As an energy bar company, we get requests constantly to sponsor amazing events all over the country. We’d love to send bars to every single event, but it’s simply not possible (yet!). So, we check which events best line up with our mission statement to guide our decision making process. Events that support outdoor play and organic farming practices are at the top of our list, which is why we were thrilled when Pine Mountain Sports in Bend, Oregon contacted us about their “Dirt Divas” events!
The “Dirt Divas Mountain Biking Program” Â helps women learn about mountain biking from the ground up, starting with classes to cover the basics: Â the differences in bike styles, wheel size, what gear to take with them on the trail, what to wear, trail etiquette, nutrition before, during, and after biking, and so on. They had 47 women show up for the first event, so clearly there is a demand for this sort of information! Leanna, who spearheaded the event, said education and confidence-building was the primary goal, Â “We want women to feel confident walking into bike shops. We gave a goody bag with literature and samples to each of the ladies and had raffle prizes as well, which kept the excitement level high throughout the evening.”Â After building the initial knowledge, they continue their educational series with bike maintenance and repair classes. By offering both basic and advanced classes, women of all skill levels can continue learning and fine-tuning their bikes.
Taking it to the next step, Pine Mountain Sports hosts group rides to get new female riders out on the trails! Women-only group rides that focus specifically on taking the time to stop and practice challenging terrain have been hugely successful, as riders end up conquering the obstacles that they hadn’t tried before. By building in time to stop and talk about technique, riding big rock drops that seemed impossible before are suddenly within reach! Â Since the participants can try out any rental bike for free on group rides, the ladies have the opportunity to make an informed decision about the sort of bike they feel most comfortable on.Â As if that wasn’t enough, Pine Mountain Sports partners with Grit Clinics throughout the summer, connecting women who want to improve their riding with experienced local riders to coach them in technique on the local trails.
We love events like this because it combats so many things that take away from our play:
1) Starting a new sport can be intimidating! Even though you’re bursting with enthusiasm and determination, feeling like a rookie is never fun. Â Heading into a sports store to get equipped with expensive gear when you’re not entirely sure what works for you to begin with can be enough of aÂ deterrentÂ to stop before you ever get started!
2) Riding with folks who are seasoned pros, when you’re figuring out just how keep yourself upright can mean that rides are panicked and painful (for you and your bike!). You can’t even begin concentrate on getting though a rocky tech section in one piece when you were never taught how to shift correctly. (Just trying to “keep up” with others often results in learning sloppy, awkward technique, and thus a much less enjoyable experience in the long run.)
3) Taking care of your bike after you’ve been grinding the gears, crashing in roots, and splashing through mud puddles takes a lot of effort. If you don’t know how to maintenance it properly,the frustration of squeaky breaks and broken derailers (let alone a flat tire!), Â takes a toll on your love for the sport as you watch your hard earned $ go to your mechanic every week!
Events like “Dirt Divas” puts a stop to those issues before they even start, by providing information, coaching, encouragement and a spirit of camaraderie! At Kate’s, we try hard to grow, promote and support outdoor play any way we can. In fact, the first Tram Bar was made in an effort to maintain the energy needed to play all day long! Supporting Dirt Divas is just another way to stay true to our mission, and spread the “Real Food, Real Energy, Real Play!” love to others!