Yesterday was a very busy biking day! Early morning saw me visiting the Chicks in the Sticks 2017 (all-female MTB event) at Mt Cotton, followed by The Big Push for Road Safety social ride in Brisbane city in the afternoon. This post is a brief run down of the Chicks in the Sticks event – Big Push post will be next!
Chicks in the Sticks 2017.
This event is Australia’s largest “Women’s Only” 3hr Mountain Bike Endurance race. It is hosted by the Rats Cycling Club and was held at Karingal Scout Camp (Mt Cotton, QLD). Last year I rode in this event and had an awesome time, this year I went as support. This event is one of my favourite in the riding calendar, and I always make an effort to go.
Why? Because it is ALWAYS a good day!
It was a beautiful morning and there was a great turn out. When I arrived at the race village, it was full of colour and bustling with the movement of families, kids and riders milling about, people catching up, preparations being made and checking bikes over.
The race village has a few extra additions this year, like a designated kids pop-up nature play area that was filled with games and activities for the families and kids that had come along for the day.
It was a great opportunity to catch up with mates, take some photos and wish the riders well.
It was great to see so many riders. I was particularly excited to see the range of ages. When I used to ride Enduro, one aspect that was most lacking for me what the low female participation rates in general, but particularly for women over 35. So I was thrilled to be in an environment where, for one MTB event at least, that this category was well above the norm! Hooray!
There were also lots of random giveaways and some great podium prizes. I appreciate that this event encourages participants to dress up if they want to – which adds an extra flair, colour and enjoyment to the ride.
Here were a couple of my favourites:
The first event of the day was the Little Chicks in the Sticks ages 5-11 and 12-16 who had their own race before the main field took off at 9 am. As I was not riding this year, it was an opportunity to take some photos and videos, which was a new experience as I am usually in the ride, not watching from the sidelines! See my race start video at the end of this post.
Although I didn’t stay til the end, I had an awesome morning soaking up the colourful, happy vibe. I cheered on the riders, chatted to families who had ‘come to support mum’, checked out some of the new stock at the team tents and had a thoroughly lovely time.
A good day was had by all!
I was really inspired by the riders who participated ‘up the back’ of the pack – those who were being brave and gave MTB a go – some of them for the very first time. It was great to hear how many people had come after being ‘invited by a mate’ to come and try – people who would normally not have tried riding off-road being encouraged my a female rider-friend to give it a go. They were my favourite stories to hear. It takes a lot of guts!
This event is a wonderful example that it is possible to run a competitive MTB that caters for serious racers, as well as for those who are just starting out, want more off-road experience or who are there just to have fun.
If you are keen to give it a go for next year, or know of someone you think might be interested, there are many different categories to participate in..
I tip my hat to the organisers who worked incredibly hard to make this day such a success.
A big congrats to all the riders who participated – you all did so well!
All the families and supporters who came as well made the day even better!
It was a brilliant event and I can’t wait to do it all again next year!
See you there!