Following on from the resounding success of its first year of women’s mountain bike racing, Stilettos On Wheels is back for 2013. The northern round of the event will be held at Rother Valley Country Park, South Yorkshire, on Saturday May 18, while the southern round will return to Stanmer Park, Brighton, on Saturday September 7.
With a strong focus on providing a fun and supportive race environment to encourage more women to try mountain bike racing, 140 women turned up to ride the fledgling cross-country race event in 2012. A mix of first-time racers and experienced competitors, including two national champions, created a terrific race atmosphere and feedback from both races was fantastic. One racer commenting: “Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the race. It was so well organised and marshalled; everybody was so friendly and supportive."
Event organisers Irene Lachner and Emma Peasland have been working hard to recreate the magic for the 2013 events and a whole host of sponsors have already signed up to provide some amazing prizes.
The Stanmer Park track will stay about the same, with just enough tweaks to the flowing singletrack course to keep it interesting. The northern round of the event has moved to Rother Valley Country Park, the first place legendary mountain biker Steve Peat ever raced, where some great new trails have been developed for the race.
Sheffield round organiser Emma Peasland says: “Rother Valley Country Park has strong roots in the Sheffield mountain bike scene so we’re really excited about holding the Stilettos On Wheels race there this year. It has some fantastic singletrack descents so the event should be challenging for every rider taking part."
Stilettos On Wheels is a new cross-country mountain bike race for women only aimed at creating a greater focus on women in the sport. It is for both beginners and experienced riders, with fun at the heart of the track design. Mountain bike racer Irene Lachner came up with the idea in the UK after being inspired by Danish women-only mountain bike race heelsonwheels.
Irene says: “Mountain biking is such a fun sport but at many races there can be so few female riders that you can go through the entire race without seeing anyone you’re competing against which means racing isn’t always as exciting as it could be. Stilettos On Wheels aims to turn that around and get more female riders into the sport so that women are better able to compete with, and against, each other."
Olympian and world championship silver medallist Annie Last has given her backing to the race, saying: “It's great to see more women riding and racing bikes. My advice is just to get out there, give it a go and have fun and enjoy yourself. Good luck to everyone taking part."
Entrants will be able to pick their challenge, either two or four hour solo race or in relay format as a pair in the four hour race. Sponsors will be on hand both before and during both races to offer help and advice on nutrition, bike mechanics, kit choices and more. The Stilettos On Wheels team will also be providing online support to new racers to help them prepare for the challenge of racing for the first time. As last year, every racer will receive a bespoke sprocket medal.
Registration for both races is now open. Riders can find more information, register, and purchase Stilettos On Wheels race jerseys in the new event colour of fabulous purple on the website www.stilettosonwheels.com.