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By Karen Kefauver – Sentinel correspondent
February 19, 2010
Link to Sentinel article

Santa Cruz Mountain Bike FestivalThe Santa Cruz Mountain Bike Festival will be heating up here while the Winter Olympics will be winding down next weekend in Canada. Watching the world’s best athletes compete at the Games can be inspiring and motivating — even for couch potatoes. So if you get stoked seeing snowboarding, speedskating, and, of course, curling, here’s a chance to channel your energy and celebrate mountain biking at this inaugural festival Feb. 27-28.

The two-day celebration of fat tires is organized by the Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz, a club and advocacy group that hosts
weekly rides, monthly meetings and trail-work days. “I heard rumors that there is a Winter Olympics going on somewhere,” joked MBOSC President Mark Davidson, a Canadian native and Scotts Valley resident who has been busy organizing the festival with a corps of volunteers from the 350-member group. “Our planning committee has been so busy,” he said. “We have been working with the bike industry, local bikes shops and businesses to make this happen.” The festival’s featured event is the California premiere of the movie “Adventure Land: Women of Dirt” on Feb. 28 at the Rio Theatre. Following two nights of outdoors movies from the Banff Mountain Film Festival, the screening of “Women of Dirt” should keep the action sports theme going.

The high-energy mountain bike documentary,produced by Mark Brent of Seattle, showcases women downhill athletes including Tammy Donahugh, Stephanie Nychka, Cierra Smith, Emily Johnston, Lisa Myklak, Jill Kintner, Leana Gerrard, Dawn Cashen, Katrina Strand, Kathy Pruitt, and Darcy Turenne. While those names may not be familiar outside cycling circles, these influential women have helped shape the world of downhill racing, dirt jumping and freeriding, which are collectively known as the gravity cycling disciplines. The film documents the challenges these women riders face with courage while celebrating their accomplishments and love of bikes.

I haven’t seen the movie, and Davidson, who got a sneak peak at the film, won’t share details. But he did reveal that “it
has a happy ending in Santa Cruz.”

He noted that Brent and four of the women riders — Myklak [of Santa Cruz], Johnston, Donahugh and Pruitt [also of Santa
Cruz] will — will participate in a question and answer session at the Rio following the movie.

Full disclosure: This Spin City columnist has been invited to be the discussion moderator.

Megan Zemny, a downhill racer and active member of MBOSC is thrilled with how plans are coming together for the event. She said hopes the weather cooperates with the outdoor events, including a group ride at Soquel Demonstration Forest on Feb. 27 and a Jump Jam on Feb. 28. Zemny helped raise $12,000 worth of merchandise and solicit donations of other items for two raffles. One drawing will take place at the theater Feb. 28 with tickets at $1. The other raffle, which is $4 per ticket, for the $4,700 El Guapo bike will be announced at a drawing at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey in April.

Davidson anticipates the movie screening will fill the Rio. I imagine that who ever shows up will be inspired by the Olympics, passionate about mountain bikes and excited about a chance to win a prize, even if it’s one that’s not a gold, silver or bronze medal.

Proceeds from the film will support the Soquel Demonstration State Forest, specifically rebuilding the parking lot,
which has been closed for repairs.

Karen Kefauver, www.karenkefauver.com, is a freelance sports and travel journalist. She blogs weekly about bicycling for the Sentinel at www.santacruzlive.com/blogs/outside.

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