Hamsterley Forest, 18-19 August
Diva Descent returns for 2012 once again providing the unique opportunity to give downhill mountain bike racing a go. The difference is, this race is just for women!
This year the race is to be held at Hamsterley Forest, County Durham on the 18th‐19th August 2012.
The idea of Diva Descent is to introduce the ever-growing number of women riders to downhill racing and provide them with the opportunity to compete under authentic race conditions. The event is aimed at any women interested in giving downhill a go, either for the first time or those with more experience looking to develop their skills.
With the national and international races attracting on average between 10 to 15 women per race, the first Diva Descent in 2011 was proof that creating a race for girls would in fact entice them to into the sport. That race saw 23 competitors taking part, travelling up to the venue at Perth from all parts of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This year the number has increased 100% with 46 women signing up to race in a matter of weeks. The race is now sold out with an ever-growing reserve list. Women are once again travelling from all parts of the UK with the average age of competitors being 32.
The weekend consists of a day of coaching on the Saturday followed by a day of racing on the Sunday. Top rider Helen Gaskell will be one of the coaches on hand this year, passing on her experience gained from racing the national and world cup circuit.
Diva Descent has the support of Loeka clothing and the Forestry Commission with further sponsorship to be announced. GirlMTNbiker will once again be publicity manager for the event.
When asked about why the event has seen such a sharp increase in participation event organiser Sarah Muir said, “Women on bikes of any kind is an emerging industry within its own right and one that should not be ignored. It is an exciting time to be involved in the industry and the facilitation of getting women into the sport. The huge increase in entries to Diva Descent this year event is proof that more and more women are riding bikes and looking for products and events geared to their needs.”
One of the aims of Diva Descent is to encourage a greater number of girls to enter into mountain bike events and to see more women on the UK and indeed international race circuit. The following testimonials are from girls who took part in Diva Descent 2011 demonstrating that the concept is in fact a success:
“Thanks to Diva Descent and Sarah for holding the event because that’s what got me into racing and made me so much more confident to enter other races dominated by males. I competed in Northern Downhill and won the female category so thanks for the massive confident boost Diva gave me.”
“The whole experience at the Diva gave me so much more confidence in myself on my bike. So much so that I then went on to enter the Scottish Champs at Killin.”
“Diva descent was my first race, the fact that it was an all girls race made me confident enough to enter. I really enjoyed Diva descent as everyone there was really friendly and the whole thing was well organised. It was great for meeting more girl bikers. Can’t wait for the next one!”
Since the first race, Diva Descent has expanded into providing uplift days and also women’s mountain bike holidays in association with Riders Refuge. The recent holiday to Morzine was a huge success and saw women travelling from the UK and Denmark to spend a week in the alps receiving coaching from three times masters world champion, Petra Wiltshire.
The price of the Diva Descent race weekend is £60, which includes coaching on the Saturday, uplift and entry to the race on the Sunday.