The Hollard Jozi Urban Mountain Bike Adventure, taking place at Marks Park on the 28th May 2017, is not your average mountain bike race.
We sat down with Ride Like a Girl to chat to them about the Hollard JUMA partnership and why the ladies are gearing up for the race.
Tell us about what you do, and why you started your Ride Like a Girl clinics?
We encountered so many ladies that would love to ride on their mountain bikes but felt that they just don’t have the skills or confidence to take up the sport and ride more frequently. They felt intimidated while riding with their male counterparts, when encountering tricky technical obstacles and tight single tracks on the trail.
In response, we decided to start ladies-specific mountain bike skills training, aimed at the absolute beginner female cyclist. Our skills lessons are designed to give ladies of any skill level, the confidence to go out and ride with the knowledge of how to approach any kind of topography they may encounter.
Many absolute beginner ladies improve their skills tenfold after only one lesson and are often riding with the more experienced riders in no time. And the experienced riders also benefit from our lessons, learning new skills they weren’t aware of. Nothing beats getting back to basics.
What are the benefits of skills training?
Safety and enjoyment. No one wants to injure themselves. And being stressed out and tense on the trail because you don’t know what to do, around other people who are enjoying themselves, is no fun. Learning how to be safe and enjoy mountain biking is not such a huge step. All it takes is someone with patience to show you how to follow the rules so you can relax and enjoy yourself.
How did the Hollard JUMA & Ride like a Girl partnership start?
When the Hollard JUMA started a few years back there was huge interest, but many ladies lacked confidence and had concerns about how they would cope with all the obstacles and therefore did not enter. So we approached the organisers and told them that we could help ladies conquer those fears and assist them in building the right confidence and techniques in order to participate. And so far it has been a huge success.
What’s your best piece of advice for female riders doing the Hollard JUMA?
There is no shame in walking. The worst thing one can do while mountain biking is trying to do something you are not confident in doing. A lack of confidence brings fear, and fear creates mistakes, which ends in tears. If you are unsure about doing something, just walk! Another awesome trick is to learn to stand up on your pedals.
Will some of the Ride Like a Girl team be riding this year and what are you looking forward to most?
Most certainly, we have several ladies participating in both the 54km and the 22km events. We look forward to riding with our friends and enjoying the wonderful green space and challenging rides this great city has to offer. It is about accomplishment and enjoyment. Stopping to take in the view and embracing the opportunity to ride in and explore new places is central to our vision at Ride Like A Girl.
For more information about the Ride Like a Girl skill clinics visit www.ridelikeagirl.co.za. Entries are open! Entry fees are R399 (ex VAT) for the 54km and R299 (ex VAT) for the 22km. Don’t miss your chance to experience a whole new kind of MTB race. Enter now at www.juma.co.za.