Last weekend Annie Last hosted a women’s skills masterclass day at Lee Quarry, Rossendale.
Hosted by Annie in cooperation with Rossendale Borough Council and Lancashire County Council, the event was free to take part in with the intention of inspiring women to get into mountain biking.
“I’d like to see more women take to cycling, in particular mountain biking” Annie said, when talking to the riders assembled.
“Putting something back into my sport by hosting the masterclass is something I am really passionate about and I hope the sessions will provide fellow female riders with the skills to get more out of their riding. In particular I like the idea of mums being able to feel more confident to go to parks or trail centres with the kids and enjoy traffic free riding, and post ride tea and cake!”
Cllr Sean Serridge from Rossendale Borough Council said: “It was great to see the enthusiasm of Annie and the participants on the course, despite the miserable weather which welcomed them to Rossendale. Lee Quarry and the mountain bike trails are a great asset to our community, and it was a pleasure to observe the session, and the obvious enjoyment of all the participants.”
Annie had the idea of running her skills masterclass while training at Lee Quarry with the hope of providing an opportunity for women of all abilities to get together, improve their technical skills and give them the confidence to take to the great outdoors with their family or friends; an environment where they can experience the sense of achievement, the traffic free riding and the health and fitness benefits that come with her sport.
After a presentation on bike maintenance by Annie’s race mechanics, the group of riders took to Lee Quarry’s acclaimed trails. Usually home to Annie’s preparations for international and Olympic competition; the pump tracks and network of graded trails played host to a girls day out with a relaxed and fun atmosphere before returning to that reward of tea and cake!
With Annie’s ambition of inspiring more women to ride mountain bikes realised, she now jets off to South Africa where she will ride in the purple colour of the Milka – Brentjens MTB Racing Team for the first time this season, at the opening round of the UCI World Cup to chase her other dream – Olympic qualification – with additional skills classes to be held later in the year – something Annie is already looking forward to.
“Even though I have a busy racing schedule in 2012 with the World Cups, World Championships – and hopefully the Olympic Games – I am looking forward to hosting some more of these days in the future It was a great day out at Lee Quarry and reminded me of when I started out mountain biking myself!”