The 3rd annual women only freeride competition went off the other weekend at Glentress Freeride Park.
I think it sounds like a great event to get more girls involved in the sport. Niamh Allum sent us this report:
Pictures: Simon Allum and Gordon Sheill
Words: Niamh Allum
Whilst Brendan and Gee were battling it out at Llangollen, another gravity event was underway – Air Maiden 3, the women only freeride competition at Glentress Freeride Park. This year there were 40 women (including guest appearances from Superwoman and Po from the Tellytubbies). From early on Saturday morning it was clear that the bar had been raised from last year.
Everyone arrived with their own goals to reach over the weekend and with coaching all day Saturday and Sunday morning, the level of improvement soared above any expectations. Some women had never tried jumps before and by the competition they were hitting the gap jump full speed which was really impressive.
The Freeride Park was being used to the max by us girls, with most choosing with some tabletops as a warm up. Throughout both Saturday and Sunday, lots of words of advice and encouragement could be heard throughout the park. Then after a hard day of work and night drawing in on Saturday, it was time for the barbeque, which I sadly had to miss. Next morning I heard murmurs of break dancing around the campfire at 1am!
New for this year was an element called the “Satellite” an off camber blue wooden box that had a kicker into it then gap to the landing. In the pictures it looks pretty simple. But the downhill boys were refusing to give it a go as it was too “scary” even though it really was something pretty special. I was determined to give it a go on Saturday, but for the first few times I just couldn’t get a hang of the landing, which provided entertainment for the guys who were not able to ride in the park. This was the most difficult option of one of the runs and being the only competitor attempting it I was happy. I had an unexpected crash just before the competition knocking my confidence and so I avoided the Satellite and did the gap jump instead.
The competition kicked off on Sunday afternoon. It was time for all of us to pull out all the stops and show off. Being the first rider, I was able to watch everyone else’s runs after mine and everyone was jumping higher, pulling better tricks, or taking the more difficult options than they would have before. This made the competition stronger than last year as big tricks were making big scorers which was good as it pushed everyone to their limit which the best way for women’s freeriding to progress.
Finally, this Air Maiden was Lynne’s last as she will not be organising it any longer. I want to take the opportunity to say thanks to her for organising such great events over the past 3 years, and for pushing me to try bigger and better jumps. If she hadn’t I would still be hitting the tabletops and looking at the gap jump thinking I could never do it, so thanks from me and all the rest of the Air Maiden girls.