Ladies Have Their Night Out at the W.O.W. Event (Seattle, WA)

“Ladies Night” typically means that women drink free—and so drink free they did at the third annual Women on Wheels, a women-only cycling extravaganza held yesterday at Gregg’s Cycle in the Green Lake neighborhood. But that’s not all they did…

Billed as Women on Wheels: A Ladies Night Out, the free event drew over 300 of the fairer sex for an evening dedicated to women and cycling. It featured guest speakers in the industry, informational clinics, live music, refreshments (including a bar tended by Gregg’s employees) and—perhaps embracing the gender stereotype with a sense of irony—a cycling fashion show.

The fashion show helped kick off the event by turning the spotlight on the latest in women’s cycling clothing. The models, who clearly did not take themselves too seriously, sported apparel by Fox, Troy Lee Designs, 661, 510 shoes, among other labels.

While waiting for the speakers to take the stage, event-goers mingled throughout the store, dipping into appetizers, listening to the live band and sampling treats provided by local chocolatier, Theo Chocolate.

The first featured speaker of the evening was Kat Sweet, Youth Program Coordinator at Cascade Bicycle Club and Director for Cascade’s Trips for Kids Seattle. An Endless Biking-trained skills coach for the local Dirt Series, Sweet herself rides for the Gregg’s-sponsored Dirt Corp Team.

Sweet’s talk was on overcoming fear—an emotion likely experienced by a majority of the audience as they watched a video of Sweet launching gap jumps on advanced lines at Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park in Issaquah, Wash.

During her presentation, Sweet discussed her approach to coaching women-specific mountain bike courses and also kids’ bike camps, like the upcoming Learn to Ride bike camp at the Seattle Bike Expo (March 12 & 13). She offered tips for silencing the negative thoughts that can arise when confronting a new challenge on the trail. Her techniques include drowning out negative thoughts with positive, mind-focusing mantras and also relying on memorable visual/verbal/ergonomic concepts to gain confidence and focus. A favorite was the reminder to keep your arms in “chicken wing” position to maintain control of the front end of the bike.

The keynote speaker of the evening was Emily Edison, owner and founder of Momentum Nutrition and Fitness in Seattle, and Sports Dietitian for the University of Washington Husky Athletic Department.

The title of Edison’s presentation was “From Tricycling to Triathlons… Performance Nutrition from the Inside Out.” Her talk focused on the concept of “intuitive eating” and how it ties to sport nutrition. Arguing from the premise that “You are the expert of your own body,” Edison explained that giving yourself the unconditional freedom to eat, and tuning in to figure out what your body is truly asking for in a given moment, can provide a good foundation for health in general, and an athlete’s health in particular.

A significant portion of Edison’s talk concerned the philosophy behind eating for performance, specifically the benefit of taking an “eating from the inside out” (listen-to-your-body) approach as opposed to maintaining the “fueling” (body-as-vehicle) mentality to which athletes are sometimes prone. She also went into detail about the effect of specific foods on the body. For instance, I was surprised to learn that athletes should avoid eating nuts, which slow digestion, immediately before or after a workout. (Don’t worry; it’s okay to eat them at any other time.)

In between the educational and entertaining presentations by the featured speakers, event-goers also had the opportunity to talk with representatives from Cycle the WAVE (Women Against Violence Everywhere), Bike MS, Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, Cascade Bicycle Club, Bicycle Alliance, Team Dirt Corp and Trek Travel.

The event was a great place to catch up with long-lost friends, like my friend Jen Kniss, who I hadn’t seen in nine years:

Sturdy Bitch Racing teammates, Kathy Malvern and Katie Jackson, attended the W.O.W. Event:

Topping off the evening was a well-orchestrated raffle. Katie Jackson was one of the many big winners. Check her out on the red carpet with her Basil Bag (a prolific raffle item that night), among other prizes.

If you missed the party this time around, don’t worry; there are plans for another one next year. Of course, you don’t have to wait to get involved in the many cycling organizations and activities promoted at the event. Just keep checking the community calendars, visiting the local nonprofits’ websites for information on rides and events, and looking around the bike paths and trails for women on wheels. Because these ladies like to get out and have a good time.

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About angelarides

I have many practical skills. I have a PhD in Medieval Literature. I can solder an LED hula hoop. Oh, and I ride and write about bikes.
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