From the first trailheads in 1848, the first female mountain bikers in the country have been making the journey, with the first women cyclists taking up the mantle in the early 1900s.
Now, with a new trail network opening this year, a group of women is set to start their first women’s mountain biking trip, as they try to set an example to others.
This week, a team of mountain biker women, known as the Catkill Mountain Women’s Team, is making their first official attempt on the Catkill Mountains in Wyoming, the second-highest mountain in the world, according to the USGS.
The trail, known locally as the Mountain to Peak Trail, will traverse four miles (6 kilometers) of terrain, beginning with a 6,200-foot (2,900-meter) climb on a route that will be paved for three months.
“We’re not going to be in the middle of nowhere,” team member and Catkill mountain biking enthusiast Melissa DeSimone told National Geographic.
“It’s not a big hill.
It’s not like the first three miles of the Catlick [Trail].
It’s a little bit of a downhill.”
The route is called the Catkiller Trail, named after a mountain in northwestern New York, where the team plans to take up the challenge.
“The first trailhead we were going to was just on a ridge, so it was very remote,” DeSimon told National Geography in a statement.
“There were no trails to walk, just some dirt roads that we had to traverse.
There were no waterfalls, so we had no way to soak our feet in the water.”
“We were going down a little steep hill, which is why we decided to take the CatKill Trail.
It was a nice, easy, downhill trail,” DeSimo said.
The team has already started on the route, which they plan to complete by October.
“This is definitely going to take a little while, but it’s going to make us feel more confident,” De Simone said.
“And it’s the perfect time to talk to the people around us.
We want to help make sure that the women get to their goal, which was to be the first to do it.”
While it’s only one year into their endeavor, the Catkilling team has an idea for the next step: the Mountain To Peak Trail.
“Our goal is to get to the top and see if we can do this as a team,” De Simone said.
They’ll also be working with local officials to raise awareness about women’s health and safety, and will be working on raising awareness about the importance of a female-led team.
“In my experience, women are often not considered part of the team,” team leader Lauren Sullum told National Geo.
“I feel like we’re making a positive difference and I think we’re doing it the right way.
It really is a win-win.
We’re just trying to make the most of the opportunity that is presented to us.”
For DeSimones and DeSimmones, the team’s journey is just one step toward making history.
“If it’s not for our women, there would be no women,” De Simo said in the statement.
The women plan to make their first attempt at the Catcat trail this fall, while Sullums hopes to make it a regular feature on their daily routine.
“They’ll be training in the fall, and I hope that they will have a few of us on at the start of October,” De Solmis said.