A time to dig, ride and connect
Thirty women from around the state met below the Raging River trailhead above North Bend, some in their 20’s, others in their 50’s, new riders, racers, and freeride shredders, all movers and shakers in their part of the mountain bike community, invited to join forces for a day of trail work, party laps and fun in the rain to dig, ride and connect to build the women’s mountain bike community.
"The strongest storm in NW history" was scheduled to hit the PNW coast over the weekend. An extreme low pressure off the coast generating 60 miles per hour winds and inches of rain was looming. It was a grim forecast. But even that couldn't deter a hardy group of women from getting out with bikes and shovels to get dirty and connected on a cool, wet day in late October for the Evergreen Whole Shebang.
Basecamp for the event sat at 3200' on a west-facing ridge of Rattlesnake Mountain. Our venue was a quarry, just blasted out of the granite, to provide fresh gravel for the roads on the mountain we would soon ride. We were high above North Bend, Washington, a burgeoning MTB mountain town surrounded by ancestral lands of the indigenous Snoqualmie people. Smack dab in the middle of the Raging River trail system built by the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance in partnership with the Washington Department of Natural Resources. It was a prime location...if the weather held off.
Patrick Walker, Evergreen Marketing Manager and event co-director, lays out the plan for the day during the early morning meetup.
The stoke was high with Brooklyn Bell in the parking lot, and the colors were popping!
Stoke and color were everywhere!
An early start brought the ladies together in a wet parking lot under grey skies. The color of the late fall leaves, combined with bright gore-tex and ultra-breathable fabrics of all shades made to lighten the mood. The stoke and anticipation were high as everyone loaded bikes and gear into the shuttle for the six-mile trip up the mountain to their basecamp for the day.
SRAM was already on top with treats and a spare heated changing room tent for the ladies as they arrived
The group gathers around under a well-appointed and heated Red Bull tent with rugs and firepits provided by REI. Kristen McCune, Education and DEI lead for Evergreen, welcomes everyone to the Whole Shebang.
The ever-smiling Katie Holden chats with Evergreen's Tara Moser during the morning ice breaker. Katie's Red Bull Formation event was Evergreen's inspiration for bringing all these rad gals together.
Evergreen Trail builders Ryan Kitchen, Jay Gore, Jack Faille, Brian Tustison (hidden), and Remy Aucoin are preparing to lead the work party with the new tools donated by SRAM for the event. Every participant went home with their own shovel as part of the swag for the day!
The crew makes their way to the top of the Canyon Creek Downhill (CCDH) trail, where trail builder Brian Tustison (green hat) provides a safety talk. The arguably "spicy blue" CCDH, built by the Sturdy Bitches racing crew and many lady volunteers in 2019, got hammered by over 250 female riders just two weeks prior as a segment for the Sturdy B's annual women's only Sturdy Dirty Enduro.
Evergreen's Executive Director, Yvonne Kraus (top left), helped make light work of hauling rocks with Anya Miller. Participant Xuan Mai Vo (aka "X"), a sawyer, veterinarian, and local trail gnome, keeps the materials moving down the line while trail dogs supervise the progress.
The teams broke into two groups and spent three hours each on sections one and three, rebuilding the tread, improving drainage, and realigning a turn called "Groot" to improve the sustainability and rideability of this very popular "spicy blue" trail. For many, it was their first experience in the art and challenge of trail maintenance.
The skies opened back up, and the rain began to fall as the ladies made their way back to the cover of basecamp for lunch.
The Whole Shebang, bringing food trucks where none have gone before!
Everyone gathered back in the tents, warming bellies and toes before the afternoon ride.
As if planned, the rain fell during lunch while all were tucked undercover. The fires, and stoke, were turned back up to 11 for the hot lunch and break between trail work and riding.
Work clothes became riding clothes, and beanies exchanged for helmets...and the rain stopped. It's time to ride!
OMG! We match! Tara Moser (L) of Evergreen and Ady Bee Lane, co-founder of Sturdy B Racing and the Sturdy Dirty Enduro, are often on the same wavelength.
Lunch finished, toes and fingers warmed, outfits swapped, time to go! Our sanctuary for the day was only pedal strokes from the top of CCDH, where the whole gal squad made multiple party laps over their fresh work from the morning. Giggles, grins and mud freckles ensued.
Rolling into CCDH for the first lap...note the clean backsides.
Rider "X" dropping into her happy place!
Sturdy B's co-founder Jessica Hatch is getting after one of the less greasy turns from the day.
Evergreen Trails Director Mike Westra loads bikes on the Huckwagon for another lap, as Kat Sweet of Sweetlines Jr. Racing shares photos of the lap with Yvonne Kraus.
Van riders donned masks over their mud-speckled grins for a trip back to the top in the Compass Outdoors Adventures shuttle for another lap.
Another load, more smiles, and another lap!
As the final shuttle returned to our oasis in the storm, the rain began to fall again. The stoke and fun evolved into stories of the ride, with near misses on slippery roots and the novelty of a party train of 30 women shredding a trail made for them and maintained by them!
Cold brews from Icicle Brewing company and an afternoon snack from SRAM fuelled a fun "dirty" photo session with Cassie Bergman. The crew topped off the Whole Shebang with thanks to Evergreen, Red Bull, Krystin Norman and Brooklyn Bell for helping bring this amazing group of ladies together.
Erika Kutz (L) shares stories of her near misses with some extra spicy blue on the day's ride with Event Co-Director Emily Thompson.
The dirty photo shoot was a hoot!
As is usually the case during a great gathering, the announcement of "you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here" indicated it was time to go. Some loaded back in the vans while others took a final lap (dressed for it or not) all the way down for a near dark ripping return to the lot from where they came eight hours ago!
The Evergreen crew (L to R) Mike Westra, Bobby Stewart, Yvonne Kraus, Kristen McCune, Tara Moser, and Patrick Walker. Team Dogs - Ranger (Center), Olive (R), Oscar (Back)
Krystin Norman (L), Brooklyn Bell, diggers for Hannah Bergemann at the Red Bull Formation event, and collaborators on the development of the Whole Shebang celebrate a great day with Emily Thompson of Red Bull.
Coaches, builders, influencers, conspirators, volunteers, race developers, instructors, beginners, ambassadors, stoke builders, illustrators, storytellers, shop owners, mechanics, WOC, mentors, mothers, sisters and daughters come together to dig, ride and connect!
The Whole Shebang intended to provide an immersive experience into the mountain bike world, providing context to the value of trails and insight into efforts made by the people who provide them, the importance of access for all, and the value of bringing a group of people together around a shared passion connecting them with each other and the natural world surrounding them.
There was a shared sense of accomplishment, challenges taken on and overcome, and a stronger sense of community when all was said and done. The riders left with a heart full of inspiration and a shovel to get the work done!
As a first-time event, the results were beyond expectations. Evergreen is eager to bring The Whole Shebang to other chapters in the state and open the experience to different groups of riders. As part of Evergreen's DEI initiatives to make riding more inclusive across Washington, they hope to engage BIPOC, youth, disabled, LGBTQ, and many other groups through this event in the future.
Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance is a 501c3 organization whose mission is to create, maintain, and protect sustainable mountain biking opportunities in Washington. With over 9,000 members in 8 chapters across the state, Evergreen is the largest statewide mountain bike advocacy and trail building organization in the United States. To learn more about Evergreen, visit www.evergreenmtb.org.