From the crowd of many emerged the few. A group of mountain bikers, discernible by their XX chromosomal pairing, separated themselves from the rest of Pedros Fest's goings-on to join a fearless, youthful strawberry blonde leader who's slender, athletic physique (most notably with taut, muscular quads) is kitted in blue and yellow.
The thousands of miles that are in her legs make themselves evident not only in form but in function. The figure that we see before us is none other than champion mountain biker, Alison Dunlap. She is leading this, a class in mountain biking technique, exclusively for the women of Pedros Fest. It is with great skill that she demonstrates the moves that will help these women better navigate on technical trails and singletrack back in their respective riding domains.
Several of the women comment "Wow, you make that look so easy" each time Alison explains and illustrates a new technique. She exudes expertise, patience and a positive attitude, all of which go to instill confidence in her students.
The first move of the day is learning how ride off the side of the bike. This maneuver works to help the rider get lower on the bike in order to navigate under low branches or other hanging obstacles. By shifting their body over to one side of the bike, and leaning the bike slightly in the opposite direction the rider can clear obstructions as low as the handlebars.
The next move is getting behind the saddle. In this technique the rider picks their rear up, off the saddle, and shifts their weight back behind it. The saddle sits in an area in front of the stomach while the arms remain lose yet straight. This position aids in descending. It shifts the center of gravity farther back on the bike to prevent the bike/rider unit from going end over end on steep terrain. The key here is getting as far back over the bike as possible, yet not so low as to cause "kittie burn", a term that may have been coined by this class.
The trickiest move of the day would be the emergency bail out. In this move the rider would be back behind the saddle (as in the above described move) and upon running into trouble, rest the abs on the saddle (only momentarily), release both feet from the clipless pedals and drop both feet to the ground while slightly braking and coming to a halt.
Each student, between each set of instructions, rode down the course to practice what they had just learned . Some nailed it the first time, others needed to try a few more runs once they get home. In either case, they'll all be using these skills again. To end the training, the ladies were invited to use their newly honed skills in a bicycle limbo contest. Each used a different technique to get under the limbo rope, while volunteer Luna Chix held and lowered the rope. All of the women made it under the lowered "bar" and will go home to their trails with raised expectations.