Hall Skills Clinic Recap - Holy Estrogen Batman!

Thanks to all the ladies who came out to last night's Boulder BMA Gulrz Ride Hall Ranch Skills Clinic! We had 27 (yes 27!!!) women of all skill levels, exceeding our wildest expectations. Apparently, there is a large contingency of female mountain bikers wanting to take their riding to a higher level!

A long string of female mountain bikers heading up to the upper parking lot for the skills session - what an impressive sight!

Another big thank you goes out to Kristin Butcher, who stepped to the plate to serve as the lead instructor. Kristin brought her years of coaching experience and instructed both Tracy and me on basic but important coaching tips. She set up a program for the evening that was fun for everyone and provided vital tips for improved riding. The huge success of the night is in large part due to Kristin's efforts and I personally feel my instruction of the intermediate ladies when we broke into groups would not have been nearly as effective without her guidance!

Kristin Instructor Extraordinaire (standing in the tan and black pants) watching everyone's technique

We began the night with a combined basic skills course for all level riders: track stands, manualling the front wheel and popping wheelies. We were lucky the evening was cloudy with a threat of rain (never materialized!) because the upper parking lot was empty and provided the perfect place for our large group to practice these skills. Everyone, even the advanced riders, gained a lot from going over these basic skills. After about an hour, almost everyone, even the very beginner beginners, were popping wheelies all over the parking lot! We also learned the benefit of Boobs to the Bar for keeping the front wheel on the ground when climbing.

Gurlz practicing poppping wheelies - almost everyone GOT it!

Andria showing a perfect Manual of the front wheel, which is in the air and ready to sail over the obstacle in front of her (photo cred Megan)

We then broke up into three groups. Kristin took charge of the beginner group; I took the intermediate gurlz, and Tracy - who was gunning to tackle her personal nemesis of a rock feature - took the advanced riders. The ladies did a fantastic job of self-selecting their appropriate skill level. I'm sure we were quite the sight, all those women on the trail. We totally outnumbered the men at Hall that day. One guy rode through our group as we were off to the side of the trail, and proclaimed that we had fulfilled his fantasy!

The beginner group stayed in the parking area for a bit longer, adding other basic skills like body position and weight shifting. Then they too headed up the trail to apply their newly honed skills on the real rocks. When I encountered some of them on the way back down to the trail head, they were all smiles, some of them hammering the downhill with confidence!

I headed up the trail with my eight intermediate ladies to apply some of the basic techniques from the first part of the clinic on real rocks! Most helpful were the manual, to get over the ledgy rocks that Hall is famous for, and Boobs to the Bar, to keep the front wheel glued to the rocks on some of the steep sections. Big smiles and a few F-ing A-s were proclaimed as previously tricky sections were conquered!

Nancy got back on her bike after a nice endo to nail this techy section!

We also tackled a funky rooty uphill section that had vexed most of the gurlz in my group. Almost everyone was able to clean it after a couple tries and everyone improved on her effort!

Jenny riding up and over the tricky roots that previously had eluded everyone in my group

The skills and confidence of all the riders in my group skyrocketed as the sessioning progressed and everyone left the clinic with a few basic things to continue to work on. I must say, even though I didn't get much of a 'ride' on, the evening was very rewarding, just seeing the satisfaction on the faces of my group!

Tracy and her advanced group raced up ahead on the trail to find a few of their "nemesis" techy sections, and along the way worked on the timing of the front wheel pop, as well as getting the rear wheel up smoothly onto some of the ledgy terrain. Once they mastered one route, they tried a harder line, with a lot of brainstorming and encouragement from everyone in the group.

Not all attempts were successful - there were some wipe outs but no major injuries (photo cred Megan)

Everyone in the group rode a section that they hadn't conquered in the past, or rode sections more smoothly and with more confidence than they had in the past. In particular, Tracy was able to make it up her personal nemesis, now named Nemesis Rock, along with Amanda. Just as important, everyone tried it.

JP cranking up Nemesis Rock (photo cred Megan)

Amanda cleaning Nemesis Rock, showing excellent Boobs to the Bar form! (photo cred Megan)

For the advanced riders, the sessioning definitely isn't over... everyone has a goal for next time around!

As the sun began to set, all three groups made their way back down to the trail head. An amazing number of ladies (something like 15-17) met up at Oskar Blues for dinner and a beer or two. The outdoor patio was abuzz with excited recaps of the night's events! It was a great social end to a great night.

Let's all get out and practice those skills!

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  1. This was such a great chance to get to meet some awesome girls. Kristen was so knowledgeable and encouraging. I'll be practicing those skills this week and definitely be back for another ride this next Thursday!

  2. Hello fellow biker chicks! I'm a NW rider from Seattle area who will be visiting near Denver mid-July and I'd love a chance to ride CO.! Kristin Butcher told me about your incredible group of gals who get together to ride/have fun and sent me this link. I'm hoping someone might be interested in hosting an out-of-towner, if possible, for a ride on Sunday, July 20th. I'd need a bike of course, which I'd be willing to rent. I'll be staying in Aurora, but happy to travel wherever I need to get out on the trail. I'm an intermediate rider. I'm ultimately interested in the possiblity of hosting an exchange as we have some incredible riding up our way as well!! Please contact me: Robin- autumngirl26@hotmail.com

  3. The clinic was awesome, thanks for taking the time to teach us! I'm looking forward to the next one.