*Disclaimer: I attended the VIDA weekend under a comped invitation in order to test and review the organization and their teaching style. I was not asked to publish a positive review in exchange, and I received no financial compensation for this review. At OWA, we aim to publish reviews that, after testing, we feel would be beneficial to women outdoors.
I can’t believe how much I learned in just two days.
Day 1: Basic Bike Skills & Yoga
The first day at the VIDA & Lululemon Colab started with yoga to help awaken and energize our bodies. The rising sun, hot air balloons, and cool mountain air made a peaceful setting for our morning practice. The yoga instructor guided us through moves that targeted the muscles we’d be using for our upcoming day of mountain biking.
With our muscles ready to go, we moved to a grassy field to begin the biking skills portion of the weekend with Elinor Wesner, a pro downhill and enduro racer. We spent the morning learning the ins and outs of proper body form on bikes and the basics of cornering.
The skills were explained to us, then demonstrated. Once we had the visuals, it was our turn to give the skills a try.
Since the riders in our group ranged from beginner to advanced, our coach tailored the lesson to each individual. Normally, VIDA clinics split groups by ability, but due to the small size of our group, our coach kept us together. She then customized the techniques to the individual. To do this, she’d meet us at our level by giving us a skill goal. It was only after allowing each person to practice and achieve their goal that another skill was added. This made the progression smooth and kept anxiety low.
It was clear from the beginning that our success was her success. For example, when the women in our group crushed it on the wall ride, her energy was contagious. Though we relaxed during evening yoga, her excitement remained with us. It fueled our motivation to gear up and get on the trail for the second day of the clinic.
Day 2: Group Trail Ride & Yoga
8:30 a.m. found us stretching into the day with morning yoga. Our yoga instructor tailored the session to suit our aching muscles. During the practice, we learned how to both prepare and repair our biking muscles — an invaluable lesson as we strove to push our bodies and skills further on our bikes that day.
With our bodies awakened and loosened, it was time to put our new skills and knowledge to the test. We hit the Tom Blake trail at Snowmass Mountain — an intermediate, flowy singletrack with a gradual climb through an aspen grove.
The group ride gave us an opportunity to practice what we learned under the guidance and support of Elinor. Given that we all rode at different levels, we used the time to home in on different skills. Some worked on keeping their speed up while cornering. Others practiced dropping their heels. And still others looked for tips on mountain bike fitness and endurance.
The camaraderie was something worth noting. Throughout our clinic, the women in the group were looking out for one another. They offered each other suggestions with skills — giving tips, tricks, and positive encouragement throughout the weekend.
A Weekend Full of Positive Energy
While the skills and knowledge gained were an incredible opportunity, the positive community and energy were the most valuable part of the weekend for me. Learning a new skill can be difficult, making us feel vulnerable and frustrated. VIDA gets this.
Any frustration I felt while attempting a new skill was washed away when the group came together to help out. The mood was always upbeat and full of good vibes. Fist bumps, high fives, hugs, and celebratory yells were in high supply over the weekend.
Attending a bike clinic is a great opportunity for riders of all skill levels. But it’s is especially good for those just starting out. You’ll lay the foundation of proper riding form, giving you the skill needed to build more advanced techniques. I encourage any woman looking to progress on a mountain bike to look into taking a women’s-only course. If VIDA is in the area, register. Their infectious energy and positivity will drive your skills forward.
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