Another GGR annual event in da books held at Malibu Creek State Park for the 3rd time. Dubbed the GGR Rocktober 20th XC Gala. This year’s event was especially difficult and emotional for me personally for several reasons. I was on crutches (still am), so I couldn’t help out with any of the rides or even much of anything else but announce. And of course this year’s event was dedicated to Danusia Taber, who lost her battle to cancer this past May.
(Editor’s note: You can view the entire photo gallery, and watch a short half-minute teaser video!)
The morning opened up as usual with the girlz signing in and picking up their goodie bags and bike plates. Then many of them headed over to the Hammer and CORBA fuel station for some java and morning goodies.
The morning address was focused on how far we have come in the last 3 years. The enormous amount of women mountain bikers in Los Angeles and sticking with it speaks for itself! GGR has grown to almost 450 members, most of these ladies in the LA, OC, Ventura and San Diego area. Many of them made the drive to attend this event. Between GGR, Trail Angels and SOCAL Endurance ladies, we have over 1000 women riders! SOCAL is beaming with women who love their dirt!
Women now have a voice in our local cycling community. Women are supporting each other more than ever to continue to ride , socialize, network and most of all have fun!
We talked about how important it is to get to know your local bike shop and be a good consumer. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money, this means to get to know the staff, make sure everyone in the bike shop not only knows your name, but knows what trails you ride, the bike you ride and the group you typically ride with. This is the start of building a great relationship with your bike shop which hopefully starts a chain reaction down the road. We want the shop staff to address all their women clients by their 1st name and be able to exceed their expectations as a consumer. We have a voice and we are growing….so please pay attention to us. We spend money in the shops too. We want bike clothes too. We don’t want to purchase components we don’t need.
After I wrapped up the morning address, we brought up some speakers and presented awards.
1st off was Mark Langton, President of CORBA: http://corbamtb.com/. CORBA is on the back and sleeves of our GGR jersey’s and is a year round supporter to us. Mark talked about the different programs CORBA has to offer, CORBA’S involvement in the cycling community, trail etiquette and slowing down out there, being aware of all the other users on the trails.
Next was Tessa Treadway. Team captain of SOCAL LADIES ENDURANCE TEAM. This is the largest women’s race team in the country! All levels and genres of mountain biking are welcome! Amy Rambacher also came forward from the team and explained about a new genre of racing called ENDURO racing which she competes in. For more information about racing and joining the team, please check out the site here: http://www.socalendurance.net/
Now it was time to bring Lance up. We had an award for Danusia, but we were never able to present it to her since she passed on this past May. So Lance, one of her best MBU buddies, accepted the award on her behalf. Lance talked about the memorial bench going up for Danusia in Sycamore, her favorite place to ride and just chatted about the incredible person she was. Danusia was instrumental in getting GGR off the ground, getting CORBA involved with us, and of course she was my close friend and mentor. I miss her dearly and she is truly missed in our women’s community.
We sold the Danusia Bells at the event all day. The bells can go on your packs or handle bars to ride with her in spirit. All profits from the bells go to the Sarcoma alliance which was hand picked by Danusia for the funds to go to prior to her passing. You can purchase a Danusia bell from GGR or CORBA here: http://www.girlzgoneriding.com/ggr_products/ or here: http://corbamtb.com/store/store.shtml.
At this point, we just had one more speaker to lead us off into our morning rides. GGR’s own skills coach Christine Hirst. Christine didn’t know it, but we had an award to present to her as well!
Christine has been the GGR skills coach for the last 2 events. She has volunteered her time for the day and has made such an impact with the girlz it has been amazing. We thank her so very much for her time, positive energy and great motivational speech to get our day going. The girlz were soooo excited to learn new skills they have never been taught. And to see them use them the same day was so very rewarding. This is what it is about. Improving, helping each other and sticking with it!
We then all got together for a couple of group shots and then the rides were on their merry way!
The beginner’s started off with their skills clinic with GGR coach Christine Hirst while the advanced beginner’s, intermediate and advanced rides headed out. This year’s beginners and advanced beginners got one big huge treat! Little did they know…..the one and only, Leigh Donovan was one of their volunteer FLOATERS this year! YES! The most decorated woman rider in da world! Leigh was just her usual patient, generous and amazing self with our girlz especially through the long, dry creek bed. What a difference when another woman can show you exactly how it’s done and that..hey, it’s not that hard! YOU CAN DO IT!
We had 5 levels of guided rides for the day. Each with their own route and speed. This year we had a lot of new GGR ride leaders, floaters and sweepers who all did an amazing job! Thank you!
Once everyone got back to the park after their rides, we started the afternoon activities. Lunch, more mingling, the ever popular swap meet, silent auction and the PLUG segment. The plug segment gives the girlz 30 seconds to come up in front of everyone and plug whatever they want.
