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by Vital MTB Member, Caitlin Kealey

When riding bikes, the moose knuckles usually outweigh the camel toes...
It isn’t unusual to show up at the trailhead or the hill and be one of a handful of women while the testosterone dominates. Skateparks are often one of the most male dominated places to ride your bike but this past weekend in Cleveland, Ohio was most definitely an exception.

PhotoIn its third year the Ray’s Angels Women’s Weekend was bigger and badder with150 women registered from the US, Canada, UK and Germany. Women ranging from the ages of eight to sixty-four came ready to rip and were not disappointed.

Kristen Hotopp flew from Austin, Texas to take part in the weekend. Her second year participating, Hotopp came last year to learn from the coaches and to continue building her confidence after recovering from a very bad mountain biking accident. Throughout her long convalescence she said she pined for her bike and passed a lot of the time keeping up with the scene through the Web.

“That's how I came to be such a ‘fan girl’ of Tammy Donahugh, Lisa Myklak; Jill Kintner, Tara Llanes, etc…,” explained Hotopp. “The chicks [were] really pushing the sport for women who I know have also dealt with nasty injuries but kept riding. They are heroes to me in a really dorky way.”

PhotoOne of the factors for the ever-growing successful weekend is definitely due to the extremely high caliber of coaches the event brings in. Big names like downhiller Kathy Pruitt, freerider Darcy Turenne, dirt jumping queen Tammy Donahugh, bmxer extraordinaire Nina Buitrago, downhiller Leigh Donovan, trials rider Katie Polk and slopestyle ripper Stephanie Nychka were on hand to help the riders of all skill levels improve. (Full list of coaches here)

From a hugely attended clinic on the basics of bunny hopping to help for the more advanced riders on the big jump lines and wallrides to the beginner room for the ever important lesson of pedals level and the basics of how to ride a pump track, there was something for every type of rider.

“That's the beauty of Ray's - it provides a lot of inspiration! I come home hungry to ride and progress. All in all, my friends and I had an epic and unforgettable time this past weekend at Ray's!” concluded Hotopp.

PhotoThe atmosphere for most of the weekend was one of excitement. It is a treat to be able to see women from across the continent get together under one roof united by their love of two wheels, regardless of the size and shape of their bikes, or their riding styles and help each other learn. It was an incredibly supportive vibe that permeated the whole place.

Organizer and coach Nina Buitrago said her favourite part of the weekend was “taking a minute while riding, looking around on the deck and seeing soooo many women riding all over the park in every section helping each other out and celebrating with each ones progression, that was so rewarding! So amazing to see this event grow and be successful enough for so many women to keep coming back. It exceeds our expectations every year.“

PhotoThe vibe was not lost on Ray’s male counterparts; as many of the regular Ray’s riders were perhaps slightly dismayed at how busy the park was on Saturday as there were an abnormal number of guys in attendance. Perhaps not surprisingly where the girl riders converge so do the boys!

Check out more photos here:

Vital MTB Ray's Angels Photo Gallery

Ray’s Angels Facebook

Vital's random video clips from the weekend
Double-click to edit

Joke of the Week:
What do you get when you have 150 women cycling at the same time? Ray's Angels Weekend. What were you thinking?
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