I’ll start in the middle. It’s day two, Roamfest 2019. There are at least ten different group rides heading out of a small entrance in front of Agave Resort at once.
It’s a beautiful and chaotic thing.
There’s excitement. Who’s doing what? Novice, chill intermediate, intermediate or advanced? Did I pick the right ride? 15 minutes later, the crowd is gone. I had approached several groups and ride leaders in the hectic frenzy and now it’s obvious I’ve missed the group ride. In one last attempt, I approach the expeditor and she agrees.
I had a choice and I opted to show the grace that every one the day before had shown me. Grace resulted in a big hug and a send-off to have a good non-hosted ride.
And it was.
Hailing from Seattle, a retired roadie with intermediate skills on hero dirt and flow, I was excited, anxious, and praying that my “You can do it too” mindset was going to become real at Roamfest 2019 in Sedona. Sedona mountain bike riding is all about drops and rocks and mountain bike handling skills are required. It’s poky and rocky too.
Day one Roamfest
I was greeted at registration with a hug. It’s their thing and nothing like a welcoming hug to make you feel like part of the community. In 2015, Ash Bocast cocreated a womens mountain bike festival because she wanted to create an event that stood for something; community. And, you can’t help but feel the vibe.
In Ash’s words she wanted, “An event where you don’t peace out at 4p when the riding is over, but hang out to break bread” (And drink beer, lots of it). Sponsor tents were full of swag and plenty of products to demo.
I’m a backup plan sorta gal, so rented a Pivot from Absolute Bicycles across the street from Agave Resort. The guys at Absolute Bicycles were super accommodating with quick service and offering to store the bike overnight to save me hauling to my Airbnb and back. Washing it too!
Demos at Roamfest 2019
But with close to 200 bikes to demo at Roam I could have skipped the rental. I did manage to fit in a demo with three different manufacturers and virtually no wait for the bike I wanted to try. Shoes too.
I don’t recommend clipless here, which I packed. Thanks Liv for the game changing shoes Sue Rawley let me borrow. I was glad I had brought G Forms I hadn’t worn before. Super comfy and stayed in place and everyone was wearing them.
Heading back to Seattle, I’m planning my next adventure, and excited to hear what roam has in store for 2020. I’m crazy sore and also feel accomplished. I’ve got matching bruises on each hip, scrapes everywhere, and a little leftover cactus spines in my side. But I got what I came for. The vibe, trying all gear, the most encouraging ride hosts on the planet and new friends.
For my 55th birthday present to myself. I got a bit rad and I sent it.
With the right mindset, you can do it too.…