Tell us a little about yourself? Who are you? Where are you from? How did you get into mountain biking?
My name is Meagan Broughton (just call me Meg) and I grew up in Markham, Ontario, Canada, home of the now famous Joyride 150 indoor bike park. If you haven’t checked it out yet, get on it! My “mountain biking” adventures started as a kid, riding a mountain bike around the neighbourhood, off curbs and through every puddle I could find. So, no, not really mountain biking at all. As a teenager, my interest for adventure sport grew strong, although I had no real influence, mentor or teacher, stunting my progression until my 20’s. Similar to many women I know – for better or for worse – my underdeveloped mountain biking skills were put to the test when I started dating one of Canada’s top cross country racers at the time. I have a foot long scar on my left thigh as a token of my love – for the sport that is. Today, my free time is spent coaching, getting coached (there is so much to learn!), and exploring the world by bike.
What’s up with Sacred Rides? Who’s behind it and what do they offer?
Sacred Rides is ranked as the “#1 Mountain Bike Tour Company on Earth” by National Geographic Adventure Magazine, as well as the “Best Mountain Bike Outfitter” by Outside Magazine.
Founded by Mike Brcic in 1996, Mike kicked off his first year of business leading a whopping 1 trip. Yes, one. Fast forward to today, Sacred Rides offers trips in – and not limited to – Patagonia, Peru, Slovenia, Croatia, Switzerland, Italy, Utah, California, British Columbia and Newfoundland. Trips like the Downhill Inca Adventure, covering an 11,500-vertical-foot descent from the Andes all the way to the Pacific Ocean, has the most experienced riders raving.
As the Business Development Director, my role is to grow the Women’s line of trips and skills clinics as well as the Explorer line of trips for those just getting into the sport. Through our Women’s Mountain Bike Trips and Skills Camps we are striving to create, build and foster a community of women dedicated to learning, progressing and conquering new skills in wild and wonderful places around the world.
I am pretty pumped to be part of the team!
Of all the different types of biking out there, why does downhill appeal to you?
Because there is so much to learn! I started riding downhill two years ago, and since then my XC riding skills have really stepped up – or down should I say? I can now bomb – or at least roll – down technical steeps that I was once too scared to ride. Downhilling is 100% adrenaline fun. You can’t not like it.
How long have you had the idea of running a Women’s Downhill Camp? What were the events leading up to it finally coming together this summer?
Ever since I took my first Intro to Downhill Lesson with Blue Mountain, I thought it would be so cool if there was some sort of a club or night that women could come out in a supportive environment to learn. As an Oakley Ambassador, I lead active events throughout the year for women in my community. I approached Blue Mountain last summer to see if they would be open to co-hosting a free Intro to DH night for women only in conjunction with Oakley, and they were all for it. It booked up within hours, every participant went home absolutely glowing and still reminisce about it to this day.
This spring, Luc Belanger (Snow School and Summer Programming Manager at Blue Mountain) got our wheels spinning and came up with the inaugural Blue Mountain Women’s Intro to Downhill Clinics. Along with coordinating the sponsorship with Oakley and Sacred Rides, I will also be one of the instructing guides for the clinics. With 15 years of coaching and instructing under my jersey – cycling and snowboarding specifically – it comes naturally and genuinely. I am absolutely delighted to be able to give back to the sport and the industry.
Why do you think there’s a need for a Women’s Specific Downhill Camp in Ontario?
Because there isn’t one! Blue Mountain is doing a fantastic job at making the sport accessible with lift access and operating hours from 10am to 8pm throughout the summer, and for every skill level including green runs to park runs, and everything in between. Marketing materials of all dudes going huge, beefy bikes and armour suited for a warrior is what repels female interest. We are hoping these clinics will break down the barrier and shed some new light – and brighter colours – on the sport of downhilling.
What type of girl will these clinics cater to? What can the girls expect to learn?
These clinics will be suitable for women 18+ years old, who are adventurous at heart with some established bike skills, such as balance while sitting and standing, shifting gears, braking to maintain control and riding a straight line. These clinics will appeal to road cyclists as well as cross country riders. We’ll cover all the skills needed such as position and balance, shifting and braking, line selection, direction control and cornering, pressure control as well as timing and coordination. Even small airs and drops will be in the lesson plan for the final day!
Give us the number 1 reason why girls should register for one of these camps?
You should know the answer to this one Marc, because Riding Feels Good!
Anything else to add?
Growing the sport of cycling in any capacity, will only benefit the industry as a whole. Aspiring athletes, sponsors, coaches and related companies, resorts and the health of our entire community will prosper. Please share the details of the Blue Mountain Women’s Intro to Downhill Clinics with your wife, girlfriend, sister, mom, aunt and friends, and make room for some pink on your next lift up!
If you would like to join Meg, you can sign up here. You won’t be disappointed.