It was mid-November and the women astride bikes in the driveway formed a perfect V shape, symbolically aligned with the flocks of geese heading south overhead.
It was a pre-ride before the end-of-the-season Mountain Moxie team potluck. Winter boots and neck-warmers were buffers against the barely-above freezing temperatures as the women spun into the snow-dusted woods. Chatter could be heard along the switchbacks as connections were made about the past season’s riding and racing experiences.
As always, the potluck provided a great opportunity to reflect on the year – from individual accomplishments to collective efforts that advanced the Moxie mission. There was plenty of fodder. Vermont’s mountain bike season gets longer every year because of bike technology, trail maintenance and rider tenacity.
2014 began with a series of winter bike events hosted by Onion River Sports that were also fundraisers for the Moxie Sparks program, a girls mentoring partnership between Mountain Moxie, Little Bellas, Catamount Outdoor Center and the Stride Foundation.
Races and charity events throughout the spring, summer and fall provided plenty of opportunities for the 21 women that made up Moxie this year to test their mettle, as well as offer encouragement to friends and girls to toe the start line for the first time.
The ear-to-ear grins on the faces of Moxie Sparks’, Shayla and Ava, after their first mountain bike race at the Catamount Outdoor Center was testament enough to the value of well-organized races and mentoring support. The Sparks program, which gave four girls the opportunity to mountain bike this summer, would not have been possible without the following business sponsors – Onion River Sports, Skirack, Bicycle Express and The Cycling Doctor – as well as a grant from the Eastern Outdoor Retailers Association.
The widely-recognized raspberry jersey was raced at events like the Whiteface 100, Rangeley Lakes 100K, 12 Hours of Millstone and Millstone Grind, Vermont 50, Vermont’s Race to the Top, both the Root 66 and EFTA Series, Windham World Cup and USA National Championships. Racing was still in full swing in the fall with the Enduro events – including the POC and Triple Crown Series – and Cyclocross events across New England.
Beyond racing, Moxies found plenty of play on the well-built trail networks around the state (thanks to amazing trail clubs and volunteers), participating in VMBA’s bike festival, and a number of charity events including the Kellogg Hubbard Century Ride and the CircumBurke. Moxie hosted a women’s weekend of riding and learning, including a 5-hour Kingdom Trails ride, Enduro clinic with Sue Clifford at the Burke Bike Park and an evening around the campfire at the Kingdon Hostel.
Even off the bike, Moxies showed up and made a difference, contributing to local trail work projects, leading women’s trail rides for Fellowship of the Wheel, promoting the film screening, Half the Road that featured women’s professional cycling, instructing a women’s bike maintenance clinic at Onion River Sports, co-sponsoring Women’s Bike Night at Skirack, and volunteering for MAMBA’s “Bring a Kid Mountain Biking Program.”
After all that, Moxies still made the time to ride together, with family members, dogs, or solo. Because riding a bike offers so much, that there is an opportunity every day to seek something new, different or beyond ourselves. However, we have to make it happen and have the support in our community to reach our ambitions.
We are grateful to all those that provide support to Vermont’s women and girls who both gain and give something from riding mountain bikes. Tell us how we can pay it forward.
And, if you are a female itching to race and ride with us next year, check back in early 2015 for membership information.
Don’t miss the photos and testimonials highlighting the year on the Moxie Facebook page, and like us to keep in touch!