Our ambassadors bring a certain ‘light’ to our company. They make us laugh, they make us cry and most of the time they make us giggle with anticipation at their accomplishments. We always like to delve a little deeper into the minds of those we admire, so we decided to create a little segment aptly dubbed: Up Close and Personal.
Tammy Donahugh is our resident bike enthusiast specializing in dirt jumps, downhill and freeride terrain. Currently spearheading the new Instructor Certification Program for the IMBA, Tammy’s love of biking runs deep. We got a bit of insight from her on her start in the industry, some upcoming projects she’s working on and advice for up and coming riders. Pull up a chair and enjoy the ride!
1) Tammy, how did you originally get involved with the IMBA and how has your role evolved?
In early 2005 my boyfriend and I went down to Costa Rica and got hitched. That didn’t seem like enough of a life change I guess since 2 months later we packed up everything we owned and moved to Longmont, CO. Both of us had spent our entire lives thus far in California and had never stepped foot in Colorado’s Front Range. I had been working in the bike industry for a few years and knew that was where I belonged. There were a few options for bike industry positions in the area including a customer service representative at IMBA. I had two job offers within a week of being in CO (IMBA was one of those) and decided that the vibe and values I saw at the IMBA HQ would be the best fit for me. I started out answering their main phone lines and fulfilling membership and product orders. I progressed into the accounting department eventually taking over the bookkeeping and office management duties. Five years later a new job opportunity popped up for my husband with Rock Shox so we quickly packed up and moved 2 hours south to Colorado Springs. I was prepared to give IMBA my notice since a 2 hour commute is not something I’m willing to do. Instead, The Director of Consulting Services had heard about the move and offered me a field position with Trail Solutions. Going from office life to designing and building bike parks was the most extreme career change anyone can experience I think. Although I really enjoyed being outdoors and learning to run large equipment, another opportunity arose to spearhead a brand new IMBA program – the Instructor Certification Program. So in a nutshell eight years with IMBA took me from customer service to creating and managing a new program. Boy time sure does fly!
2) Fill in the blank: I am happiest ________.
When I’ve just conquered something scary on my bike. The rush is like nothing else and you feel on top of the world!
3) What or where is the most interesting place you’ve ridden a bike?
Oh this one’s always tough…. I would say Virgin, UT might be the most interesting. The landscape of red mesa style cliff bands forever with Zion Natational Park in the distance is stunning. The dirt is such a trip too – you can go down pretty hard and the scary looking shades of red clumpy pieces instantly break away into a silt like, soft sandy dirt.
4) Can you tell us more about your involvement with Dixie Trix and what it hopes to accomplish?
The format for Dixie Trix was something my good friend Kat Sweet and I brainstormed about three years back. We realized what the challenges are with making a successful, well attended female freeride event and came up with a solution. Mainly we needed to create the genre that didn’t really exist. Girls want to challenge themselves on the bike and many of them want to get air and hit bike park style features but most aren’t willing to break themselves off in order to figure it out. Therefore we came up with the 1 day clinic / 1 day competition format. We make sure that there are certified, pro riders onsite leading the clinics and that all levels of riders have a chance to learn something and then immediately put their newly found skills to the test with other similar level riders. Competition isn’t for everyone, but it definitely helps instill the movements on the bike and push yourself just one little step further than you normally would have.
Dixie Trix in 2012 was my first go at putting on an event and I was completely stoked on it’s success! Girls showed up from 9 different states and Canada – I was blown away and it just showed the demand for this type of event and the willingness of the females out there to travel for it!
Dixie Trix 2013 will by nature be bigger and better I think. DT will be at a different venue this year and I’m partnering with a new Colorado Jump and Pump series called the Outlaws of Dirt. Mark your calendars for August 23-25th and get yourselves to Frisco, CO for the next step in the women’s freeride movement!
5) Any advice for up and coming women riders?
Be patient and make sure you’ve got the fundamentals dialed to where they are second nature before progressing. It’s great to see the ladies going for it – don’t get me wrong but women generally have better body awareness and finesse which is a beautiful thing to see when that is combined with skill and confidence. Remember that everyone learns at a different rate and in various ways. Figure out what works best for your mind and body and create personal goals accordingly.