Shine Women’s Riding Camp
Lindsay Beth Currier
Lindsay Beth Currier is a full time mom and professional badass. Her program, Shine, helps inspire female riders to push their limits and progress on two wheels, whether that means tackling a brutal XC loop, or Lindsay’s personal favorite, a gnarly run in the bike park. After an accident that would leave most hanging the bike up for good, Lindsay was doubly motivated to help other riders overcome their fears and improve their skills. We sat down with Lindsay to hear her story and find out how she’s helping to create more She Wolves.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I got into cycling when I was really young. My dad was a roadie and raced criteriums. My first mountain bike was a blue Puegot my dad found at the dump and fixed up. I loved using it to explore around my parent’s property in rural Connecticut (yes I am a Yankee). This was back when they let kids roam wild and free, and before cell phones.
At 16 I got a job at our local bike shop. I got to ride some really nice mountain bikes (nice for 17 years ago) and learn more of the regional trails from my co-workers. At 19 the shop sent me to the infamous Interbike. I got my ass schooled riding Bootleg Canyon and my world completely flipped around thanks to the footage the guys on the Drop In bus showed me from their recent journeys through the US and Canada. I also met Katrina Strand and Claire Buchar at the expo and saw what they were doing, the riding, not the signing of Marzocchi posters dressed up as rockstars. I’m bummed I lost my poster now that I think about it. Anyways, the wheels in my teenage mind started turning…I got home packed up everything and moved out to California.
Since then I’ve enjoyed riding the local trails of Santa Cruz and Truckee and lots in between. I faced the challenges of Bootleg Canyon by returning to race the winter downhill series and completed my goal of riding the red dirt of Virgin, Utah I first saw on the Drop In videos. There were lots of good times and of course there were tons of bad times.
I’d say my favorite place to ride right now is my backyard – the Rock Creek trails on our side of the El Dorado National Forest. There’s not too many trails built specifically for mountain biking, but there are tons of steep, loose and technical moto trails to test your skills. I like the kind of riding that takes 100% of your concentration. Riding challenging trails forces me to practice being mindful and stay in the present. I can’t think about how I’m going to pay the bills, the insanity of being a new mom, where the F my dog is, what is wrong with my car THIS time, why a baboon is in the white house… It’s like going out to party so you can escape your personal inner chaos, but without the hangover, expensive bar tab or pissed off friends.
For people that haven’t heard of your program, what exactly is the mission of Shine and how do you help women improve their riding?
You know something about Shine? That makes me feel pretty special. I created Shine after I broke my back (one of the bad times) and got sidelined from the fun of mountain biking. There’s something about life altering incidents that makes you want to give back. You just feel grateful to not be worse off than you are and you just want to help everyone else… shine. I wanted to find a way to inspire more ladies to get into gravity mountain biking by highlighting the ladies already doing it and providing a few freeride contests.
To be completely honest, Shine has been on super chill mode lately. I broke the website AGAIN and don’t currently have a way to fix it. I spend about 5% of the time I used to on Facebook so even that side of things has become pretty stagnant. BUT the ladies that made the organization great are still out doing their thing and there are still lots of women out racing and sending it who tell me they were inspired by our blog posts and events or learned a lot through a clinic. The spirit of Shine still lives on and as I get more settled into the new mom thing and make more money coaching clinics again, it will only be a matter of time before we have the technology side of things worked out again and are back to being super organized. In the meantime I’m back out on the circuit coaching and meeting more riders. I coach everybody, not just women and not just downhillers and freeriders. I feel it is important to grow the sport in all directions and to be honest coaching kids and beginners is sometimes the most satisfying because they are like blank canvases and don’t have egos or a laundry list of bad habits to curb.
What’s your teaching style when it comes to coaching riders?
My teaching style is pretty humble. I’m not out there to show off or push someone to do something that is above his or her skill level. I’m also not the type of coach that does a demo and then says, “I just do it” when a rider asks how to jump, drop, etc. For newer riders and for my weekend camps I start with the basics and help riders build a solid foundation of skills to build up from. For riders who have had some basic training or for any that I’ve worked with before, I typically focus on areas that need improvement or what the rider wants to work on specifically. I still sneak in an assessment in the beginning to get a picture of what is going on with their body position and basic skills. Many riders have pre-existing injuries, tight muscles and/or mobility limitations. These factors can cause them to carry their bodies and handle their bikes in a way differently than they perceive in their minds. I demonstrate and use phrases to help them achieve the epiphany moments of mountain biking, where body, mind and soul all work together.
