June 28, 2012
Ride Rock Hill Interviews Dirt Divas Co-Founder Patty Smith
RRH: Patty, tell us about the Dirt Divas and your role with the club.
SMITH:The Dirt Divas are a non-profit, women’s mountain bike group, actively riding in the Charlotte Metro area. During daylight savings time, we ride once a week (Tuesdays), host 4 skills clinics, 5 regional day trips, a couple maintenance clinics and two “women-only weekend trips” a year. The Dirt Divas have been incorporated for over 11 years, and our membership of 70+ has an average age of 39.
Eleven years into my, and several others’, mission to create this great women’s club, I’m currently the Co-VP with Cathi Mowery. I have served continuously on the board, in one, maybe two positions at a time throughout the years. The reason WHY? I love for people to discover the passion that has brought so many joys to my life.
RRH: Who is a typical Dirt Diva member? A hardcore racer, a newbie, somewhere in between, or all of the above?
SMITH: All of the above…. I would say approximately 25%-30% of our club are racers, 25-30% are casual slow pace riders and then we have enough intermediates to make up two groups. We have a great mix. Women-only members, but anyone can come ride (guys and kids). I would say 60% of our club is married and 40-50% members are moms.
RRH: Around Charlotte and Rock Hill, where are some of the main places the club members ride?
SMITH: Our current ride schedule rotates around 7 different parks. (Frances Beatty, Sherman Branch, North Mecklenburg Park, Fisher Farm, Renaissance, US Nat. Whitewater Center, Anne Springs and once a year to Lake Norman State Park) Check out www.dirtdivas.net for our ride calendar, also the forum can give more details on each ride.
RRH: The City of Rock Hill is currently constructing up to 8 miles of mountain biking trails at the Rock Hill Outdoor Center. Is the club going to be involved with activities at the RHOC?
SMITH: I’m so glad there is now an attraction on the south side of town. For the last 5-7 years it appears the expansions in mountain biking have been taking a track to the North and East of the city. With the expansion of Fisher Farms to just under 6 miles, the newer destination place with 18+ miles at Lake Norman SP and Due East with 11 miles at Sherman Branch. Yes, I’m sure we will have group rides or skills clinics at the RHOC. I would say at least a third of our membership has road bikes, and could see us doing multiple outings there, participating in the different disciplines of cycling and spectating to some of the named events the RHOC plans to host.
RRH: How do you see the RHOC impacting the Rock Hill community and the club in the coming years?
SMITH: I think just having the center present within the city makes the non-cyclists more aware of the sport of cycling and the safety of cyclists. It’s great for kids, youth and collegiate, too, introducing them to so many different non-traditional sports, which could get their parents involved, too. I also believe that the center will allow those cyclists who are already experienced more room to grow in their skills and uncover new excitement.
RRH: How do people find out more about the Dirt Divas?
Visit www.dirtdivas.net, check out the forum and our calendar.