Well, it’s been a mint week riding my bike in Engadin St Moritz, with a crew of other bike-loving ladies! We’ve talked about everything from suspension to farting, ridden some great trails, eaten some delicious food, and above all I think we’ve all come away with a whole bunch of new friends.
We were in St Moritz (yes, the famous ski resort in Switzerland) for the second annual Women’s Bike Summit. Last year was good, but if you ask me, this year was even better! We had some great skills sessions, including bike maintenance, suspension set-up, skills coaching, and some behind-the-scences coaching tips and tricks for those of us involved in actually delivering skills coaching.
The weather wasn’t quite so kind to us this time around but we didn’t let it get us down. At least it wasn’t raining! It was just a bit chilly with some snow around up high. We kept warm with a little extra pedalling and some tactical route choices by our guides, who took us down to Poschiavo on the coldest day, known as “Little Italy” for it’s great food, coffee and gelato. It was also quite a bit warmer, and I almost got sunburnt before quickly slapping some sunscreen on.. oopsy!
One of the highlights for me were the photo workshops with Sam Dugon. I took my SLR this year so that I could get involved. I love photography but I have huge swathes of time where I don’t get the camera out, so I always forget what I learnt last time. We were treated to a ride down Val Bever, where the scenery is so amazing that I’m not sure you could actually take a bad photo. We had some good clouds in the sky, not too much harsh sunlight and everyone was wearing bright clothes. British girls may like to moan about manufacturers making things in pink on the various forums, but I can tell you, European girls seem very happy pinking themselves to the max! It isn’t exactly a bad colour to be photographed in either.
We also enjoyed an extremely polished talk on mental training from the very inspiring Anne-Marie Flammersfeld. She is an ultra-trail runner, and the world record holder for the fastest ascent up Kilimanjaro and back. She gave a very interesting talk on the power of the mind, covering things such as focus, relaxation techniques, and how to actually practice mental training. This is something I’ve always been interested in, and it was encouraging to learn that I’m on the right track with the way I use my mind to keep on pushing up tough climbs on the road bike, for example.
Another highlight for me came on the morning of our first day. Specialized Ambassador Maria Frykman had come all the way from Innsbruck, and gave us some valuable information on how to help beginners feel more comfortable and confident riding their bikes. Whilst I don’t often guide beginners, I am really pleased to have been able to take away some very useful tips to help the people I guide to become even better riders.
Above all, I really feel like I got to know some great women this week. Everyone was so happy to be out riding with other like-minded women. There is definitely a different vibe when you have a group of ladies riding together. A collective stoke when someone nails something you know they will have found hard or challenging. A collective sense of achievement when the whole group has finished a tough ride. It seems to me that we tend to expect male riders to nail challenging stuff, and to finish a tough ride, these are norms, and they don’t get any praise for it. I like that within a group of female riders you have these responses. I guess we’re all just wearing our hearts on our sleeves a little more, we’re more vocal about cheering for each other. I could probably chatter on about that for a while without drawing any real conclusions, but instead I shall just say that if you’re a female rider reading this blog, you should really come along to the Women’s Bike Summit next year! You’ll ride in one of the most beautiful places around, learn so much, and make so many new friends! I couldn’t recommend it more.
Thanks to Laura, Daniela and Tina for the group shots just here ^^ 🙂