Written by Megan Welch
Two years ago I was introduced to the VIDA MTB Series through fellow Ambassador Liz Cunningham. She recognized that Southern California (SoCal) was flooded with women who knew how to handle a mountain bike, loved going fast, and who wanted to ride with ladies of the same caliber. So we worked together to organize VIDA So Cal Women Wednesday, a bi-weekly intermediate to advanced ladies ride during daylight savings. Three springs later, it's great time on a bike with 10-20 gals. It started with a simple Facebook friend invite to all our lady shredder friends to join the ride via the Facebook group. We posted and advertised the ride through two bike shops to reach out to the community. I work in a bike shop but did not want to limit the invitation to those attached to my shop - no one is excluded, no rivalries, all ladies from whatever club, team, or shop are welcome. This made for a big turn out right off the bat!
I have found that there are a ton of bike clubs out there that target novice and beginner women mountain bikers. While I stand behind all of them I began to wonder what happens once they are no longer beginners? Where are those group rides? The Vida ride was created to bring intermediate to advanced ladies together to ride, share skills, and try out new tricks and trails. I wanted to learn how to climb a steep rock and with the help of my girl friends spotting me I was able to try! I want to show the rider who's never been on that trail the fast line. I want to see if they have a better line instead. If a beginner riders wants to come along, we encourage it, are honest with the pace, and no one is left behind. The best moments are when I get a hug and a thank you at the end of the ride cause a lady shredder finally accomplished something she was struggling with.
My VIDA ride has taught me that being patient pays off. It has introduced me to new friends and riding partners. It's allowed me to create friendships for other women. Women Wednesday reminds me of the little things that make me happy - like the post ride grub after, reflecting on the ride, and discussing the next location with the ladies. Southern California has so many trails to offer! Yes it can be a bit sandy sometimes but the chunky rock sections and steep chutes are what allows us to progress as riders. So any ladies coming out to visit the So Cal area, I invite you to reach out to me to show you around! VIDA IS ALIVE IN SO CAL!