Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Women Involved Series: Veronika Voracek

I live in Squamish, BC and have been riding for 8 years.

I started out in the Whistler Bike Park on an old Downhill bike which I loved more than anything. In my second and third season riding I dabbled in racing but didn’t have the time or the funds to commit to very many. Since those first two seasons, I have raced BC Cup DH circuits, Crankworx, Cascadia Dirt Cups, Local Toonie races, BC Enduro series and many races in between.

I have my PMBI Level 1 coaching and volunteer with the Trek Series and with a local Squamish women’s riding group as much as I can. I love seeing riders progress and spreading my love of riding with others!

Riding has taken me to so many amazing places and allowed me to meet some of my closest friends; I cannot wait for the next adventure!
I also part of a team of amazing women, follow our team blog at Team Danger Pony

You are a PMBI Level 1 coach- what inspired you to get involved with coaching?
I had a number of friends approach me to help them learn to mountain bike and I took them out and tried to convey what I knew. That really inspired me to teach others and share my love of the sport. After taking my Level 1, I gained a much clearer way of communicating what I knew to others and also found out I had taught a few skills very incorrectly. Oops.

Do you see yourself getting more education to advance in level?
Yes! The Level 1 course taught me so much about my own riding that I didn’t know. You learn so much and how to break everything down and teach it so easily, it’s so fun. I can’t wait to do my Level 2. I hope to do it this summer if my schedule allows.

What is beneficial about receiving coaching education?
Again, I learned so many little things about riding that I didn’t know that I apply on every ride; little details that make all the difference. It opens up many opportunities for helping out with camps and coaching within the community which is a great way to give back.

You volunteered with Trek Dirt Series and a local riding group- why do you enjoy volunteering?
I enjoy sharing my love of the sport with anyone looking into starting riding. When I was volunteering with the Dirt Series, it was always in an all-female environment which is not that common for many of the participants. I think there is a really great, low-pressure vibe in those groups that many women thrive on. I really love being there when someone tries something new for the first time or overcomes a fear. It’s so rewarding.

Why is volunteering something that other women should consider?
Definitely! Whether it be coaching and clinics, or trail building or helping out at local races and events. It’s a wonderful way to meet people and become involved with your local riding group. It also gives a great understanding of what goes on behind the scenes. Trails don’t build or maintain themselves and races would not be able to happen without the power of volunteers. Mountain bike advocacy groups make the (mountain biking) world go around! 

You are part of Team Danger Pony- tell us how you got involved with the team!
Team Danger Pony kind of just happened. A group of us started traveling to events and planning weekends and trips riding together and one lovely member took initiative and created a team. It’s not necessarily about racing so much as just having a group of ladies looking to inspire others with our adventures in biking. 

What has been the best part of being involved with a team?
It’s been really nice to have the support of friends that I have a lot in common with. We all struggle to balance work and riding and life. We do what we can to motivate each other to train and ride and explore as much as possible. 

Any suggestions for women who are starting out and looking to join a team and/or get involved with competing?
Look around in your area for any riding or racing organizations and don’t be afraid to reach out. Go to some local races and check out what’s available. If there is nothing in your area, find some likeminded riders that share your goals and get together to push and inspire each other.

What do you feel deters women from getting involved with cycling? Especially mountain biking?
I think there are some misconceptions about what mountain biking is all about. Many people consider it to be “extreme” and dangerous. I believe it’s only as extreme as you make it. It’s not about going out there and hucking yourself down crazy terrain as fast as you can. It’s about spending quality time with friends in the outdoors, exploring new places, making lasting memories, being healthy, and pure fun.  

What do you feel could happen to make changes and/or encourage more women to ride?
As women riders, we can make those changes. Here in Squamish, we have a wonderful local rider that put together an all-women’s riding group years ago. There are multiple rides each month that are accessible to all levels of riders and prove to be a great way to meet new riders and try out new trails. I’ve also participated in a few all-women’s enduro events that have been a blast. There more exposure things like this get, the more women rider participation we will see.

What inspires you to encourage women to ride?
I’m inspired by the pure joy of riding and want to share that with everyone. To be a female in a male-dominant sport is not always easy but it earns you a certain level of respect and solidifies the sense of community in mountain biking that cannot be rivaled. It’s like a not-so-secret society that I feel every women that wants, should be allowed to join. 

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