North America’s first, longest-running and leading women’s mountain bike camp, the Trek Dirt Series, launched registration for 2016 on March 1 and has already seen 500 participants sign up. This growth reflects mountain biking’s upward trajectory in the female participant segment; in 2015 alone the number of woman who mountain bike increased 11.5 per cent.
Since 2001, the Trek Dirt Series Mountain Bike Camps have taken over 12,000 beginner, intermediate and expert riders to the next skill level in cross-country and downhill disciplines. The largely female coaching staff, many of whom are professional coaches, teachers and professors in their “day jobs”, focus on creating opportunities for participants to gain high end skills with low penalty through methodical skill building exercises and an incredibly supportive environment.
“Studies have shown women are motivated by relationships and a supportive environment, and it’s incredibly rewarding to be able to accommodate that with step-by-step instruction, multi-faceted approaches, and lots of positive feedback,” says Candace Shadley, founder and director of the Trek Dirt Series. “Participants are encouraged to give their best and push their limits in a responsible way; they leave camp with increased confidence and passion for mountain biking.”
Fourteen women’s specific camps and four co-ed camps will be presented across North America in 11 different locations this summer, starting at the end of April and running through to mid-September. The Trek Dirt Series has such a solid reputation that 70 per cent of participants are referred by a friend or returning themselves. In fact, the co-ed camp offerings resulted from men who had encouraged women to go to camp, saw how quickly they learned, and requested similar opportunities for themselves.
Most of the camps run on a two-day weekend format with skill development sessions in the mornings and instructional rides, in small groups, in the afternoons. Basic bike maintenance clinics, and social time with food and drinks to cap off the day, round out the camp’s offering. The Trek Dirt Series also offers one-day camp options in some locations.
Camp participants range from riders with only a few days on gravel trails who want to focus on positioning, steering and braking, to confident riders with years of experience and a desire to hone their technical riding and polish their air time with drops and jumps instruction. The step-by-step, progressive approach, with at least 1:6 coach to participant ratio, means every rider gets individual attention and develops skills at an accelerated rate.
Trek Dirt Series Mountain Bike Camps will run the following sessions this summer, in order of the event date: Los Gatos, CA – April 30-May 1; Santa Cruz, CA – May 6 &May 7-8 (co-ed); Winthrop, WA – May 14-15 (co-ed); Whistler, BC – May 28-29 &June 4-5; Calgary AB – June 10 & June 11-12; Whistler, BC – June 18-19 (co-ed) &June 25-26; Hood River, OR – July 9-10; Park City, UT – July 16-17; Whistler, BC -July 30-31; Fernie, BC – August 6-7; Canmore, AB – August 13-14; Mammoth, CA -August 27-28; Whistler, BC – September 10-11 (co-ed); Fruita, CO – September 17-18. Online schedule here: dirtseries.com/schedule
“It’s incredible how well organized this program is, and how effective it is at teaching you exactly what you want to learn, no matter your level. There’s a natural camaraderie that develops,” says Siobhan Henry, Whistler Trek Dirt Series camp participant. “I left with a sense of empowerment that went way beyond having fun on two wheels.”
The two-day camps are $385 (USD/CAD) and include full days of professional on-bike instruction, lunch, maintenance clinics, après and prizes from the series sponsors.