Friday, 14 July 2017

Girls at Gawton 2017

All of the girls listening tentatively to MTB bike coach Tony Williams.
Back for the second year this all female event held at Gawton Gravity hub was just as popular as last year with over 30 women entered, seeing some old faces and welcoming a lot of new faces. The weekend followed the same format with coaching and uplift on Saturday at Gawton's purpose built downhill tracks and mates race or “cake race” as we call it being held at our chip shop site on Sunday. Thankfully this year we had beautiful sunshine all weekend and with the camping and the event being set in the rolling hills of Devon near Tavistock.
There were many comments on the beautiful surroundings at the local campsite set in the Tamar valley
Creating the event originally was about giving the girls a chance to try something new without having the pressure of worrying about holding up the men or feeling like they were being watched or judged. Although this year we had a lot more experienced riders the event still had that same vibe, being female exclusive was really laid back and supportive with so much positive energy. The range of skill was great as it showed the less experienced riders the path of progression and gave them the confidence to do what they had never seen other girls ride before.
Hannah going full attack on the Properjob steps before unfortunately crashing and breaking her collar bone
“Thank you, Laura and team, for organising I really enjoyed it. Thank you also to all the ladies for being really welcoming and supportive and for guiding me down Proper Job! Feeling much more confident with steep cornering now and may even give Supertavi a go next time and never thought I’d say that!” - Leslie
Local rider Janet storming the rock garden on Proper Job whilst being coached by Tony from evolve MTB
Throughout Saturday we had coaching sessions led by local mountain bike coach, Tony Williams From Evolve mountain bike. Getting the beginners going and teaching the more experienced riders more technique on jumps, drops and cornering everyone was fired up and getting hungry to try the harder downhill tracks that Gawton has to offer. After a break in the uplift and a spot of lunch, some of the girls were ready to try the infamous Super Tavi. The former Dirt 104 track was as dry, dusty and welcoming as it would ever be. Leading our groups was local BDS and BES rider, Heather Kay. On Saturday we saw a lot of the girls really pushing their limits and trying features and tracks they wouldn't have before.
There was a great standard of riding and a good number of girls gave the infamous Super Tavi track ago
Towards the end of the day this year we used our newly built pump track to host the pump track challenge, built by local legend Jasper Flashman it was the perfect end to a day of riding showing who truly has the skills. Although a supposedly friendly competition things got fierce between the competitive girls seeing a fair few crashes and even chainless 4x bikes coming out to prove who truly was Queen of the pump track.

The Pump track challenge claimed a couple of victims, Gemma was determined to turn that DNF into a winning run
For a fair few of the girls, Sunday's cake race in the format of a downhill race with practice in the morning timed runs in the afternoon was their first ever competitive event. The chosen course was a good mix of everything including steep, rooty, jumps with chicken lines and plenty of features in including a ladder drop but with so many enduro girls they soon found an enduro line through the shrubbery to avoid this and straight line. To give the beginner girls the confidence and reassurance to try their first race we encouraged self-seeding and very relaxed start times. We have found this to be a very successful approach in our local race series woodland riders winter series, applying this to the women's and rippers category last year we reached almost 20 entries in the women's category for the easier rounds.
Not one to shy away from a challenge Charlotte took part in her first ever mountain bike event giving it full focus
The races was on and the girls competitive streak came out again, whether it was beating their own first run time or riding a section that was pushed the time before, the fight was real to win the main prize of teddy bear cake, It was a close fight between enduro girls; Heather Kay, Liz Gath and Anna Cipullo. Liz took the win beating Heather by 0.3 of a second with Anna in 3rd by just 0.6. Unfortunately, a couple of girls were out of the afternoon's event due to injury sustained in practice so we wish them a speedy recovery.
Podium winners of the cake race getting a celebratory selfie
A huge thanks to event sponsors Red brick cycles for their mechanics, Tony from evolve mtb for coaching, Fly up downhill and woodland riders racing for all your support.
We were very fortunate to have the Orbea Rallon V5 on Demo from event Sponsors Red Brick Cycles
Join the Facebook page Girls at Gawton for updates on next years event.

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