Women Shred With Kenny Belaey
We recently had the opportunity to interview multi-time trials World Champion Kenny Belaey, co-creator of Women Shred. Women Shred is a 4 day festival celebrating women on bikes in conjunction with the Bentonville Film Festival in May. Here is what you need to know straight from Kenny. Check it!
OCA: How did you get started riding bikes?
KB: When I was 9 years old I was introduced to bicycle trials by my dad, he was a former moto trials rider and always supported my brother and me to go out there and play on our bikes and tackle obstacles. I entered my first competition shortly after and now 27 years later I’m still doing it with the same passion and drive, I can’t sometimes believe it myself.
OCA: What are you most proud of in your professional career?
KB: To have been on a world championship podium 20 times out of 23 participations. I cherish that more than my 9 world titles because as soon I passed the age of 30 it got harder to compete against much younger riders. Despite that, last year I was still on the podium at a UCI Trials World Cup, 1st place was 21 years old, 3rd place was 20 and I was 35. That’s for the competitive side.
As far as the ’stunt’ side goes I am proud that I was the first one to ride over a slackline at 370ft of height and 9000 feet of altitude. That was actually the hardest and scariest thing I’ve ever done.
OCA: How did you get connected to Northwest Arkansas?
KB: I was invited by the 21C Museum Hotel to do a show at a party they had, it was actually a pyjama party. That was back in 2013. I stayed in contact with everyone I met back then, came back a few times and now it’s my basecamp for whenever I am in the U.S. for shows, training or video shoots. It’s a great place to be, people are friendly, lot’s of nature and above all they are building the biggest, most advanced network of bike and mountainbike trails I have ever seen. This is something the entire world is looking at and probably envious of. Wish I had this when I was growing up.
OCA: What do you think about the NWA cycling scene?
KB: It’s really nice from every point of view. The community, the amazing trail system, the vibes, … If you love bikes and want to experience this all year round… this is the place to be! It’s really booming.
OCA: What is Women Shred?
KB: It’s a 4 day festival championing women on bikes in conjunction with Bentonville Film Festival. We will have daily screenings of inspirational women’s mountain biking videos, followed by an activity.
The first day, Wednesday May 8th the sponsor village opens at 3pm followed by the official opening at 5:15pm and then we host the pump track session with Payton Ridenour who is a 16 year old BMX superstar. Then on Thursday evening we have a big Women of Oz group ride with Anneke Beerten who is a multiple Four Cross World Champion. On Friday we have a slightly longer screening of our videos followed by the presentation of all our pro ambassadors, right after that we have the All American Race. Where we will crown the first ever All American Queen and King.
Pro ambassadors for Women Shred.
On Saturday we have workshops for 100 ladies. As it’s the first year, we limited it to 100 participants, it sold out in less then 8 hours. But whilst the ladies are doing the workshops anyone else who didn’t signed up for this, can still come to the sponsor village and enjoy all our sponsor booths, demo bikes and have a good time hanging out with like minded people.
The workshops will consist of nutrition in sports, a bike maintenance workshop, Trials bike workshops with Perrine Devahive who is a Pro World class Trials rider, she will teach the ladies basic bike handling skills like track stands and other really fun stuff. And of course the ladies who signed up for the workshops will also go on the trails and tackle difficulties together with the pro riders.
You don’t want to miss 8 time World Champion Caroline Buchanan who will co-host the nutrition workshops at the CLIF Bar booth on Saturday.
OCA: How can someone get involved with Women Shred?
KB: Just come over and hang out at the sponsor village, grab a demo bike from one of our sponsors, get some CLIF Bars. Make sure to visit the Hope tech booth, they came all the way from the U.K. with their colorful quality bike products. You can learn all about the local Women of Oz group, check out Perrine and me at our trials shows, meet our pro ambassadors, come for our daily video screenings, visit the Bentonville Film Festival at the same time, gather with your friends for a ride, ride on the mobile pump track, enter the Instagram contest where we challenge you to put on your best champion face in front of our podium, or just chill out and enjoy the music from the Red Bull event car.
And don’t think it’s for women only, men are also welcome of course! It’s actually also a great opportunity for men who ride already to bring their wife, daughter or girlfriend and introduce them to mountain biking, just go to the Women Shred tent where the Women of Oz will tell you all about it.
And the good news is ‘it’s all free’. Click here to check out the schedule.
OCA: Thanks for the interview Kenny! In conjunction with CLIF Bar & Women Shred we have 10 spots that we are giving away to ride with Kenny Belaey on May 10th. Drop us a comment below and we will randomly select the 10 riders!