MTB de Femme is back at Falls Creek in 2024 after shifting the event to Mount Beauty in 2023, due to the landslide on Bogong High Plains Road. The women’s only mountain bike festival has a packed weekend of events and skills sessions scheduled for March 22-24.
Event Director Jo Prothero is the former Director of Marketing at Falls Creek and was around when the Resort first started to design a mountain bike trail network.
“I was there from 2012 just as we started to develop the mountain bike trails, and I went through that journey of ‘I’m going to fall and hurt myself. I’m not good enough. I’m going to look stupid.’ she says.
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MTB de Femme originated as a social pedal in 2016 to get more women riding at Falls Creek, and help them leap these hurdles. Over the years, it has evolved into a full-on weekend festival.
“I still have that passion for getting women over that initial fear of ‘I can’t do it.’” says Prothero.
“It’s about women encouraging each other. You see people make friends, and then they will go out and ride with each other after the event. It’s nice, and you get quite a buzz out of that,” she says.
What can you expect at MTB de Femme?
Kicking off on Friday afternoon is a social cruisey ride around lunchtime for folks who want to get up to the resort early, before registration, and a meet and greet at the Falls Creek museum.
Then it’s into a Big Bike Film Night screening comprising half a dozen short films about riding bikes.
“There’s an eclectic mix of riding experiences and stories within it,” says Prothero. “It highlights quite a few inspirational people and their stories.”
The following day kicks off with skills clinics run by Fastline Bike Academy. Prothero tells us that Flow’s own World Cup DH correspondent, Lia Ladbrook, will be one of the coaches running clinics.
“They deliver the skills sessions on the Saturday morning, and then in the afternoon, that same skills the coach joins on with the guided group ride. We drop a local guide with them, and they can go apply some of the things they’ve learned that day and explore the trail network,” says Prothero.
Ride Fainters with your mates
During this time slot the festival also offers the option for a guided ride on the Fainters Track.
“This is the first time we are offering the Fainters Track backcountry ride, which was based on feedback from previous participants,” she says.
“There will be a guide, but you’ll need to be an advanced rider, and you’ll need to be self-sufficient,” Prothero says of the 50km backcountry route from Falls Creek to Mount Beauty.
Hopefully, you studied up at the meet and greet in the Falls Creek Museum because after the guided rides finish and the shuttles are parked for the evening, the trivia night will cover mountain biking and Falls Creek history. There will also be giveaways from some of the event partners like Krush.
Finish the weekend off with pilates and pump tracks
Sunday morning kicks off with a Pilates session run by Mount Beauty-based Wildflower Pilates riders will have the option for a pump track and jumping skills session or a guided ride to one of the many historical alpine huts in the area.
“It was really interesting last year when we did a jump session; before the weekend, many people said they didn’t want to do it, but then during the day on Saturday, they were like, oh, can I switch to do the jump sessions? The confidence they’d built over the weekend made them want to learn what is a really useful bit of technique — which is what it’s all about,” says Prothero.
With all of the natural disasters that have befallen the Victorian High Country over the past couple of years, Prothero tells us that lunch on Sunday will be a BBQ to raise money for the local SES.
The final afternoon of riding, the festival will once again turn its attention to the pump track, where they’ll be hosting Pump Track Festivities including some good old-fashioned racing for those who are keen.
How do you sign up for MTB de Femme?
Entries for MTB de Femme are open now, and there are ticket options for the entire weekend, just Saturday or Sunday or even just to come up for the movie screenings.
Prothero tells us they’ve also added a First Timers ticket for beginner riders who won’t quite be ready for the uplift riding that doesn’t include cost of the Blue Dirt shuttle pass.
Head to the MTB de Femme website for more info and to book your spot.
Photos: Sam Purdie / @sgpurdie