“Awesome Land: Women of Dirt,” a film about female mountain bikers, is the culmination of the two-day Santa Cruz Mountain Bike Festival this weekend. Photo by Isaac Miller.
“Awesome Land: Women of Dirt,” a film about female mountain bikers, is the culmination of the two-day Santa Cruz Mountain Bike Festival this weekend. Photo by Isaac Miller.

For the Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz, mountain biking isn’t just a hobby — it’s a lifestyle and a community. This weekend, members of MBOSC intends to share their passion with the rest of Santa Cruz in the biggest event they have ever held.

On Saturday, Feb. 27, the Santa Cruz Mountain Bike Festival will set its wheels in motion, focusing on the growing prominence of women in mountain biking. All of the proceeds will go to the Soquel Demonstration Forest, a favorite haunt of the county’s mountain bikers.

MBOSC is a local nonprofit organization and advocacy group that organizes group rides and club trips, provides volunteer work to build new trails, and raises money for local mountain biking locations.

President Mark Davidson exemplifies the organization’s dedication to the sport. Davidson met his wife mountain biking, and has a daughter who bikes as well.

“I love bikes,” Davidson said. “… I love the sport. Just being part of mountain biking and the mountain bike community is really rewarding.”

The festival begins with a group ride in Soquel Demonstration Forest on Feb. 27 and culminates with the California premiere of the film “Awesome Land: Women of Dirt” at the Rio Theater on Feb. 28.

Other activities will include bike demos and raffles. The festival will feature professional women bikers Lisa Myklak, Emily Johnston, Tammy Donahugh and Kathy Pruitt.

For Davidson, mountain bike enthusiasts make up a tight-knit community, which is necessary when planning the MBOSC’s largest event yet.

“This is the biggest thing that our organization has put on,” Davidson said. “It is going to kind of be a breakout for us, so it’s pretty exciting. The bike industry, local bike shops and local businesses have really rallied around this event.”

Mountain biking has traditionally been dominated by men, but Davidson is seeing more and more women drawn to the sport and hopes the event will encourage even more women to join in.

“A lot of new mountain bikers I’m meeting are women,” Davidson said. “[Our events] are focusing specifically on women mountain biking.”

Lisa Myklak is one of the pro mountain bikers featured in the film “Women of Dirt.” The documentary follows 11 women mountain bikers and expresses their dedication to the sport. Myklak, as well as three other pro riders, will be present at both the group ride in Soquel Demonstration Forest and the film premiere.

Myklak was put in touch with MBOSC in order to promote “Women of Dirt,” and she is confident that the film will encourage more women to give the extreme sport a try.

“I remember watching guys put in videos constantly,” Myklak said. “I think [the film] is going to have a great influence on women’s [mountain biking] because now they can see some women riding.”

The film’s final sequence takes place in Santa Cruz, establishing the town as a prime location for mountain biking. Davidson said that those familiar with the trails will definitely recognize some of the locations in the film.

“The film ends in Santa Cruz, so people who ride in Santa Cruz will recognize some of their favorite trails and favorite spots,” Davidson said.

Myklak is excited about this weekend’s events, and anticipates relaxing after all the hard work she put in to organize the event and promote the film.

“I’m looking forward to sitting down and watching the movie and seeing other people’s reactions,” Myklak said. “I’m just looking forward to riding with people.”