Judging from the amount of comments received and smiles seen I would say that the 2012 Ladies Training Day was a success. This marks my third year, along with Allision Grummet, Jaime Kowitz, and Tammie Wilson as instructors teaching an all-women offroad clinic. Also joining us was Megan Grummet – Allisons younger sister. The clinic was held on private property north west of Barrie and although the skies threatened to open up and rear its ugly head it never did.
At the sound of the car horn the riders meeting began (more or less) at 9:30 am. Greeting the instructors were about 30 women ready to learn and ride which frankly amazed us because of the torrential downpour the day before and the bleak cool overcast day ahead of us. I told them the rain was a blessing in disguise because the ability to control the bike in slippery conditionis would become of paramount importance. Plus, the soft ground would be quite ideal should an occasional, or accidental, dismount occur. This, essentially, would be a perfect day for learning. Todd had been working hard all week shaping the long grass into figure 8’s, and several long open straight-aways for us to practice on. He even created a large area and combed the grass for hidden rocks. Clearly, this is a man wanting more women on bikes. Super cool! So, we were not going to disappoint him by not wanting to ride and get dirty.
Taking into consideration the wet trails I readjusted the days lesson plans to include lots of braking and throttle work. Back to the basics – fundamentals skills – without them we do not advance, nor look very graceful. Allison and Megan took the beginner group while Jamie, Tammie and myself tackled the intermediate and advance class. We divided the ladies into three groups of 4-5 people, taught the skills and practiced each drill for about 20 or so minutes. After which, the groups rotated in a clockwise direction thus allowing each group to have a different instructor teaching a different skill. Morning skills for all groups consisted of braking, clutch, body position, throttle control, and gearing with each skill becoming progressively harder as the experience of the rider necessitated.
Lunch was cooked by SCORRA members Don Moore and his assistant chef, and consisted of hamburgers, sausages, fresh condiments, watermelon, fruit and cookies (I know Vanessa liked the cookies because her and I were scarfing them down at the end of the day). We also had a few draw prizes after lunch. As previously posted a few ‘blogs’ back I had created an ‘Ontario Women’ series of posters that would allow me to donate profits to help increase the number of women offroad riders. The sales from the Jamie and Melanie posters permitted me to buy a gift certificate from Mission Cycle and congratulations are extended to Kim Carrigan – the recipient of the gift certificate.
After lunch, we gave the ladies a choice of either heading out to a guided trail ride, stopping along the way for instruction as needed. Or, to stay behind and learn more advanced skills and continue to practice. To my amazement again more women stayed behind and were keen on learning advanced skills such as wheelies, stoppies, and jumping.
The day ended around 4pm. Lots were tired but still had the energy for plenty of smiles. Which made us, the instructors, and Jen very happy. By the way best line of the day…I asked Todd if he had ever had this many women riding his MX track and he said ‘no’ with a smile. I am pretty sure I can safely say that the guys love seeing women ride!!
Thanks to Jen Cole for organising this wonderful event, the crew at SCORRA (Brad Obee, Don Moore, Chris Zanelli and many others), Todd and Angela, Mission Cycle and the instructors. It was a beautiful day, spent on an amazing piece of property with a ‘badass’ vista of Barrie’s escarpment, and the sweet sound of buzzing bikes and laughing people.
To see the entire album of photos please visit my gallery at: http://order.cecilegambin.com/riders. It was great meeting everyone and hopefully we will see you on the trails or at next years clinic.