph Allen from Liv Bikes leading a women’s skills clinic and group ride starting at 5pm. If you are interested email joe@latitude45.com.

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