I’m (Aneela) and I’m a proud Air Maiden free ride veteran. For anyone that doesn’t know – Air Maiden is ‘the’ women’s freeride mountain biking event in Scotland, if not the entire UK. I was there when it all first started way back in 2008 and I remember how nervous I was (along with everyone else!) especially during the main event. Come competition time, it was time to put all my new skills into action and showcase what I’d learned. Looking back I couldn’t believe what I achieved. It was the best feeling ever knowing I could jump higher, drop bigger and feeling very proud that I’d done all this in the space of a weekend.
I loved it so much I did it again in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013… Nine years on and the event is still going strong. It’s the only women’s free ride event in the UK where it comprises of two days coaching rounded off with a unique free ride competition on Sunday afternoon. This year I had the chance to talk to a lot of the women who participated in the event. The vibes were certainly different to the days when I was a participant. The women didn’t seem as nervous or anxious and I reckon the skill level was way higher. It shows how times are changing and that more women are advancing in the sport.
Lynne has got the right formula for this event. It’s at the right pace for everyone with a gradual build up to what everyone is waiting for – the kicker! It was great to see everyone progress as the gap on the kicker got bigger and bigger.
What makes this event so successful is the fun element. Almost every participant came out in their best riding attire from Ginger Spice to the Princess Unicorn to bumble bees, sheep, ladybirds and donkeys! You couldn’t have asked for a more fun and supportive environment.
I asked Lynne Armstrong, who is the legend behind Air Maiden what she thought of the weekend.
“What made the event are the women who came to ride. It’s incredible to see what they have achieved and I was blown away by the level of enthusiasm and passion for improving their skills. It was a great event and I can’t wait for 2018. I’ve had my first booking for next year and I haven’t even started planning it.”
I’d say it was Lynne’s best event yet, it had it all from great coaches, Juliana demo bikes from Jungle, Flotec Suspension on standby to help with mechanicals, Greg Dickson on photo duties, and great camaraderie among all the helpers, sponsors and participants. But most important of all was the level of progression for everyone with big smiles at the end. Well done to all the women who participated.