Sunday, October 4, 2009

October's Featured Rider: Tammy Donahugh

Tammy Donahugh began racing during downhill's infancy, and continues to progress her own riding, while inspiring women riders of all abilities. Tammy's life is ruled by bikes. Even her house is surrounded by dirt jumps, which explains why she is such a ripping slopestyle rider. She won the Crankworx Colorado dual slalom this season, and she also stole the show at Slope Sistair in August. And when she's not riding her own bike, Tammy's helping to grow and maintain trail networks in your town--she works as IMBA's Operations Manager at the Boulder, CO headquarters. --FF

Name: Tammy Donahugh
Home:My hometown is Santa Cruz, CA and my current town is Berthoud, CO
Age: 32
Favorite type of riding: Anything that has flow mixed with some air time
Why you ride: To get my fix, challenge myself, or goof off. Depends on the day!
Sponsors: SuperCo Bikes, Spank Industries, Atomlab
Website: For now, watch this!

I started riding bikes when I was 16 years old. My boyfriend at the time and his buddies started getting into mountain biking and racing so I wanted to tag along. Soon I found myself not only really enjoying it, but getting faster than some of the boys.

I soon discovered that the downhill sections of the trail were my favorite parts. I started doing some racing, but back then things were quite different. The downhill trails were essentially fireroads and you raced them on a hardtail.

Another boyfriend along the way owned a trials magazine which exposed me to the world of trials riding and balance maneuvers. This in turn helped with my technical skills. Around this time I also moved up to the pro downhill class. It was crazy practicing and racing with factory team riders like Missy Giove, Marla Streb and Tara Llanes. I continually broke my body by never taking any optional “go-arounds” and by throwing myself off every DH course obstacle. It didn’t take long before I drained my bank account and maxed out my credit cards in order to travel the national circuit and pay my doctor bills.

I decided racing DH wasn’t for me right then. Meeting my husband was possibly the transition point out of the race scene. I found a great guy who enjoyed all of the same types of riding and at a similar level. From there on we spent our money and free time traveling to different types of bike riding destinations around the US together. I find it interesting that if you are an avid rider who enjoys anything gravity fed, yet don’t race on a regular basis, then you are considered a “freerider." It’s been cool to see how our sport has progressed and changed over the many years though, and I’m stoked to be living it!

Go pick-up the most recent Dirt Rag issue (#145)! They have a four-page spread covering our backyard playground. The condensed version would be this: Jimmy (my husband) and I both grew up in California and spent almost 30 years there. We moved to CO, bought a house that had enough room for some dirt jumps, and started digging! Currently we have two jump lines, a halfpipe, street spine, and a wall ride. It’s funny to think back to when the yard was empty and to wonder how we will be able to ever go back to “normal” living again one day.

Although I’m a mountain biker at heart, I really admire the 20” riders – especially the girls! Although these little bikes may be easier to throw around, you have to be much more precise and able to take a serious hit on a BMX bike. There are some rad females out there with amazing skills that blow my mind. Just a few names off the top of my head would be Nina Buitrago, Cory Coffey, and Joey Gough.

Early this season I took a mountain bike instructor’s course and began doing some teaching. It’s been a great experience so far and I plan to do much more instruction in 2010. My short term goal is to continue progressing my personal riding while learning new and better ways to explain and break down the skills I’ve acquired, so I can pass them on to other female riders. I want to help girls breach the intimidation barrier that keeps them from trying things like dirt jumping and downhilling. It’s just too much fun to be missed out on!

No comments: