Border women came out in droves on the weekend taking to mountain trails across Falls Creek for the fourth annual MTB De Femme.
Ambassador and three-time world 24 hour elite solo mountain bike champion Jessica Douglas said female-centric social rides were essential as women were underrepresented in the sport.
She said there were psychological barriers to women getting into mountain biking and the laid-back event was a great entry point for many nervous riders.
Mrs Douglas said mountain biking can be intimidating physically and the male-dominated participation rate can also be offputting to potential riders.
“An event like this, it’s not just about mountain biking it’s about getting people to reignite their adventurous spirit.”Jessica Douglas
“It’s all about conquering fears and celebrating successes,” Mrs Douglas said of the MTB De Femme.
“It’s allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and to have that fear but not letting it hold you back.”
Mrs Douglas said she wanted to be involved in the MTB De Femme event to show women the success they could have within the sport.
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“I’ve been riding mountain bikes on and off since I was 19,” she said.
“Now I’m 46 and one thing that I’ve found is very important for women is sometimes they need a helping hand and for someone to say I’ve been where you are and I can help you.
“Most women come away from the weekend with a new sense of confidence that they can do it and that it’s okay to hold fears but they understand they can overcome them.
“An event like this, it’s not just about mountain biking, it’s about getting people to reignite their adventurous spirit.”
Falls Creek’s Lisa Logan said the sport was growing at a rapid speed on the mountain.
“I’ve been watching mountain biking develop up here and I was a bit cynical at first I just said ‘No, that’s not for me’, but as I had more to do with it and got involved, personally involved, I’ve really grown with the sport as it’s developed in Falls Creek and now I’m really passionate about it,” she said.
Miss Logan said she first tried mountain biking 20 years ago but after one too many injuries on badly designed bike trails decided the sport was not for her.
But in the two decades that elapsed between her mountain biking adventures, trails improved tenfold, Miss Logan said, as did biking technology.
Both of these helped allay many of her reservations about the sport.
“I had a real fear of falling and injuring myself,” she said.
“Men typically go harder and faster so I was always hearing about injuries they’d done to themselves, but I realised it really depends on your approach, you don’t have to necessarily go hard.”
Miss Logan said she’s learnt to relish the adrenaline of getting dirty while mountain biking, something that initially turned her off the sport.
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