It was the year 2000 at Mt. Snow ski resort in Vermont. Tonya was racing in the Expert Women’s Cross Country race in the 25-29 age category in the NORBA Nationals, the Championship Series of Mountain Biking. She was being passed on the climbs, even walking, but when she pointed the bike downhill, everything changed. As she hurtled down the wet roots and rocks, she heard a spectator comment, “that’s fast! was that a man or a woman?”
At that very moment, in the middle of a mountain bike race, mtbchick was born. Tonya didn’t want to be mistaken for a male, she wanted the World to know that women are fast on the bike, and set out to show the World that a woman could be feminine and a mountain bike racer at the same time.
Tonya went on to found mtbchick.com, creating a logo with a flower, and full kits covered in daisy flowers, just to prove the point. It was a bold move, but it wasn’t long before women across the globe were jumping on the bandwagon.
The mtbchick team grew to 5 Professionals and 15 Ambassadors in its heyday. The group taught clinics Nationwide and spread the good word of mountain biking to many. As Tonya pared down her racing, mtbchick.com transitioned to offer one-on-one coaching and mentoring.
In 2014, mtbchick Lounge was created to offer full-service race support to any and all women at the Southern California and Mammoth Mountain mountain bike races.
Today, mtbchick.com strives to build a community of women who support each other and make the dream possible for women seeking to race Professionally. The collective for sustainable philanthropy is being created to support women, offering mentorship for racing, starting a business and financial and other support.
Nowadays, there are plenty of women riding mountain bikes, but in Tonya’s mind, not enough, and the best way to get more women on bikes is to support and build a strong community of riders and racers who can pull each other up and all be successful in the pursuit of their dreams.