Summit local organizes weekly ‘girls night’ at Leadville Motocross Park
LEADVILLE — It’s up above 10,000 feet where a group of local High Country girls find their sunset sanctuary each Tuesday night.
It’s not a Zenned-out place of comfort in the mountains complete with monastery-like silence, though. It’s one pile of dirt after another with the endless background score of “braap, braap, braap.”
Here, just miles from the iconic Collegiate Peaks at the state’s ceiling, is where Amy Kwak of Silverthorne has organized what’s dubbed Girls Ride Toosdays. The weekly event is a motocross clinic and ride night for any and all women from near or far who want to have fun and find a community on their dirt bikes.
Described as “not your typical girls night,” the weekly event takes place at the Leadville Motocross Park, where sometimes as many as 20 women come out after work to ride until the sun sets over the state’s two highest points, Mounts Elbert and Massive.
“I think the biggest difference up here is the culture we have with the girls who show up,” said Shannatay Bergeron of Vail, who has teamed up with Kwak to grow and promote the weekly event. “It’s truly a culture of women uplifting each other up here, where down in Denver, it’s still women uplifting each other, but it is a lot more competitive. Practice can be a lot like race day. Up here, we are trying to coach each other and have fun.”
Both Kwak and Bergeron, a pair of Colorado natives, grew up down on the Front Range learning a love of dirt-bike riding from their fathers. It was always a family passion, even when Kwak’s father and motocross hero Tony became too impatient to teach a young Amy how to shift and use the clutch. That’s when mom came in, she said.
But growing up as dirt-bikers, both Kwak and Bergeron said most days out on the track were either super high intensity with other girls or dominated by boys. The track can prove an intimidating place, they both said, which led them to try to cultivate something more chill in Leadville, something even beginners to the sport could enjoy.
When they reached out to Leadville Motocross Park managers Jeff and Kim Kegu, the park’s caretakers were more than happy to help out in any way they could. That meant slicing the cost of riding admission in half for any woman each Tuesday night. It’s technically girls night, but guys are welcome to join in on the fun, too, though they don’t get the deal.
The girls night vibe is laid-back. Each Tuesday, right around 4:30 p.m., one pickup truck after another rolls up to the green gate at the moto park. While each rider unloads his or her bike and gears up, conversation commences, catching up on the past week, even if it is barely audible in between the obligatory intermittent rev of engines.
The women are joined by a pair of little dogs Bergeron said are referred to as The Black Dog Mafia at the park. There is Jackson, Kwak’s energetic and vocal dog who always stays by her mom’s side. And then there is Roost, an always-smiling fluffball who’s name was inspired by — you guessed it — dirt-bike racing. In both dirt biking and skiing culture, a “roost” — short for rooster tail — refers to the dirt or snow that flies up from behind a rider, often right into the goggles of another rider.
There’s plenty of actual roost, along with little Roost, at the moto park Tuesday nights. This past Tuesday was Summit County local Lauren Bagg’s first time out for girls night. The Breckenridge resident had seen photos on Instagram. Though she’d never ridden on a track before, previously sticking to trails like those near Tiger Road in Breckenridge, Bagg felt the girls night was the best way to improve her all-around riding skills. Growing up in Wisconsin, Bagg said, she always thought the girls she saw on dirt bikes were the “ultimate bad—–.”
Now she’s found her own group of Rocky Mountain renegades.
“The way they reach out and get you excited — it’s not like how some girls are; they make you feel like they are better than you,” she said. “Here, they were super welcoming, just doing it for fun.”
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