Photos by Greg Dickson
The Air Maiden team has been at it again spreading encouragement, enthusiasm and great times through their women's specific mountain bike events. Last month, over 60 women and 12 mini maidens descended on Glentress freeride park for the highly anticipated annual Air Maiden Freeride weekend.
While the weekend got off to a wet start on Saturday, it failed to dampen the spirits of the Maidens who started off with back-to-back coaching clinics delivered by Helen Gaskell, Jess Stone, Elisa Smith and Lynne Armstrong. Lynne said: “We were so proud to have some of the most talented and experienced coaches and riders in the UK coming along to share their expertise."
“They are of all ages and backgrounds, all there with the sole purpose of improving their riding skills but also to meet other like-minded women and to have fun," - Lynne Armstrong, Air Maiden Founder
Riders were taught a range of skills and techniques, from jumps and drops to cornering and, of course, the art of pumping on the newly completed portable pump track – provided by Bike Track People.
After a hard day’s riding, everyone headed to the Peel Café for a well-earned BBQ and complimentary beer from Tempest Brewery – complete with limited edition Air Maiden labels. This was followed by a quiz night and a viewing of a series of short films which showcase some of the country’s most talented female riders.
The sun made a welcome return for Sunday morning, helping to warm up some tired muscles. After lunch, many women donned fancy dress costumes – in what has become a central part of the grand finale - the freeride competition.
Judging took place on two marked trails, which accounted for riders’ progression over the weekend. Points were awarded for technique, flow, amplitude and, of course, style as riders hit various features on the course.
Afterwards, a train of women shredded their way down to Buzzards Nest for the jump jam on the Air Maiden kicker. This was the ultimate opportunity for the women who had attended the coaching clinic to show off their style and comfort in the air. For the more experienced, the kicker was pulled away from the landing to create a gap jump and some serious air time.
Air Maiden events have become so popular that their organic growth has attracted the interest of major mountain bike brands like Flare Clothing and Juliana Bicycles who helped support the free-ride event with prizes, demo rides and goodies. Other supporting brands were Bawbags Underwear, Mudhugger, 7protection, and GoWhere Scotland who all donated prizes.
Air Maiden will be hosting many more coaching days and clinics across the country, and of course, the women’s enduro race in Innerleithen in July. A coaching day in Chicksands in September is also on the agenda with none other than Katy Curd and Joey Gough. For more information about Air Maiden and their upcoming events, head over to their website here.