Lalena Desautels
Vancouver, British Columbia

Where did you learn to jump?
“Two years ago, I started with skate parks. I was living in Calgary and I didn’t know what to do in the winter so I bought a dirt jumper and a shovel and shovelled the snow off the skate park and rode there.”

Goal:
“I wanted to learn tricks, but I injured myself so now I’m trying to get the fundamentals more dialled. I know I’m too aggressive sometimes, so I’m trying to make it more flowy. Every time I take a clinic I take something away from it. When someone tells me to do something, I can fix the body mechanics.”

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned today?
“To slow down, not literally, but just to relax more. I’ve always been told I have two speeds; on and off. I’m trying to find the middle speed and just relax my body a little bit and let the bike do more work.”

“A big shout out to Kat for having faith that women’s riding can progress.”

Melissa Hill
Nanaimo, British Columbia, 37

Why mountain biking?
“It’s the learning process more than anything, and being in the forest, in God’s creation is amazing.”

Goal:
“Confidence.”

Karen Omolt
Seattle, Washington, 54

Why mountain biking?
“I’ve always been active in my life, this is kind of a new thing. I love the outdoors and I love being in the woods and off the roads.”

Goal:
“Be comfortable having my wheels off the ground”

Amanda Workman
Lynnwood, Washington, 28

Why Sugar Showdown? “I’ve been mountain biking for a couple years. I’ve been taking some classes with Kat (Sweet) and wanted to keep improving and growing as a rider.”

Goal: “Get some mad skillz! I’m trying to get more control in the air.”

Is there something special about being in an all-female environment? “I find that women tend to need similar things as far as instruction . . . My husband’s favourite thing is to tell me to go faster and it doesn’t work like that. It’s really nice because it’s supportive and it’s okay to ask questions and analyze things.”

Cheryl Parker,
Prince George, British Columbia, 50

What do you love about mountain biking? “I’ve been riding since ’83, before suspension. I love being out in the woods, I love testing myself and being able to do stuff I didn’t think I could.”

Is there something special about being in an all-female environment? “Yeah, you see someone doing stuff and you think yeah, I can do that. Also how we help each other. We talk and we all have similar experiences. You think it’s just me, because you ride with guys and you think, I kind of suck. Then you’re with a group of women and we’re all at different levels and some people are better than you while some people can use your help.”

What brought you back to Sugar Showdown? “The coaching is really awesome and Duthie Park is an amazing compact facility with lots of progression, it’s pretty special.”

Wendy Carter
Bremerton, Washington, 50

Why mountain biking? “I like being outside, it’s one more activity I can do out in the woods.

Goal: Overcome fear of rolling over obstacles and improve jumping, fear of heights and fear of getting hurt.”

Is there something special about being in an all-female environment? “It’s nice to be with a bunch of women because there isn’t that, that . . .yeah.”

Kristine Leise
Latvia & Whistler, British Columbia, 31

Why the Sugar Showdown?
“I want to conquer my fear of jumps and drops.”

Is there something special about being in an all-female environment?
“It’s the power, the encouragement. You know what they say; if she can do it, I can do it. You look at the guys and maybe it’s because he’s a guy.”

Renata Mittelbach
Seattle, Washington, 47

Why mountain biking?
“It’s exciting, it takes skill and you’re outdoors.”

Goal:
“I took this class so I could get better at my jumps, drops and cornering. But I’ve already learned, I’m so happy bunny hopping! It was explained so well and it just totally clicked.”

Kitima Boonvisudhi
Eugene, Oregon, 46

Why mountain biking?
“I always wanted to learn how to jump.”

What inspired that?
“I was at a mountain bike park in New Hampshire on a beautiful jump line and it was totally wasted on me.”

Have you jumped yet?
“Not intentionally.”

Is there something special about being in an all-female environment?
“To feel like you’re not alone. I’m okay with being with a bunch of guys, there’s no problem with that, but it’s nice to be around women.”

What’ you long-term mountain biking goal?
“I’d like to be doing this when I’m 80.”

Davonne
Portland, Oregon, 45

Why Sugar Showdown? “This is my third time here.”

How have you progressed since starting to come to Sugar Showdown? “I used to be deathly afraid of drops and I’m not as bad at them. (Pointing at drops) I’m excited about this part. Before, this was terrifying to me. When I would hit jumps I would maybe get my front tire off and not the back, but now I’m getting both off and landing safely.”

Goal: “I want to get more air when I jump higher, and I want to be faster so I can get higher on the wall-ride.”

Is there something special about being in an all-female environment? “Yeah! I don’t know if I can say what it is, but it’s awesome being around all women . . . Being here with all these women it’s so inspiring to see people that are so much better than me and people at the spot where I was last year. It’s neat to see people progress.”

Rachel Bishop
Issaquah, Washington, 36

Why mountain biking? “I used to do triathlon… my wife rides, we do trails and stuff like that. I thought it would be great to so a Dirt Series up at Whistler last year, and then I did a half day at the park and it was mind blowing. I’ve been a road rider for a long time, and I still love it, but my garage is significantly more full of mountain bikes than it is road gear.”

Goal: “I’d like to be able to much bigger drops, I want to be able to clear the jumps on ‘Voodoo’, I want to be able to do the roll down at the end of ‘Ryan’s’.”

Is there something special about being in an all-female environment? “Learning with women is so different than learning with men. They’re so supportive and there’s a slight competition but it’s so subtle. It’s just enough to push you to say she did that, I can do it, too.”

Trish Griffen
Bellingham, Washington, 38

Why Sugar Showdown? “This is my second Sugar Showdown.”

What brought you back? “Excellent coaching.”

What’s the biggest barrier you’ve overcome? “I would say confidence; rolling over things that usually scare me.”

What is it about the coaching style that gives you confidence? “I trust that they won’t let me progress to something that I’m not ready for. My goal for today is to have a little more style”

Is there something special about being in an all-female environment? “These are people I only get to see once or twice a year so it’s awesome to reconnect with my bike friends that live all over the place. It’s really cool to see a friend that I haven’t seen in a year, to see them progress and hit something they haven’t before. It’s really neat to see girlfriend riders do awesome stuff.”

Author Bio

Ash Kelly : Ash Kelly has been riding since 2006. She moved from Edmonton to Vancouver in 2007 to spend some time on the North Shore trails. When not on one of her four bikes, Ash can be found trail building, backcountry skiing, sledding, cooking or reading a book.