IMBA Uprising Women’s Summit

I was thrilled and honored that CORBA sent me to the very first IMBA Uprising women’s summit in Bentonville, AR. It was held at The Record from March 22nd-March 25th and was the brain child of Aimee Ross.

What is Uprising?
“IMBA’s UPRISING is a two-and-a-half day, hands-on, collaborative summit among female mountain bike leaders from all across the U.S.

This event is for women who want to make change in their communities by getting more women involved in mountain biking. This event is also for women who want to be on the forefront of shaping IMBA’s community outreach and organizing efforts in this space. We want to be an aggregator of the best information, resources and inspiration to engage more women in mountain biking, and we want to hear from those already doing it and those who want to. Help us shape our efforts in the best possible way to affect positive change.

The event will highlight the best women’s riding efforts happening across the country. UPRISING is centered around four guiding principles: Build, Ride, Learn and Engage. Come to learn best practices, get inspired, gather resources and network with the women who are influencing the mountain bike evolution.” (from the IMBA Uprising website: IMBA Uprising)

And true to it’s definition it was. WHAT an inspiring 3 days of amazing community leaders and aspiring leaders across the US.

I arrived Thursday night, never being to Bentonville, AR. Such a tiny airport, my favorite. I knew the town was bike friendly when one of the enormous signs inside the airport was of a mountain biker riding the trails. I ran into Jill Hamilton of Petal Power and Kamala Slight our GGR SD Chapter Director also just arriving heading to baggage claim. Outside the airport, Liz Kurtz and Tamara Napier, 2 of my leadership team members were waiting to pick me up. Tam and Liz were in the middle of a huge road trip covering many states and getting in some pretty rad biking.

After settling in our house and doing a little shopping, we headed over to the Record, a beautiful venue in downtown Bentonville where the summit was being held. We signed in, went to the open bar for some vino and started mingling. The rest of the leadership team that was able to attend was already there. Doris Dunn and Susie Murphy. There were 7 of us from the GGR leadership team attending. I was so very excited to talk to women from all over the US about everything from trail building, advocacy, leading rides, how to get more women biking and much more.

Saturday!
This was the 1st full day of the summit. Aimee Ross started the day off welcoming everyone and sharing her story of her brain child….IMBA Uprising.
Then we were lucky enough to have The Queen of Pain herself speak Rebecca Rusch. Rebecca was an enormous part of the Uprising summit. She spoke, showed her movie Blood Road, road with us and answered any questions you may have had about anything!
There were many great talks throughout the day. GGR even got to speak to a room full of curious women on how to engage their community and their club. With the help of Jill Hamilton, we spoke about engagement and starting your own club in their respective communities. We were super stoked to be approached by women in Missouri, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Northern California that wanted to learn more about starting their own GGR chapter or their own club.
For all the speakers, check out the list here: IMBA Uprising Speakers

Friday late afternoon it was time to ride and check out the amazing local trails in Bentonville. Bentonville is FULL of cyclists and all about mountain biking! They LOVE cyclists there and are constantly building new trails. The trails were super flowey and well groomed. We had a blast!

Finally, Friday evening, all of us were lucky to view Blood Road. This is Rebecca Rusch’s moving about her expedition to locate where her fathers plane went down in the war. She then stayed for Q&A after. She and her riding partner rode 1200 miles on this adventure!

Saturday was my favorite day.
We had panels, interactive talks and of course got to shred some RAD flow lines in Bentonville! People for Bikes put on a Draft event after the rides. One of the events was each woman on a panel had 3 minutes to speak, then was able to take questions. These were all industry leaders that spoke about different topics.
IMBA then provided dinner! A buffet with open bar. We then said our good bye’s and walked over to the Church for drinks and chit chat. Yes Church! There is a super cool Church in town with stained glass windows that have bikes in the designs. They turned the bottom floor into a bar! So many of us checked it out and enjoyed martini’s and vino.

Sunday I decided to sleep in and do some job hunting. Tam and Liz went riding with some of the group and Susie, Jill and Kamala went to the museum. I reflected on all the empowerment I felt over the last few days and was disappointed to get on a plane and come home.

This women’s summit gave me empowerment, friendship, riding and hope for our future. I’ve been mountain biking for 13 years now. After every single ride, even after 13 years, riding still makes me feel like I can conquer anything. This is why I ride and this is why I want more women to ride.

Until the next IMBA Uprising women’s summit, let’s build more trails, attend more trail work, engage our communities and educate those on trail etiquette and what is going on with our cycling communities.

I thank IMBA, Aimee Ross and CORBA for this wonderful adventure and opportunity.

Wendy Engelberg, GGR & CORBA
GGR: Girlz Gone RidingGGR: Girlz Gone Riding

 

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