VIDA heard from Beti Bike Bash workshop participant and first time mountain bike racer Kimberly Herndon about her day with VIDA coaches and ambassadors at the Beti Bike Bash Workshop. Thirty women gathered at the Philip S. Miller Park to build and hone a strong skills foundation and prepare for the following day's Beti Bike Bash event.
What were you nervous about?
The morning of the workshop, it’s fair to say that I was both nervous and excited. I’m somewhere between beginner and intermediate, but I wasn’t really sure about my skill level. I also didn’t know anyone attending. It was a huge relief when Sarah (the organizer) welcomed all of us with, “It’s wonderful that you’re all here! By showing up this morning you’ve already done the most difficult thing you’ll do all day— you showed up!”
I was so relieved! I didn’t necessarily believe her, BUT at least she knew what we were feeling.
What did you learn?
I learned so much from the workshop that to tell you about it could take all day. We reviewed fundamentals that I didn’t even realize were fundamentals, such as:
- Only use one finger on the breaks and keep it there most of the ride
- Use your body position on the bike to let the bike do the work for you
- How to pump the bike through the woopties (it’s a new term for me, too, meaning those mid-size bumps you go over during the course)
- How to stay on the bike around a sharp, downhill corner
We also learned about nutrition for training, how to pass on the course... I really could go on and on.
What surprised you?
The size of our groups and the quality of our instructors. There were a lot of women at the event, but we were divided into small groups. My group of six or seven had two instructors, and they weren’t newbies either. Both of them race professionally and made the lessons and mountain bike course seem like a breeze.
Who did you meet?
I met women from many different backgrounds. We seemed to be all ages, some of us with kids and some without. What impressed me was the sense of camaraderie. Toward the end of the day when we were practicing our skills on the mountain bike course some of the obstacles were a bit tricky. We took things slowly and every time one of us made it down a rough patch we’d clap and cheer for each other. So fun!
How did this help you in your race?
What was great about the race— my first MTB race ever— is that I knew the course. We’d ridden it twice during the clinic, so I knew where to find the hills, the sharp turns, and the woopties! I also knew a couple of women racing in the Never Ever category with me and it was awesome to know other women there that I could cheer on. One of my fellow workshop attendees took thid place and it was so great to see her do so well!
What was your number one takeaway?
“Own your ride.” This is what one of my instructors told us at the beginning of the clinic and she was right. I was pretty slow during the race and when a woman wanted to pass me, in an area where I didn’t feel there was enough space, I slowed to a stop and unclipped my cleat. I did this just before a steep turn and wound up feeling off my game for a while. It would have been better if I’d communicated with the rider, “I need a minute,” to get to what felt like a safer area to me.
“Own your ride” is a lesson in assertiveness that I needed! As my other instructor taught, it’s the responsibility of the person passing to make sure it’s safe to pass. So next time I’m riding or racing I’ll be sure to communicate better and own my ride.
Thank you, VIDA, for such an amazing clinic! I learned MTB skills that I will use the rest of my life. Hurray! Look out mountains, here I come!
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