The second edition of Colorado's first and only women's mountain bike race is scheduled for this weekend at Bear Creek Lake Park in Denver. The Beti Bike Bash, run by the Yeti Beti Mountain Bike team based in Golden, drew 170 finishers in 2010. More than 90 of the participants were beginner-class riders. This year, the event will continue to cater to such green racers with their own category and a clinic with Rebecca Rusch on Saturday. For pros, the event has upped the ante with a $3,000 cash purse provided by Stans NoTubes.
Even if you can't or don't want to race, you can still participate in the weekend events by attending a showing of Race Across the Sky on Friday, June 10 at the Tivoli in Denver. The money raised that night will be donated to COMBA, the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) and Mountain2Mountain (M2M), a nonprofit organization working to help empower the people of Afghanistan, with a focus on women and girls and gender equity. Also, head out to the park on Saturday for a skills clinic taught by pro, female riders. More information can be found on the Beti Bike Bash website: http://www.betibikebash.com/
303 Cycling caught up with Amy of the Yeti Betis to learn more about the event and why you (or your wife, or your daughter, or your sister) should participate. Registration is still open - you can sign up online or in person this Friday at Outdoor Divas.
+ Give us a brief reminder of why and how the event got started.
No one was doing a women's-only MTB event and YetiBeti thought there should be one to encourage more women to try mountain bike racing. Last year ... we discovered a lot of women want to race, given the right environment.
+ Why choose mountain biking as a way to support M2M?
I met Shannon Galpin, the founder of M2M, at the Breck Epic last year. The [Yeti Beti] team wanted to use the race as a way to get M2M's message out to more women who would have that common bond between helping and riding. We presented the idea to Shannon and she loved it. Women helping women via fat tires. We are donating a portion of the event proceeds to M2M.
+ How did the inaugural event go last year?
With no marketing budget, registering 200 women was remarkable for a first-year event.
+ What is new for 2011?
The best way to attract pro women to a race is to have them race for a good prize purse. Cindy Koziatek, the co-owner of Stan's NoTubes, really liked what we did last year and wanted to support this year's event. We're pretty excited in that not only did Stan's provide our $3000 cash purse, but Cindy is coming out for the event as well.
Immediately after talking to M2M's Shannon Galpin, she put me in direct contact with Rebecca Rusch. Rebecca said she wanted to do more than just show up and race. She brought on SRAM as a sponsor. SRAM is bringing its demo truck for the women's clinic on Saturday, June 11 (at Bear Creek Lake Park). Rebecca gathered up the SRAM-sponsored mountain biking women to do the MTB clinic for women of all levels. We've also added, thanks to Rebecca, a showing of Race Across the Sky on Friday, June 10 at the Tivoli in Denver. All the money raised that night will be donated to COMBA, IMBA, and Mountain2Mountain.
+ Why is it important or even necessary to have an event that is women-only?
At our mountain bike races here in Colorado and elsewhere, we weren't seeing many new female faces each season. It's not rocket science to figure out that mountain biking is very intimidating, with racing even more so. We looked at factors that might discourage beginner women and tried to design something more inviting that what's otherwise available. It's relatively cheap, close to home, and easy enough of a course for most women to be challenged and to finish.
+ How do you make the event appealing for both pros and newbies?
We talked to our friends at races and ask what they want from a race. For the pro women, it's easy: they want better (or any) cash purses. For the other categories, we really highlight that the event is about meeting other women and getting a sweet goodie bag worth over $100, including a Twin Six race T-shirt.
+ What do you want to say to beginner mountain bikers and non-racing types who might be on the fence about registering?
Having 90 beginner women last year was amazing! We really focus on the fun factor with the event. We have something for everyone. Come out with your husband or boyfriend to see the 2010 Race Across the Sky on Friday. Or sign up for the women's MTB clinic on Saturday. Or sign up for all three events and make it a weekend!
+ If it hasn't been said already, what's the most important thing we need to know about the Beti Bike Bash?
It's THIS SUNDAY and this year has so many great additions! Register online through Friday 6 a.m., in person at Outdoor Divas Friday 4-6 p.m., or on race day (with added $10 late fee).
+ If it hasn't been said already, what's the most important thing we need to know about race day?
The beginner race starts at 9 a.m. Give yourself plenty of time if you have to register and/or get your race packet. We'll also have our friends, the Organic Mechanics, on site race day to help with any last minute bike mechanicals Saturday and Sunday.