Posted on: 18th October 2012
Event: Saturday 22nd September 2012
Article: Iona Evans
Image credit: Ben Thorburn – www.benthorburn.com
90 flamboyantly dressed riders of all abilities from all over the UK tackled a choice of two routes which took them on a journey in and around the spectacular trails of the Glen Feshie & Inshriach Forest area.
Ride like a Grrl featured a mass start down Glen Feshie. The Adventure route was 26km long & suitable for riders new to mountain biking. The Epic route was 35km, climbing to a height of nearly 500m above Glen Feshie and provided a challenge for more experienced riders. Both routes included a variety of terrain from quiet estate roads and forest tracks to narrow technical single track with the odd bog thrown in for good measure.
The Adventure and Epic routes joined up in places and according to one of the Adventure route finishers this ‘totally motivated and inspired me’.
On the day some of the organisers also made themselves available to accompany the less experienced or less fit riders, contributing to the event’s friendly & supportive vibe.
Both routes included an obligatory cake stop with delicious baking provided by Aviemore’s Mountain café and the riding was followed by a family fun day and an evening ceilidh.
The event started from Lagganlia Centre for Outdoor Education in Feshiebridge and all monies raised will be donated to the Friends of Lagganlia Charitable trust. The trust supports kids who may be excluded due to financial reasons from attending outdoor learning courses.
‘Ride Like a Grrl’ was the first event organised by a group of local women enthusiasts, calling themselves Petal Power biking, in conjunction with Cairngorm Mountain Bikers mountain bike club. Their aim is to celebrate women’s biking and to introduce more women to the joys of mountain biking in a fun, friendly & supportive atmosphere.
To help riders prepare for the day, there have been mountain bike skills and maintenance sessions throughout the summer; all organized & run by qualified local women who have volunteered their time. The idea of these courses was to provide women with the skills, knowledge and motivation to get out and ride confidently. They also gave folks the opportunity to meet other riders in their area. Following her skills course one participant mentioned that although ‘it was cold and wet out there tonight, not to mention a bit dark…I womanned up and went out for a ride anyway because I'm still feeling totally enthused by the confidence-giving skills course on Sunday’.
After Ride Like a Grrl, Lagganlia’s Head of Centre, Ian Ross, remarked: “What a pleasure to welcome so many lovely people to Lagganlia. Enthusiastic, determined, smilely, energetic, competitive with a supportive edge.... you have set the standard. This is how sport should be. Inclusive, fun, accessible and for participation not glory!”
1) Kirsty Macphee 1:28:38
2) Eilidh Raistrick 1:31:09
3) Zoe Ettle 1:42:31
1) Claire Campbell 2:12:45
2) Anne Lloyd-Evans 2:12:59
3) Nicola Diggins 2:15:24
To emphasise the fun side, not only the fastest riders were rewarded with prizes. Cool spot prizes were also given for such things as the best turned out bike & rider, most pink rider, best fancy dress, most dedicated journey to the event, most smiley rider, best climber, most stylish dismount & the funkiest socks!
In the words of one novice rider: ‘What a great day!! 1st MTB event (first time on a MTB for that matter) and I did myself proud.....but already in bath soaking away the aching bits ......loved it!’
The organisers would like to thank all competitors, landowners, volunteers & local businesses for their generous support.