March 27, 2004 - Women's skill clinic a big success

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women's skill clinic Lucja and Tia crash the photo. women's skill clinic Mary, Andy and Lydia plan the fun they'll have sending the beginners over wet roots and rocks.

NEMBA’s Blackstone Valley Chapter held our third annual Women’s Mountain Bike Skills Clinic on Saturday, March 27, 2004 at Hodges Village Dam, Oxford, MA.

We were fortunate to sneak the clinic in as the weather was threatening.  Unfortunately, deluges in other areas conspired to keep many of the registered attendees away. 

The nine women that attended were rewarded with excellent instruction and personalized attention.  Lydia Barter was back for her third year leading the clinic.  Lydia is a member of Team Bike Alley and is repeat Womens’ Expert 50-plus USA and World XC Champ.  Andy Fitzgerald returned for her second year.  Andy is from Gold’s Gym in Worcester, a member of Team Bike Alley, and 2003 EFTA Women’s Sports Champ.  Making her debut was Mary Misiaszek from Team Bums’.  Mary is a pro rider and soon to be Iron Women.  (We missed Blackstone Valley’s past president Anne Shepard this year due to injury.  Hurry up and get better!)

By all accounts the clinic went very well.

Lydia and Mary took out five intermediate to advance riders and put them through their paces.  “Mary was great - her hill climbing abilities impressed everyone - they were in awe of her. ..its good to have someone who can do the skills while they are being to explained.”   “.. having 2 instructors per 4 - 5 riders is the perfect group size.”   “No one got hurt and in our group no one even fell.....that was a good thing!!!!”

One of the instructors reported, “There was lots of cheering and encouragement amongst the women. On one of the downhills, we had one woman who really overcame all of her fears, and after several tries, made the downhill--you know the one with the railroad ties across it. She had a huge smile on her face!” (Yeah, I know the one.  I’ve done more damage to my bike and my body on it!)

Andy lead the beginners group.  “ the beginners left feeling confident, a little challenged and more enthusiastic then when they started.  I also think they had fun! Two of them want to try a novice race which is pretty cool.”

Someone asked if we'd do another one. Probably not this year.  Lydia, Mary and Andy all have busy race seasons planned.

After the conclusion of the two hour plus clinic everyone hung around for 20 minutes or so afterwards hydrating and exchanging riding stories. Some planned to get together in the future to ride.  Although all were offered more ride time that day, only Mary, Andy and Lydia opted for more. (Could that be what makes them so good?!) I think the instructors must have worked the attendees pretty hard.

My deepest thanks to our three leaders, Lydia, Mary and Andy who I am honored to have as friends.  Thanks to all those attending who got up early, braved the weather and cheered each other on.  And a special thanks to USACE Ranger Jamie Kordach for showing up at just the right time and opening up the rest room!

We appreciate the chance to help promote NEMBA and cycling activities for women.


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