For the 10th straight year, Snow Summit will be the site of the popular mountain biking clinic and get-together specially for women - the Women's Only Weekend, Saturday and Sunday, July 19-20.

Starting out as a beginner's clinic for aspiring female mountain bikers, the Women's Only Weekend has grown to include intermediate and advance biking clinics, junior clinics, competitive races and challenges like the obstacle course. The latest clinic to be added is the intermediate downhill clinic, which is filling up fast.

"It has just blossomed into this wonderful event," Ann Hall, WOW organizer said. "We would usually have 30 people for each clinic, but there's so much interest in the intermediate that we've increased the number."

The event was started by professional biker Cindy Whitehead in 1994, with the help of Team Big Bear's Tom Spiegel. When Whitehead was unable to continue as event organizer on a regular basis, Hall was asked to take on the challenge. And while admitting to being intimidated at first, she's helped the event grow from 100 participants in the early years to between 250-300 the past couple of years. Last year there were around 250 participants.

"We expect more this year," Hall said. "We'll have races in both cross country and downhill and we're building an obstacle course."

One of the reasons why the event has grown is an increasing number of repeat participants. And, as the women became more experienced bikers, new clinics were added to accommodate their experience level.

"It's an awesome event," Hall said with pride. "It's different. It is a truly supportive environment. I think the camaraderie we have between the participants and instructors is one of the reasons we're a success."

That success is evident by the national attention WOW has garnered. Magazines including "Shape" and "Elle" in addition to regional mountain bike magazines, have done stories on the event.

"Anyone can benefit from coming here, from beginners to aspiring pros," Hall said. "You'll hear laughter all over the mountain, women cheering each other on, congratulating each other at the finish line during the races."

The event has a limit of 300 participants but Hall is hesitant to say that they'll turn anyone away. "We'll do our best not to turn anyone away," she said.

A registration fee of $90 includes attendance at all clinics, an event T-shirt, chairlift use, lunch on Saturday and attendance at the social Saturday evening. All riders and participants must have National Off-Road Bicycle Association licenses. Those who do not have the NORBA license will be required to purchase a $5 license for each day of participation at the event.

Applications to attend the Women's Only Weekend are still available for download at teambigbear.com. On-site registration is also scheduled for Friday, July 18, from 5 to 7 p.m. and Saturday, July 19, from 6:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., provided spaces are still available. For more information, call Team Big Bear (909) 866-4565.

Contact Kathy Portie at (909) 866-3456, ext. 135 or by e-mail at kportie@bigbeargrizzly.net.

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