The first woman to participate in Crankworx’s Speed and Style event
In August 2015 Trish Bromley became the first, and only, female rider to participate in the Crankworx Speed and Style event. The freerider and coach, and former equestrian rider, is inspiring other women to get on bikes and to get those bikes jumping off the ground. She has spent the past few winters working and riding at indoor bike parks, such as Joyride 150 in Markham, Ont., and Ray’s Indoor Bike Park in Cleveland. In the summer, Trish’s search for opportunities to play and, ultimately, a place in the world of slopestyle, bring her to Whistler, B.C.
How did you start riding? I started with training wheels in the driveway when I was six. Then biking became a method of transport to the horse stable. I always thought of it as transport, rather than the thing I was doing, until 2009. I was 19. I took a year off college and went out to Whistler. I saw all these people bombing down the hill and I said, “I want to do that.” I signed up for a women’s night, which included a lesson, all the gear and a beer after. It was terrifying. It took me two hours to get down the easiest trail at Whistler, but I was hooked. I spent the next week looking up bikes online and had one a week later. What was it about the two-hour journey down Whistler that hooked you? It was the most exciting thing I had ever done, even just getting on the chairlift and having my feet dangle. I was so exposed and vulnerable, but at the same time, I felt so invincible in all the gear. With all the other women who were in the same position, it was so fun: we laughed the whole way down the hill. That safe, progressive, welcoming environment is definitely the way to get into it. This past year you were the first female to participate in the Crankworx’s Speed and Style event. How did you get there? I volunteered in 2009 and 2010 for Crankworx. That turned into jobs with Crankworx and similar events, such as Rampage and the Bearclaw Invitational. This past year, I knew more about the invitation process and was given the opportunity to attend qualifying. I still worked as I knew I wanted to ride as well as work the event. Also, I’ve raced in other events, like pump track, most years while still working. But this year’s experience really pushed my comfort zone.
Do you think next year there will be more women in that event? Will there be a female category? There are so many women out there riding with more speed and more grace than I am. It would be great to see them competing in these gravity disciplines to show other women it is possible. There is a split in the current ability, but having competed alongside guys in the equestrian ring and now in cycling, I like the idea of a single category format on the same course. In any case, the goal is to get more girls riding and more girls competing.
Do you see yourself as opening doors to women who want to be gravity athletes? It is really cool because a lot of other girls are coming forward and asking me about my experience. Momentum is building; other girls are pushing the limits. One girl I follow on Instagram has a foam pit in her barn. There are young girls at places like Joyride who are there all the time. The number of hours they are practising is huge.
When you are coaching and have someone who can’t get off the ground on a jump, what do you do? If they have been trying a bunch, we will go back to the pump track or an easier trail to work more on the pumping motion in an environment where they feel safe. Learning to pump and absorb, we can exaggerate that motion, and then head back to slightly bigger jumps.