I was invited along to “Ladies do FOD DH”. It’s an unofficial event organised by Amanda Tanfield with the aim of getting female downhill riders together to session the downhill trails, help each other out and generally have a laugh doing it. So on a sunny Saturday in June myself and 16 other female downhillers of all ages and abilities turned up at the Forest of Dean for the event.
The Forest of Dean is the perfect venue for this kind of event with downhill trails to suit all abilities and after complaining only a few days before that I was fed up of riding my local wet sloppy trails it was a welcome relief to find the forest trails reasonably dry. The morning started with a session on the Sheepskull track. Splitting the trail down into ride-able sections Amanda lead trail walks pointing out trail features and best lines to take depending on rider ability, we even got a perfectly timed demo from Katy Curd. Riders then sessioned the sections, pointed out new lines and encouraged others as we made our way down the trail.
Lunchtime came surprisingly quick and with hungry tummies fed and some delicious brownies from Emily we pushed back up to the top of Sheepskull and rode it all the way down one behind the other.
A push back up and this time the line of choice was GBU. As we were all more relaxed and confident on the bikes we decided not to do a track walk and just go for it. GBU has larger features than Sheepskull with 2 big drops but that didn’t deter the girls! Amanda demoed the slab drop which was her first time to a round of applause before we moved to the lower section of the course where a few more rad ladies sessioned the second drop, all captured on a video edit of the day by Kat.
I asked Amanda what inspired her to organise these days.
Why I do this is a long story but the basics come down to this… there are so few girls/ladies out there getting into downhill and those that are out there doing downhill don’t get to meet up so much. Hence I decided for my birthday not long ago to invite all the girls I had met briefly to go biking at the 417. This resulted in 2 more ladies days at the Forest of Dean. It is going so well and the girls/ladies want more. We have such a laugh. The sessioning of the trails has given the girls and myself so much confidence. The riding after just brings out huge smiles from all of us. It’s brilliant.
I chose to push up on these days with the girls as we get to chat, laugh and get to know each other. It is also cheap. It feels more casual. I’m no coach, just someone who would like to see more women out there. I’m proud that the girls and I are gaining so much confidence from learning together.
There are lots of events popping up around the UK to get women interested in all forms of mountain biking, it’s a fantastic way to meet new people, share experiences and ride together. For me it was a brilliant day spent with great people messing around on my bike; a perfect way to spend a Saturday! but don’t just take my word for it here’s what some of the other women had to say about the day.
“What a fantastic day never ridden downhill tracks before and it was less scary when they are broken down”
“Massive massive thank you Amanda you are awesome, today was fab, so nice to meet some new people and catch up with ladies I haven’t seen in a while. Cracking day, can’t wait for the next one”
“Thank you for today ladies it was a massive confidence giver and has given me lots to think about awesome day thanks Amanda for organising”
“Thanks Amanda for sorting another great day! Lovely to meet all you lovely ladies! Many thanks for your abundance of patience”
Big thanks to Amanda for organising, Emily for the brownies and Kat for the photos and video, I’m already looking forward to the next one.
Amanda is not a coach and those who need skills coaching should get coached by a professional, she learn’t her skills from Katy Curd. Flow MTB sponsor women’s MTB skills coaching with MTB Instruction including advanced downhill days, for more information please contact Mark by email firstname.lastname@example.org