Putting our best foot forward
Wine, Women & Wheels - Skills Clinic Report
With yet more wet weather looming in the normally dry central west the inaugural Wine, Women & Wheels skills clinic on 30 October was a great success with riders coming from as far as Canberra to brush up their mountain bike skills and develop their confidence on the trail within the flowing singletrack of Kinross State Forest at Orange.
The event was run in conjuction with the Central West Off Road Bicycle Club (CWORBC) and was part of the region’s Wine Week festivities. The clinic was led by Chocolate Foot co-founder, Fiona Dick, with CWORBC member and Kinross State Forest trail fairy Grant Dowell ably assisting.
Throughout the day the girls were put through their paces with drills on balance, cornering, braking, and obstacles. There were a few spills as some attempted to push the limits but a lot of laughs and great rapport amongst the group, with everyone supporting and encouraging one another.
Before lunch we headed out on a short trail ride in search of a hill to conquer. The singletrack wound its way up the ridge and, on stopping for a breather, Fi mentioned she was trying to find a hill. This news was met with incredulous looks from the girls who wondered exactly what hill was being sought, as they’d certainly been feeling the current one! Good point … but finally a suitable hill was found, climbed, descended and conquered by all before following flowy and tacky singletrack back down to the trailhead where a delicious lunch had been served up by Allison and Nat from CWORBC.
With a couple of the girls confessing that partners or husbands normally take charge of bike maintenance and cleaning, we launched into a session on bike maintenance and basic mechanics, and demonstrated the simple art of changing a tube. Afterwards many of the girls expressed a desire to know more about looking after their bikes, which we love to hear!
The afternoon session dealt mainly with conquering obstacles, the girls happily demonstrated that women do indeed have the wheelie gene, and ignored the easy options on the obstacle course tackling the harder lines with no trouble at all.
The transfomation of the girls’ riding and confidence throughout the day was quite remarkable, it was fantastic to watch them improve their existing skills and get to grips with new ones. At the end of the clinic the girls were asking “What next?” and said they would be keen for a follow up skills day, after some time to practice the new skills and experience riding with greater confidence.
Another highlight of the day was the four participants from Orange meeting each other for the first time, and talking of meeting up for future rides. Hopefully they’ll also become members of CWORBC – we can’t say enough about the fantastic hospitality and friendliness of these guys and girls!
One could think that riding around an area smaller than half a football field most day might not be too strenuous, but skills drills combined with the trail ride saw everyone (including the instructors!) pretty much exhausted by the time the clinic wrapped up. Right on cue husbands & partners arrived, kids were handed over as the guys geared up to go for a ride guided by the locals, and the girls were happy to relax over a selection of local wines and nibbles, whilst getting to know one another better and compare war stories.
This inaugural Wine, Women & Wheels weekend was supported by some great brands, each participant receiving a goodie bag containing Apres Velo socks, Serfas grips, and White Lightning lube. Prizes were also awarded for achievements throughout the day – everyone went home with some great schwag!
Pics from the skills day are available in the Gallery.
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