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Updated: Jun 8, 2018

The momentum of women's mountain biking in our region, and the ladies behind it all. - by Cassie Meitner

Photo Credit: ALM Photography

The mountain biking scene has changed a bit since I took my first ride five years ago. Not only with trail development, but with the riders I see out on the trails. The opportunities to grow as a rider have grown substantially, especially for women. In the last three years alone, Knox county has gained 3 ambassadors of the sport, Missy Petty (Bell Joy Ride Ambassador), Julie Ferrara (Liv Ambassador) and Lisa Mueller (Trek Advocate). These ladies, with the help of the community of women who were already riding, have hosted countless events that not only introduce new women to the sport, but foster skills progression and endurance challenges for those who want to try new trail (or push themselves on familiar ones) in a supportive environment.

Through helping with these events, I’ve seen women go from “this is my first ride” to now leading and sweeping the vary same groups they started in. We are lucky enough to have a variety of trail types in the area, and these rides take advantage of them all. From Loops at Loyston to Progression Sessions at Haw Ridge Park, these “Women only” events have brought riders in from areas as far as Chattanooga, Nashville and Morristown. In addition to riding the trails, they have also become involved in building them too! There’s something to be said about seeing the ladies on the trail, loping, digging, sweating, and smiling alongside all the guys. The comradery and growth of this community is humbling, and something that I am proud of being part of. I am excited to see what the next few years will bring in terms of riding and trail building opportunities. If you are curious about what these rides are like or are looking to meet some folks to ride or build trail with, here are some links to upcoming events.

Missy Petty- Bell Joy Rides- Mountain Bike focus, all skill levels welcome. Bell Joy Ride- Knoxville, TN (events in June, July, August, October and November.

Julie Ferrara - Liv Ambassador- Mountain bike and beginner/new rider focus (all skill levels welcome)- Liv Together Lady Shredders.

Lisa Mueller - Trek Advocate - Mountain bike focus, beginner to intermediate focus (all skill levels welcome). Hosts Tuesday night weekly rides through the summer in addition to rides on greenway, co-ed casual rides and themed rides.

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