In Fall of 2016 I volunteered at the Nevada City Women’s MTB Clinic. There was a high school girl attending on an old bike borrowed from the clinic director. This girl went over the bars more in one weekend than I have the entire time I have been riding. Her brother raced mountain bikes for the local high school so she wanted to try it out. Every time she crashed she would jump up and say, “I’m okay!” with the biggest smile on her face. She had no pads or gloves. I remember thinking this girl needs an MVP award for sticking with this all weekend battered and bruised without one complaint.
This clinic came back around in Spring of 2017 and this time I was an assistant coach. I distinctly remember a girl whizzing up on her Liv bike with other high school racer girls. I thought is that Morgan?? It was. She had stuck with it and was actually racing on the local high school team. As I watched her ride through the weekend I was blown away. It was amazing to see the progress in such a short time. When she would successfully go through my skill station I would cheer and yell proudly, “That’s the girl that crashed all weekend 6 months ago!”
On the trail ride we did I never saw her. She sped down with the other high school racers. What amazed me the most was her confidence level. With skills and a good bike her confidence shined in her riding.
In May I did my first Enduro and I was ecstatic to see Morgan roll up to the first stage. This girl hasn’t even been riding a year and she is racing an Enduro. The first stage which was also the rockiest she crashed. As she got a bandaged up at the EMT station, I overheard the EMT ask if she was going to keep racing. Of course she quickly said, “Oh yes! I am okay!” That girl raced the next 3 stages with a white bandage around her tiny arm that we would have to fix periodically to keep it in place. At one point someone asked her if she had pads and she stated no, she has been meaning to get them, her brother had pads since he has been racing longer…
She got 5th place. As I stood on the podium with her, I thought I am buying this girl pads.
Morgan epitomizes what I have set out to accomplish. Since entering this crazy world of mountain biking and being stunned by the lack of female presence, I set out to encourage more women and young girls to enter the sport. My goal is to have complete equality in bike, apparel, gear, race presence etc. as the men.
With Paige’s coaching Morgan has excelled in a very small amount of time. I want her to keep going. However I want her to keep going safely with the protection she needs.
With the help of Auburn Bike Company, Women’s MTB Experience purchased her G-Form Elbow and Knee pads. The day I called to let her know, was one of the best moments ever. She was so surprised, grateful and happy. I met her and her family at Auburn Bike Company to hand over the pads. Her mom hugged me with the most genuine, “Thank you so much for taking care of my daughter.”
I hope I can continue to be a part of other’s journeys. It’s such an amazing sport. I don’t think enough women know about it. I intend to change that!