Do you have any regrets from your teen years? I do, and it is that I quit participating in team and competitive sports around the age of 14. Well I am back in the saddle, literally, and once again I enjoy participating in many different sports, but my first love has definitely become mountain biking. This is why I was so excited to discover a program for young women called “Fast and Female.”
Fast and Female is an organization founded by Chandra Crawford, 2006 cross-country skiing Olympic Medalist, and is dedicated to “Empowerment through Sports.” They focus on girls ages 9 – 19, helping build leadership and confidence through sport. Events are led by prominent female champions from a variety of sports; such as cross-country skiing, biathlon, and mountain biking. This past Sunday, July 17, the Canmore Nordic Centre hosted Fast and Female’s first ever mountain bike camp. The lineup of instructors for the day was remarkable. The Canadian National Cycling team was represented by Catharine Pendrel, Emily Batty, Catherine Vipond, Amanda Sin and Mical Dyck – a star studded lineup of some of the best and most prominent female Canadian riders.
Four mini clinics were set-up for the day with a specific focus for each, including: changing tires, bike maneuvering, climbing, and descending. Clinics were instructed by the female champions in attendance. After spending a couple of hours on our bikes learning new skills, all participants gathered inside the day lodge for a snack and an inspirational chat from World Cup winner, Olympian, and the winner of the previous days National Mountain Bike Race, Catharine Pendrel. Pendrel talked about how her inspiration for racing is finding the FUN factor in all her races and rides; by doing so she continues to love what she does. If that wasn’t enough, Pendrel further motivates the girls by talking about how she now gets paid to ride her bike and how her sponsors provide her with free bikes and equipment, and how she gets to travel the world to race. She then shows them a movie about her participation in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, which truly inspired the girls; you could see their faces light up.
The day wraps up with an impromptu dance session and an autograph signing. After which the girls head out into the sun filled stadium motivated and excited; already planning their next bike ride. Mentions of how they no longer need their dad or brothers to change their tires when they flat was a positive sign that the event was a success. Mission accomplished? I think so. Hopefully a handful or more of the forty girls who attended this great event will realize the amazing benefits of staying active and playing outdoors, not to mention be inspired to make mountain biking a part of their healthily lifestyle for a very long time to come. Now your turn, what inspires you to ride?
If you know of a young female looking for inspiration or encouragement in her sport and want to enroll her in an upcoming Fast and Female event, please visit www.fastandfemale.com for more details.
– Cor Harris
Cor hails from Banff, Alberta; a lover of the outdoors and an accomplished downhill skier, she discovered the exhilarating sport of mountain biking two years ago. Quickly falling for this activity, Cor now enjoys both x-country and downhill riding. Recently, Cor spent her day volunteering at the first ever Fast and Female mountain bike camp held at the Nordic Centre in Canmore. Happy to share her experience with bikepirate.com readers, Cor recounts her day.