A Toronto native, Trish Bromley got her start in mountain biking when she to moved to Whistler in the winter of 2009. She had the intention of being a ski bum for the season, however, she returned to Toronto a mountain bike addict. Six years later, Bromley is making a name for herself as a trailblazer in women’s freeride.
Her 2015 mountain bike season started with the Freeride Mountain Bike (FMB) World Tour’s Jump Jam, a new event at this year’s GO Fest in Whistler which included a category for women. It was the only event on the FMB World Tour to do so and Bromley was the sole woman to compete in the inaugural bronze-level event. She would make headlines again when she became the first woman to qualify for the Crankworx Whistler Dual Speed and Style (DS&S) later that season.
Bromley had thought about qualifying for other male dominated events before but, “Too many excuses were convenient. This time felt right,” she says. “Qualifying [for the DS&S] was based on speed alone, so all I had to do was get through the course.”
Knowing that the best way to gain speed was to memorize the course, Bromley decided to go to the practice session early. Her goal was to get in a few laps of the course before the majority of the racers arrived. Except, “by the time I made it there it was well underway,” Bromley recalls, “Seeing everyone else flowing the features was a little intimidating but also really helped me judge speed and watch for zesty corners.”
“I wasted a lot of time looking at the last jump,” Bromley had found it to be a bit daunting, “but I’d already decided I wanted to do it and I realized I’d better get good at it. Then [the] last jump was changed after qualifying- it got bigger.”
After she completed the qualifying round, Crankworx gave her the thumbs up to ride and let her know that there would only be one category and everyone would ride the same features. She would be racing against the men.
For the first heat of the competition, Bromley was paired with Andrew Taylor. They raced each other on the parallel runs, switched sides and raced again. This was to ensure that the riders didn’t have any advantages by racing one course versus the other. In the end, Taylor defeated Bromley and advanced in the competition.
“[Taylor] is such [a] rider and his jokes in the gate took a lot of the edge off,” she says as she relives the feeling of being a competitor in the Crankworx DS&S. For Bromley, just having the opportunity to compete in the event was an amazing experience.
She continued by saying, “The course was playful and fast, and the energy was electric. Addicting for sure.”
The feedback she has received since competing has also been encouraging, “Other female riders want to compete, too. I’m not sure how next year will look, but it was pretty rad having one inclusive category,” she said.
When asked what she thinks the future holds for women’s freeride events Bromley responds, “Women in freeride is in its infancy…so there has to be more development at the grassroots level in order to see an increase at the top level. But it works both ways. There are a ton of great contests currently out there, and I look forward to seeing women competing in them in the next couple of years.”
Now that the season is over, Bromley is getting ready to head back to Toronto for the winter; and to her job at the Joyride 150, which she calls a phenomenal playground. It’s an indoor mountain bike facility where she says she gets to “train, work, and play”. We know she’s going to spend the winter honing her skills and we can’t wait to see what the 2016 mountain bike season has in store for her.
Teresa Edgar is the publisher of Mountain Bike for Her and is a gravity obsessed mountain biker from Vancouver Island, BC. She started mountain biking in the mid-1990’s and when she’s not hurtling herself down hills, you can find her hiking, backcountry skiing, kayaking, or out enjoying the scenery on her road bike.