We then went to present another award from a friend of mine who has been a GGR supporter since day one. Mike Lord, manager of Cycle World. He has helped with every GGR event, volunteered his and his staff’s time and resources. Mike is really a great guy and we were honored to have Sage from Cycle World accept the award for him. Please support Cycle World here: http://cycleworldbikes.com/
Our last inspirational speaker of the day was of course Leigh Donovan. http://www.leighdonovan.com/.
Leigh was just recently inducted in the BMX hall of fame. It was amazing to listen to her story about how little women there were when she was racing BMX and all the changes she has seen in today’s world of women’s cycling. This is Leigh’s 2nd time volunteering for CORBA and GGR and it really made our day that she was able to not only join us, speak, but really set a great example for our girlz. I thank you so very much Leigh for getting involved in our incredible community of women riders!
We closed out the day with the raffles. Each GGR event is a CORBA membership drive. This year’s grand prize for the CORBA membership raffle drive was a NINER frame! Our own GGR Ride leader Joanne (J) Richards took home the grand prize!
Liv/Giant: http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/livgiant/ was there with the entire new line of 27.5 demo bikes for the girlz to try! This is the 2nd year Liv/Giant has supported the GGR event with a truck full of demo bikes!
A couple of the girlz, GGR girl Carly and GGR girl Letty, gave us their thoughts after demoing these new bikes:
“I tried the Giant 27.5″ in XS frame. Boy, was that girly thing full of fun. I only have experience riding 26-inch tires. I really felt the difference in the traction of the Giant and overall, the rocks and pavement almost disappeared! Or more like, I felt probably 50% less of its rockiness and bumpiness. I got used to it really, really (surprisingly) fast. The shifters were nice. The angle was more of a “lean forward” sorta angle, which was a slight adjustment (maybe this is an individual adjustment/modification).
The neat thing is, after demo-ing this bike, I would really consider my next bike to be a 27.5″ inch. I felt a LOT more stable. I consider myself an advanced beginner and this bike was just, great. It made me feel less nervous compared to riding my own bike. I often still get very nervous riding up and down rocky and technical trails. I have not tried 29-ers, but I imagine after a longer-term the added weight would bother me. I read that 27.5″ wheels add 5% weight and 29-ers are an extra 12% weight (this is a BIG difference!) compared to 26″ wheels. I am 5′ 4″ and about 112 lbs. Compared to my 26″ XS Titus frame, the Titus is much more ‘nimble’ versus the 27.5″ felt a lot more safe and stable. I’d keep the 27.5″!!!” GGR girl Carly
“I rode the Lust Advanced and I am in love. The bike did all the work for me. The Lust was made for climbing and speed. The new tire size is perfect for my riding needs. I usually ride a Pivot 5.75 and as much as I love it, it gets a little heavy on the long rides. I’ve always been a little worried about not having enough gears if I rode a 1 x anything but I didn’t feel like I was missing anything on this bike. I am hoping Santa is going to be very good to me this Christmas.” GGR girl Letty
We are so very grateful to all of our volunteers and supporters! This is a team effort. There are many people behind the scenes that make the GGR events possible and we couldn’t do it without you! Please support the companies who support GGR!
- HAMMER Nutrition
- Cycle World
- Kali Protectives
- Newbury Park Bike Shop
- JRA Bike & Brew
- SOCAL Endurance
- Turner Bikes
- Knolly Bikes
- Mountain Bike Action
- Liv Giant
- Giant Bicyles
- BH Skin
- Dirty Jane
- DZ Nuts
- Road ID
- Red Bull
- Dirty Girl Designs
- Hero Kit
- Cinema Secrets
- The Perfect Peel
- Scar Heal
- Go Girl
- The Unlikely Cyclist
- Muscle Milk
- Kramp Krushers
- Matrix Concepts
- Atlas Brace
- Osmo Nutrition
- Mountain Bike Skills.com
- Sport Legs
Al Unger photography! To purchase pictures from this event, please go here: http://auphotographysales.net/#/gallery/girls-gone-riding-2013/au-ggr-2013-9/
Extra special thanks to all our ride leaders, sweepers and floaters. We had a few honorary GGR members this event (men), who did an outstanding job in volunteering their time to us out on the trails as well.
Extra Extra thanks and kudo’s to Christine Hirst and Leigh Donovan. And finally, my biggest shout outs, thank you’s and kudo’s to GGR Co Director Kimberly Cofield whom I couldn’t have survived without her this year, Miyuki Tanaka our amazing IT person who juggles everything while being a new mom, and Laura Watts who got our act together administratively this year.
I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I’m so very proud to call you all GGR girlz. I hope to see many of you at the Holiday Ride and lunch at Cheeseboro December 8th. Please sign up here: https://www.facebook.com/events/676862972338954/.
We are also raising funds for our own custom tent and tables for all future events. To contribute to the fund raising, please go here: https://fundanything.com/en/campaigns/ggr-easy-up-tent-and-tables?col=-28582
On a personal note, I thank each and every one of you for your compassion and support. My ACL surgery is November 15th. I have a long road ahead and I can’t wait to get back on the trails with all of you!
GGR Girl Wendy E!