What: Courageous Women of Dirt Mountain Bile Clinic for Women Only
When: Saturday, 11 May 2013 9AM – 4PM
Where: Irvine Lake, 4621 Santiago Canyon Road, Silverado, CA
Who: Women who wish to learn or improve mountain bike skills, Girls 12 and up
By: Trail Angels, Rock N Road Cyclery, and the Instructors
On Saturday, May 11th, a few hundred female mountain bikers, and aspiring mountain bikers, will descend upon Irvine Lake in Southern California. The Courageous Women of Dirt is a women’s only clinic designed to inspire, teach and connect women from all walks of life to one common thing: the mountain bike.
The clinic is the brainchild of mountain biker and Trail Angels founder Jacke van Woerkem. We wanted to get a little more insight about the foundations of this event, now in its second year, from Jacke. Here is what she has to say.
mtbchick: How did you decide, or what was the “aha” moment for the CWOD clinic?
Jacke: Well, let me say, the Trail Angels were inspired because my beautiful mother suffered much of her life with illness preventing her from participating in adventure. She passed away December 2011 and shortly after, I wanted to enlarge my vision to bring adventure into as many women as I could through the sport of mountain biking. Hence, the first Courageous of Women of Dirt took place May 2012. In addition, I wanted to better equip women to ride safer and more confidently. Another beautiful thing about the event is to resurrect more leaders by inviting coaches and volunteers to share their talents. Win-win for all!
mtbchick: How many women are registered or do you anticipate to particiapte?
Jacke: We opened it up to an additional 50 more participants this year, bringing the anticipated total to 150 which doesn’t include the 30 coaches and 20+ volunteers and vendors.
mtbchick: How many members are in Trail Angels?
Jacke: We currently have 167 paid members, which doesn’t include followers on our Facebook page.
mtbchick: Do you get positive support from sponsors?
Jacke: We’ve invested time and love into developing relationships in this industry since I began Trail Angels in 1999. Positive support truly emerged when manufacturers realized I wanted to be a team player with them. I call it the “scratch each other’s back” relationship, which is simply meeting one another’s needs to become successful! I walked the aisles of numerous Interbike Conventions and followed up with my contacts. Most importantly, I couldn’t have done it without the talent and support of key members of the Trail Angels.
mtbchick: Can women’s mountain bike clinics change the world?
Jacke: Absolutely! This is what gets me out of bed everyday! I believe this is what God has called me to do and how incredible that it is accomplished through my #1 passion, mountain biking. I know that we could do a whole story just on this question! I have seen women come out of depression after connecting to 100+ like-minded women all in one location. Their enthusiasm is contagious and they talk about it for months after. What they will walk away saying is “I’m possible” instead of what those negative voices say which is, “Impossible!”
mtbchick: Tell me why mountain biking, why dirt.
Jacke: The movie City Slickers has a scene where Jack Palance and Billy Crystal are riding alongside one another on horseback. Jack Palance plays the old rugged cowboy who is a hired wrangler to these city slicker folks that come in and “play cowboy” and try to untangle all the knots they make in 50 weeks a year and go to this ranch to try and untangle them in two weeks! He simply says, “You know what the secret of life is?” Billy Crystal doesn’t quite get it when Jack holds up his pointer finger. Jack says, “One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean s&*#!”
Long ago, when I watched that movie, I had been diagnosed with Grave’s Disease and truly wanted to know what that “one thing” was because I wouldn’t settle to live with a diagnosis. Mountain biking was introduced to me during that time and it truly gave my heart wings. My enthusiasm for the sport began to attract other women to it especially after I slowed down on my racing. I truly found my “one thing” which was to coach women both off and on the bike. You focus on that one true passion, refrain from diluting it with “stuff” and that “one thing” will light your soul on fire! So, for those reading this, it may not be mountain biking, but if you embrace your “one thing” and pay it forward to others….you will learn the secret of life!
mtbchick: Thank you, Jacke, for your words and inspiration!
Register for the clinic here: Courageous Women of Dirt Registration