by Lalena Desautels
From January 25 – 27, amazing things happened. Over sixty women flocked together to ride a maze of wooden bumps, jumps, and walls at a bike specific “skate” park called The Lumberyard in Portland, Oregan. The event was Sugar Showdown hosted by Kat Sweet of Sweetlines.
The initial vibe was apprehension, or maybe thats what was oozing from me. There was definitely some women that knew each other upon arrival, but on the flip side there were clusters who came on their own who scanned the room uncomfortably.
That timid energy was quickly dispersed once everyone joined there respective groups. It was when empathy set in and we all realized we were sharing similar feelings of nervousness, yet we all came together for the same reasons; to progress our skill set, gain confidence, meet some rad ladies, and have a damn good time doing it.
Saturday morning was a day filled with coaching, riding, mechanical bike clinics and yoga. It was a day of confidnce building and friendships. The one thing that was awesome about that day was overhearing many women initially say, “There’s no way I’m doing the competition tomorrow.” yet by the end of the day, those same women were filling up the registration papers for the comp with big grins on their faces.
The jump competition and pump track race happened the next day on the Sunday, and everyone who entered were throwing down with excitement. The people in the pub were cheering loudly, and many of the competitors were shaking with endorphin flooded bloodstreams.
Each woman at the event was inspiring. There were absolute beginners, those who’ve been riding for 20+ years, and everyone in between. The inspiration boiled down to a common theme; every single woman pushed forward, due to the supportive environment, and took themselves outside their comfort zone. I’m confident that everyone went away from the event with at least one moment of stoke; that feeling of “I [insert possible cuss word here] did that.”
I feel the need to mention my greatest inspiration at the event. 6 year old Brooklyn, who’s poise as she rode her bicycle shattered that of a seasoned veteran. Her focus as she stared down the line that lay in front of her, swinging her bike around the pump track and lifting it into the air over the tables, was mesmerizing.
Muddbunnies was not shy at this event, making a strong showing. Team riders Jacky Seigo, Emily Sabelhaus, Christina Chacharon, and myself, plus Seattle ring-leader Michelle Arney all rocked the wood that weekend.
I tip my helmet to the ultimate ring leader of them all, Kat Sweet and her team of coaches. The event would not have happened if it weren’t for her. She is a trail blazer of inspiring women on two wheels to do what they thought impossible. She has brought together a team of women who emanate, not only talent, but a tactful supportive coaching style that bring out the best in all the participants at the events. Unfortunately Kat Sweet had a freak accident Saturday evening at the event, hucking herself onto a friend. She was back out to support the ladies the following day and went in for surgery later in the week. I’m sure we all share the same feelings of wishing her a fast recovery.
Thanks again to all the coaches, Kat Sweet, Tammy Donahugh, Gale Dahlager, Angi Weston, Cortney Knudson, Lindsey Voreis, Lorraine Blancher, who were assisted by Jaime Rees, Chelsey Henry and Adrienne Chaney.
Thank you to the event sponsors, as well as The Lumberyard. It was absolutely fantastic to see everyone pull together to create an event that will never be forgotten by both those who participated and those who watched it unfold.
Jumnp Competition – Pro (Blue Line)
1st Lisa Tharp
2nd Emily Johnston
3rd Shelby Reilly
4th Lorraine Blancher
5th Gale Dahlager
Jump Competition – AM (Blue Line)
1st Lalena Desautels
2nd Christin Van Dine
3rd Meg Valliant
4th Jacky Martin
5th Rachel DeLateur
Jump Competition – AM (Green Line)
1st Sarah Tingey
2nd Emily Sabelhaus
3rd Caroline Gentry
4th Kaytlin Melvin
5th De Vonne
Pumptrack Speed Laps – Pro
1st Joanna Petterson
2nd Lisa Tharp
3rd Lorrain Blancher
Pumptrack Speed Laps – AM
1st Sarah Tingey
2nd Emily Sabelhaus
3rd Lalena Desautels
U6 and U17 Categories
1st Brooke Anderson (Pumptrack)
1st Kaytlin Brook (Jump Competition – Green Line)
The Muddbunnies encourage and welcome female riders of all experience and skill levels to join them in getting down and dirty. Come on, ride like a girl!