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Saturday, May 18, 2002 -- Ligonier, PA
Women's Mountain Bike Clinic (iPO Event Id#: 4949)
Story and photos by Heather Bury

[Details] [Coverage] [Pic Set 1]

Clinic Pic
Before taking it outside...
The nice folks at the Speedgoat Bike Shop were gracious enough to hold an all-women's mountain bike clinic, but I think they may have gotten more than they bargained for. Yes, it's May, but up on Laurel Mountain it was more like February. On the early morning drive up to the Laurel Mountain Ski Resort the rain changed to SNOW, and it was obvious that winter riding gear was going to be a necessity.

The group of fifty women that were assembled was a good mix of beginning cyclists and racing veterans, some moms and some college students. Everyone was split into three categories, beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

Clinic Pic
...Chris schools us inside
The morning was strictly an educational, two part lecture. The first session was a full lesson on the mountain bike, taught by Speedgoat's own top mechanic, Chris. Basically a walking, talking, dummies guide to mountain bike maintenance, Chris explained every part of the mountain bike, as well as how to test for maintenance problems. His advice on fixing most major problems was, of course, take it to a shop.

The second session was given by Chris Cocalis, the owner of Titus Titanium. Chris explained the difference between men's and women's ergonomics and why women need bikes specifically designed for women. Which, as luck would have it, Titus offers. The basic jist of it is that women are shorter with an average height of 5'4", with a shorter torso than men, and a shorter femur length. This is often referred to as Femmetry. Titus' big sell is not a smaller frame, but a shorter top tube length and a different seat tube angle.

Clinic Pic
Let the fun begin!
After lunch, it was time for everyone to go out on a guided ride. The beginner riders went off to learn some basic mountain biking skills. After that they were off on a short ride.

In the meantime, the intermediate and advanced cyclists went right off onto the trails to learn about taking on logs, rock beds, and climbs. As if the terrain on Laurel Mountain isn't challenging enough, Mother Nature had blessed the riders with a few days of rain and very muddy conditions.

After three hours of fun, we went away with a new experience, some muddy clothes, and cold hands and feet. I, myself, have a new knowledge of the mountain bike itself. I tried many things that I wouldn't have on my own, and I am now much more confident in my riding ability. A big thanks goes out to all the ladies (okay, and the guys, too.)