Monday, January 18, 2016

A Day At Girls' Camp. Well, Sort of....

Last week, Diane noticed that Missy Vail was leading a beginner/intermediate ride at Camp Robinson for the ladies of Arkansas Heels on Wheels. She decided to meet the women for the ride and I tagged along to take some photos and let our dogs enjoy a day of running the trails.
The Heels had a great turn-out, as the Visitor Center was crowded with women when we arrived to check in, and they arrived at the TA2 ride area like a convoy on a drill day.

The Heels on Wheels convoy had arrived.

Soon, the bikes were unloaded and the more experienced riders were sharing insight with beginners in the group. The group ranged from experienced intermediate riders to first-timers, so everyone got an opportunity to teach, learn, or do both. 

Final preparation: Air and hair must be correct for conditions.
 Willie and Ivy making a run for it. I tried to keep them out of the group, but Willie is a mama's boy and bolted to join when he caught a glimpse of Diane through the woods. They are good trail dogs and the ladies didn't seem to mind.  
 Missy leads as the pack crosses the new long bridge on 10 Bridges trail.

I am always glad to see opportunities like this for women in sports. Having spent all of my adult life engaged in "male dominated" activities ranging from whitewater boating to windsurfing to fly fishing and cycling, I have observed that, though there are obviously women who excel at all of them, there is a bit of an intimidation factor. Women are often hesitant to reveal their lack of knowledge in the presence of a bunch of boys, so gender-specific events are helpful in breaking the ice.
Guys have big ol' egos, but most of us have done enough dumb shit so as not be embarrassed to ask anymore. I was such a goober when I started riding bikes, I had to call the shop from which I had a demo to ask the salesman how to shift gears after getting stuck in a 39-12. "Oh, the brake levers shift the gears, too??Wow."  He had tried to show me in the shop, but I was all, "I got this".  
A couple of guys, including Richard Machycek of Arkansas Cycling and Fitness, joined the ride. I have a difficult time saying Richard was there for "moral" support, but he checked tire pressures, answered technical questions and handed out rolling advice on shifting, bike handling, and trail features as he rode among the participants. Richard is an excellent rider and can communicate well, he he is good to have along. 

The group gathered at the center road to decided on their next loop.
Richard Machycek of Arkansas Cycling and Fitness initiating a fat bike wheelie for the camera.

And that's not all....
Basil Hicks III was conducting a trail maintenance training session on Saturday afternoon. Basil II, Sharon Saunders, Brian and Melissa Shipman were set up at the shelter with hot drinks and snacks for that event.  It was a great opportunity to socialize and discuss the state of things at Camp Robinson. 

More trail miles...

Last week, Eric Grimmett unveiled his yet unnamed new trail off of ZigZag/Pipeline. On Saturday, Basil Hicks told me that they had just opened up a new mile-long extension of Can Of Corn. I have not come close to riding all of the current trail system at Camp Robinson. Trails range from well-marked, easily accessible beginner loops to some very technical routes. I think that "E" may have set a new standard for technical with his new trail, but I'll have to check it out when I'm ready for a little bike hike. 

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