Hannah Bergemann and Transition Bikes hosted another opportunity for women to get rad this weekend, and once again, showed what's possible when events truly embrace women.
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In a season of freeride that has been defined by the ladies and how far they can push the levels of progression if given the opportunity, Hannah Bergemann and Transition Bikes wrote another chapter in freeride’s 2021 yearbook over the weekend with the Hangtime session on Bellngham’s massive Blue Steel line. It’s a line that Bergemann, who lives in Bellingham, helped shape before it opened a year ago, then invited more than a dozen established and up-and-coming riders to throw down alongside her and use it as a platform for their own progression.
The roster included some familiar names, like Sam Soriano and Cami Nogueira, who both took part earlier this year at Red Bull Formation and Aussie standout Harriet Burbidge-Smith, who earned her wings over the weekend when Bergemann presented her with a coveted Red Bull helmet. There were also a host of teenage groms there to watch, learn, ride and represent the next generation of women’s freeride.
The weekend was filled with party trains, first-ever feats—notably Avery Martinson’s mid-train backflips that had the crowd lining the course roaring—and inevitably, a few injuries that go along with pushing the boundaries. Martinson, a BMX rider and newcomer to throwing tricks in the dirt on a mountain bike, ended the weekend with the overall rider’s choice award, pretty amazing for a rider who’d never been invited to an event before, flown with her bike or even ever been to Washington.
“I had a lot of anxiety going in, but as soon as we all got up the hill with our bikes, the vibe was just so incredible that it all changed,” Martinson said. “I felt immediately at home with all the ladies all feeding off each other and getting stoked. It’s all been so unreal start to finish and I’m honestly still processing being invited in the first place. I’m so grateful to Hannah.”
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Blake Hansen nabbed the award for best progression, while 15-year-old Brooke Anderson took home best style.
“I would say that the biggest jump I’d hit prior was probably the length of one of the smaller jumps but not as steep, or tall and definitely not doubles. Only tabletops,” Hansen said. “I started off one by one and didn’t have much momentum because the entire thing just seemed so daunting. Slowly I ticked off each jump on its own, making sure it felt good before I moved on, everything except for the last jump. Haz and a few other girls were very helpful through that process with coaching and tow-ins too. Eventually I was able to find some consistency and a lot of positive energy from the group and connected them all including the last jump, which is quite a bit larger than the rest. Before the end of the night I was feeling comfortable enough to whip and table everything and even towed Sydney over the last jump who had also been struggling with it all weekend.”
Hansen’s takeaway reflects the spirit of Hangtime, and women’s freeride in general right now—it’s all about support and elevating each other to raise the overall profile of the discipline. That essence of positivity and camaraderie over competition is one we’ve seen reflected all over the world this year, at Formation in Utah, Audi Nines in Germany, Casey Brown’s Dark Horse Invitational in Revelstoke, at Hangtime and will likely see again at this week’s Proving Grounds in Oregon, which now has a full women’s field. As the opportunities to show what women can do continue surfacing, and importantly, young riders see what’s possible, that’s when real change starts to happen within the sport.
Photographer Leslie Hittmeier captured the energy and vibe of Hangtime beautifully. Scroll on for Hittemeier’s full gallery of images.