More than 60 women gathered at Northstar Lake Tahoe at the end of June to participate in the Team Luna Chix Tahoe Mountain Bike Team summer Cross Country Skills Clinic. With four professional mountain bike riders and off-road triathletes in attendance, the day proved to be both fun and informative.
The Tahoe Mountain Bike Team is one of nearly 15 Team Luna Chix groups in the United States. These groups focus on either mountain biking, road cycling, running or triathlon. The Team Luna Chix Tahoe Mountain Bike Team is comprised of eight women who are passionate about cycling and the outdoors. The women host road and mountain bike rides, bike maintenance classes and skills clinics throughout the summer in the Tahoe region.
Shortly before 5 p.m. on June 23, women began to trickle into Northstar Resort to register for the event. It didn’t take long for the area to fill with mountain bikes, CamelBaks, helmets and smiles. It was evident from the attendance that the Tahoe Mountain Bike Team has a strong presence and is well-respected in the Tahoe region. To assist with the main event of the evening—the mountain bike ride and instruction—professional athletes Katerina Nash, Teal Stetson-Lee, Suzie Snyder and Kara LaPoint joined the group. Nash is a three-time Olympic athlete and cross country mountain bike rider for Luna Women’s Pro Team, Stetson-Lee is a professional mountain bike and cyclocross racer for Scott-3Rox, Synder is a professional Xterra triathlete, and LaPoint is a professional road and Xterra triathlete.
After registration, Team Luna Chix athlete Kimberly Larson kicked-off the night by welcoming guests, explaining the schedule and thanking everyone who made a donation to Breast Cancer Fund, the charity to which all proceeds from the event were donated. Once the logistics were explained, women grabbed their bikes, buckled their helmets and headed up the mountain for a combination of riding and instruction to learn new skills from both the bike team and the professional athletes.
Nash, Stetson-Lee and Snyder all rode with the group while LaPoint headed up on foot to offer tips at the more difficult spots on the course. LaPoint, an off-road triathlete, recently tore a ligament in her ankle en route to a fifth place finish at the Xterra East Championships earlier in the month.
Along the way participants were instructed on how to find the best riding line through tough sections of the trail and how to navigate over rocks, roots and trail obstacles. On the way down the mountain, instructors stopped the group at a drop-off. Here the professionals demonstrated the best way to safely traverse the rocks and offered each participant one-on-one tips as they made their way over the obstacles.
Once past the drop-off, women cruised down the hill back to the registration table where they shared stories from the evening, enjoyed Luna Bars and anxiously waited to see if they had won one of the many prizes up for raffle. With the sun setting and the evening coming to an end, the women began to depart. Although the riders were tired and dirty, their smiles were just as big as when they arrived.