The Trail Angels are Southern California’s biggest and best female mountain bike group. Established in 1999, the group’s vision is to grow and develop a group of female mountain biking enthusiasts and create a symphony of characters that come together and strengthen one another both spiritually and physically.
After a year hiatus, the Trail Angels returned to Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park on Saturday, May 14 to host their Courageous Women of Dirt event; a day of all things mountain bike.
“The CWOD event aims to build adventure and self-worth into the lives of women in a fun and social environment,” explained Trail Angels Director Jacke Van Woerkom.
The event doubles as a fundraiser and this year donations were given exclusively to Project Bike Love.
“For years, we’ve wanted to be connected to a non-profit organization that just felt “right” and PBL was found!,” said Jacke, sighting Erin and Belén’s contagious love of life and their desire to empower women with a bicycle as why.
Over 100 women from a variety of experience levels attended the 2016 event. The day began with attendees splitting off into groups before going out onto the trails to ride and improve their skills with the help of the group leaders. The afternoon provided more opportunities for learning as workshops took place on a number of topics such as bike maintenance, nutrition, and training.
This year PBL group leader Amy Stonich was blessed with an opportunity to give back to an event that has given her so much in the past.
“My first Courageous Women of Dirt was life changing. I was going through a divorce at the time and needed an outlet and a support group. CWOD introduced me to the Trail Angels. I had been looking for women to mountain bike with and when I saw these amazing women come riding in I knew I had found what I was looking for. Being asked to lead the advanced ride this year was the greatest compliment I could ever imagine. I had gone from a beginner rider on my 20-year-old bike to a leader teaching other women how to ride at an advanced level,” said Amy.
World Cup cross country racer and Project Bike Love supporter Larissa Connors was on hand to share her expertise.
“Seeing 100 women all excited to ride mountain bikes in Whiting was a pretty powerful scene to me. I can't explain the feeling of pride I had, as well as gratitude towards the Trail Angles for putting on this event. We may do things differently than the men but we are still all united by our desire to ride trails, be in nature, get exercise, get stronger and conquer our fears,” said Larissa.
Thanks to the extensive outreach of the two groups and generous donations from Rock n Road Cyclery and other raffle donors, the event raised $3,000.
To find out more about the Trail Angels, visit www.trailangels.com