Finding Kindred Spirits at the All Womens Sports Camp

Group shot on Sawtooth Ridge trail

Fun times on the Sawtooth Ridge trail

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the first All Women’s Sports Camp held at Northstar-at-Tahoe, thanks to a friend who couldn’t make it. It was a two day camp that catered to women of all athletic abilities, with a focus on running, biking, swimming and mountain biking. It was a perfect fit for the tri crowd, and as I have a pal doing the Iron Girl in South Lake Tahoe next month, I was able to convince her to join me.

Learning Movement prep with Darcy Norman

Movement prep session outdoors

Besides the fact that there were opportunities to do a number of activities that I don’t do, but am intrigued by (see: yoga, SUP), it was the two mountain bike rides that really drew me. While I’ve been mountain biking for a number of years now, I’ve never really had proper instruction, so the fact that Marla Streb would be there as an instructor was huge. Turns out I don’t suck as badly as I thought, though there are a number of things I need to think about, including but not limited to my tendency to have a death grip on my handlebars.

Marla was a lot of fun, with an offbeat humor that I’m not sure everyone totally appreciated. Even dealing with the elevation, it was clear she could still easily kick everyone’s butt on the trail, including those belonging to the great guides at Tahoe Mountain Guides that shuttled bikes & bodies to the trailhead both days. We were able to practice our new-found skills on a short 6 mile section of the TRT near Brockway Summit, one with some technical parts, and a fair bit of dust. No doubt our long train of 20 riders frustrated some of the hikers who were unwittingly in our downhill path.

Marla Streb talking technique

Marla Streb talking technique

Other fun stuff included an actual lesson on a stand up paddleboard (with two women who compete in SUP races), which was very helpful given my last experience. Turns out I can stand up, and with some technique I can paddle. Admittedly my turning-around-a-buoy skills still need much work, as I clearly illustrated during the ‘fun’ SUP relay race we were all in. Luckily I didn’t totally screw it up for my team, as we ended up winning!

bike maintenance with Cycle Paths

Learning basic bike maintenance

The event itself was a full one, with a two-track agenda that went from 6.30 am – 4 pm both days, and allowed all attendees to attend both activity specific sessions and more general health & wellness ones like yoga and sports psychology. Despite all the moving parts, the event was very well organized, and props must be given to Inger and her team to keeping everything moving so smoothly and fostering such a positive atmosphere. MTV reality show vibe this was not.

But more than that, it was very cool to meet so many other women who are athletic and enjoy playing hard. Many came from outside the area, but there were more than a few from the Reno-Tahoe area, and I’m looking forward to meeting up with them again soon.

And I’m already planning for next year’s event. After all, my running skills need a lot of work.

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