Why do you think it is so important to help women riders and how can the industry encourage more female shredders?
The industry has recently evolved and many companies are doing a great job of supporting female athletes by providing product and services tailored for women. While I’m not a believer in women’s specific bicycles (I believe in buying a frame that fits and components that create the right setup no matter your gender), I do believe women’s specific (and smaller sized) apparel and protective gear is important and it is so nice to have so much to choose from. I wear Dakine women’s specific clothing but my Kali Protectives helmets are unisex and I fit my XS super well.
What is the most common thing you help female riders to improve upon?
How to use their feet! Lots of riders, both female and male, don’t have a clue what to do with their feet. These are usually the newbs or the veterans who have primarily ridden clipped in. I teach them how to use their feet to keep on their pedals while in the air or riding rough terrain along with foot techniques for better braking and cornering. The outcome is always amazing!
How do you inspire your students to push themselves as riders?
I’m honest with my students about what I’ve been through as a rider. After hearing about my story and that I am still riding and doing what I do, it takes power away from their excuse(s) to not succeed. We still need to make good choices and ride at our own levels, but no one should be held back from past injuries, having a kid or fear. If someone is clearly not ready for something I don’t push him or her, but if I see they have the skillset and mind frame to get it done, I do what it takes to pump up their confidence to try it. Sometimes that means demoing a feature over and over again. Other times it means taking them back a few steps and building back up to the trouble feature. Yet another technique I use is taking them to look at something way more gnarly and then back to what they were originally afraid of and say, “Now that looks easy right?”
Any tips for women just getting into riding?
Don’t let your boyfriend teach you. I’m lucky this wasn’t my story, but I hear it all the time. “My boyfriend tried to teach me how to mountain bike and now I hate him and/or I broke my bike or myself.” Some people can learn from a significant other and some people are just naturally gifted at everything and just take to mountain biking like a fly to day old wine and that happy romantic dream of becoming a mountain biking couple magically comes true.
To be less sexist, be weary of mountain biking with someone who tells you, “I just do it” or, “don’t use your brakes” or, “just get your weight back” or, “just go fast.” These people might be able to ride the hardest trail and hit the biggest drop and win all the races, but they don’t know how to teach you and they might actually not know what they are doing. Think blind leading the blind.
Get yourself a good seeing-eye wolf to show you the way. In fact get yourself a whole pack of seeing-eye wolves because more teachers equals better education. How many professors did you have in college? Each teacher will have specialties and different teaching styles. It’s like everything else. If you want to get good at it, be a sponge and dip into all the buckets.
Can you run through a day in your camp? What’s the schedule look like? What can people expect to do and ride?
The camp at Sunday River features three full days, (Fri-Sun August 4-6) of lift-accessed riding in the bike park with natural and man made features. Each day we meet for an hour before the lift starts to check over bikes and equipment and assess where everyone is at physically and mentally. Depending on the assessment we will work on a range of basic foundation skills before heading up on the lift. The first day we will definitely be doing a lot of basic skills. From there we load up on the lift and head out on the hill to practice what we learned in the morning and build off of that. After we break for lunch we head back out for some full runs on the trails we worked on. If there’s still time to explore a few more advanced trails, we’ll hike-a-bike the hard stuff and scope out what students want to work on. After our last run we meet for an hour aprés session where students can share what they learned and ask me questions. Each day we work on more advanced skills: steeper, rawer terrain, bigger features and higher speeds. By the end of the weekend you should be feeling like Wonder Woman.
Where can people sign up or learn more?
The simplest way to sign up is by visiting: https://www.bikereg.com/35349
You can also send me an email through the registration page with any questions before you sign up. If you’d like to chat over the phone, Google hangouts or Facebook Messenger we can set that up too. If you are hoping to sign up with lodging included however, you’d better hurry up as there may be a ton of weddings and other events going on that weekend, and rooms could be totally booked! If you are just interested in the clinic you have until August 2nd to sign up