August 1, 2007 (Albion Hills, ON) – On Saturday July 28, 2007 the Fly Gurlz community hosted the first ever women’s only mountain bike relay in North America!
“You could feel something very special in the air,” says Michelle Ward, Director of the program. “Five generations of Canadian women were testing their mettle, our youngest competitor was 11 years old. There were mothers and daughters on the same team, working together and enjoying the day – it was just so unbelievable. Leading by example for our children is a gift we can give them and this wonderful kind of mentoring was taking place all over the race site.”
Fly Gurlz club leaders were supporting their members as they tried their first mountain bike event. “The relationship our club leaders have with their group is such a special and emotional one, it was a gift our leaders were so thankful to give each of them.”
Caledon Cycling Club also had a huge turnout, experienced racers like Shannon Tucker and Laura Watson worked right alongside their club members, introducing them to the world of mountain bike competition in a fun and relaxed way.
The Gurlz can also confirm that 88 of the women had never competed in a mountain bike race before as this was the total of OCA one-day race permits sold. “Pretty neat that out of 105 competitors only 17 held OCA full licenses or citizen event permits, you can bet many of them will now reach out and try events being held by other organizers.”
“I wish we could have bottled the energy and sense of awe that the day held”, says Ward, “The joy and delight of discovering that “˜hey I can do this and it’s fun’ is such a wonderful thing.” “It took me right back to day when I first began mountain biking – the wonder of it all is so powerful because it’s the purest form of discovering yourself through sport.”
“There is no doubt in my mind that all of us left on Saturday evening just a little changed by the experience.”
“I just knew that as a team we nailed it and when I got home and checked email, the in-box was overflowing with notes from the women saying thanks for hosting a team event just for us.”
Fly Gurlz wish to thank Matt Douglas from Chico Racing, Greg Burton (timing king), Canadian Ski Patrol, Albion Hills Conservation Area, Ontario Cycling Association, Devinci Bicycles, Motrin, Blue Mountain Resorts, Louis Garneau, PowerBar, CareerJoy, Pedal Magazine & Running Tide Inc for continuing to support the program.
Michelle Ward & Dave Solursh would also like to thank the Fly Gurlz club leaders, race team members, ambassadors and their families for sharing in the dream that has become Fly Gurlz. “It’s official, we have become our own big family and the love we have for each other only grows stronger with each year that we work together, we are a lucky bunch and feel blessed for the lifelong friendships that we have made.”