By Ambassador Sydney Schumacher

Fall in the Gorge is an abundant season. The leaves are changing, the orchards are in full swing, and the ground has finally received its much-needed moisture. It’s the kind of season that is so fleeting, yet so motivating because of it. The daylight is numbered, and we are back into daylight savings time.

Right before Fall, my partner and I had an unfortunate turn of events. We were out riding bikes when he fractured his tibial plateau. Not only that, but we had just overcome a femur injury from 4 months prior. It was difficult to find enthusiasm or time to ride between doctors’ visits and all of the associated drama that comes from injuries. 

However, one significant event completely shifted my outlook on riding and restored my flame for two wheels during this heavy season. That very event was Hannah Bergemann’s Hangtime 2021. This was an all-women’s freeride event on the notorious Blue Steel jumps in Bellingham, WA. I was especially anxious when I left home, knowing that I was leaving my broken partner behind and that I had little margin for error. Both of us being injured was not really an option. All of that being said, by the time I got up there I was overwhelmed by the support of the other female riders and the pure hype from strangers. Maybe I just wasn’t expecting everyone to be so excited for women’s freeride, but it was absolutely wild. Everyone from volunteers to photographers, to spectators. Every single person was so supportive, encouraging, and simply fired up. I had the rare opportunity to leave my life’s anxieties behind for the weekend and press into the stoke of everyone around me. This not only motivated me to piece together all of the jumps, but I walked away from the event incredibly inspired. 

Hangtime 2021 has set the precedent for the Fall season. It left me inspired for the future of women’s freeride on such a broad scale. I have never been so motivated to get more women involved in jumping. I am excited to eventually host a local jump jam and hope to continue the growth of my local freeride community. I want to build features in the woods that are intimidating to look at knowing the local riding scene will embrace the progression. I am inspired to encourage others to hit features and ride in places they might not have otherwise. Like clearing wood out from a random logging road or abandoned trail and surfing the loam below. Freeride is a loose term and I think my definition of it will ebb and flow over time. But for right now, I am eager to press into the current ebb of the season and the flow of the sport. Women’s freeride is all of these inspiring moments and so much more.