Meet The Happy Valley Women's Cycling Team

Meet The Happy Valley Women's Cycling Team

The Happy Valley Women's Cycling Team is a central Pennsylvania based group of women who are looking to create a space for like minded individuals to explore the sport of cycling. Tanya Campbell started the team in 2018 with the support of The Bicycle Shop in State College, Pennsylvania. Since the team's inception, they've begun hosting women's only rides to promote health and wellness through cycling, organized a development program for female riders between 10-13 years old, and launched the Seasons of Rothrock Race Series. Rothrock GRIT is the keystone event of the series and it made quite the splash when they reserved 50% of the field for female participants. They filled every spot. We caught up with Tanya to learn more about the team and the direction she sees it heading in the future. You can follow along with the team on social media here: Facebook and Instagram.

Stan's NoTubes: What was the original reasoning behind creating the Happy Valley Women's Cycling Team?

Happy Valley Women's Cycling Team: From the time I started riding bikes, I longed for a community of women to train, ride, and race with. In my area, only a few male-dominated cycling groups existed. I wanted to see a change. What is the best way to get something that you don't have? Be the change that you want to see.

I wanted to see women racing, taking risks, and encouraging each other. This creates resilience, growth, and self-confidence. Creating HVWC was the way to reach these goals.

After gaining support from Erik Scott, owner of The Bicycle Shop, Happy Valley Women’s Cycling was founded in 2018. For the first year, we raced in the blue Bicycle Shop jersey. The team quickly gained support from other companies like Stahl Sheaffer Engineering, Robin Hood Brewery, and Specialized Bicycles. They believed in our team and our mission.

With support from our community, we started to grow. We were racing as a team and hosting several women-only rides promoting health and wellness through cycling.

HVWC empowers women cyclists and gives them a sense of belonging to something bigger. They say your team becomes your family, we’ve created our own family here in Happy Valley!

SNT: The 2022 team consists of 19 women, what do most of the team member's backgrounds in cycling look like?

HVWC: We have a diverse group of women who race gravel, road, and mountain bikes. I would say almost every member of our team has a gravel bike and we have 12 ladies who can race gravel or mountain bikes. We have a wide range of experience with a few team members who have been riding or racing for over 20 years and a few who are brand new to racing. We pair up novice racers with more seasoned riders to mentor in training, nutrition, and race strategy.

SNT: What are the goals of the team both on and off the bike?

HVWC: The goals of our team are to promote and encourage more women to ride bikes and build a community of strong women. Our team accomplishes this goal in many different ways. Our team trains and participates in cycling races as a team but also individually. We have weekly rides for women just getting started in both mountain biking and gravel riding. We invite anyone to join and we offer an atmosphere of acceptance and friendliness.

Girls Rock is our developmental program for girls ages 10-13. We hope the confidence they gain on the bike spills over to the rest of their life. Two girls from Girls Rock are now junior riders on our team and join us for training rides and races. They completed two mountain bike races last year including the Laurel Classic race in Wellsboro.

Off the bike, the team has the opportunity to do cycling-specific strength training with Tom Whipple and Tim Yosca. Several members take advantage of these sessions and they have seen improvements in their riding endurance and everyday life activities. It’s a fun way to get cross-training and stay focused on workouts off the bike too!

FUN FACT: HVWC's team colors represent their core values: Black = Perseverance, Blue = Strength, Pink = Community, Teal = Mindfulness, and Yellow = Inspiration.

SNT: What type of events does the team typically participate in?

HVWC: Our team members participate in a variety of local and national events. We are lucky to have so many great local events near State College that we don’t need to travel far.

Our gravel events include:

  • Iron cross
  • GRIT
  • Unpaved
  • Monster Cross

Members of our team have recently podiumed at:

  • Seasons of Rothrock III & IV
  • Transylvania Epic
  • Yellow Creek Grass Roots
  • Liberty Bike Race
  • Laurel Classic

This year we are participating in some new events including:

  • Quantico Epic
  • The Last Best Ride
  • Breck EPIC
  • Rasputitsa

We also participate in several cycling initiatives and organizations such as Central Cycling Classic, The Ride of Silence, Center Bike and we are course marshalls for the State College half marathon and various other 5k events as well as bike races.

SNT: What's Rothrock GRIT?

HVWC: Rothrock GRIT is a non-profit gravel race held in the Rothrock State Forest that raises funds for our community trails and cycling initiatives.

This race is designed for everyone, whether your goal is to be the fastest, push your limits, or just have fun. First-time and elite racers can enjoy the beautiful views of nature on a supported ride. The whole team is dedicated to giving everyone a great experience!

Rothrock Grit was created, promoted, and directed by two HVWC teammates Tanya and Mary Ann. This year, first-year teammates Sam and Kat stepped up to take on GRIT coordinating the vendor expo and prize donations.

The Rothrock Grit Gravel Grinder is Session II of our Seasons of Rothrock Race Series. Which includes two gravel and two mountain bike races in Rothrock State Forest, one for each season.

SNT: What do you hope the team accomplishes in the next five years?

HVWC: Within the next five years, we’d like to take our mission of getting more women on bikes and more women racing bikes to the regional and national level through outreach and team events.

Currently, the programs that we host such as Girl’s Rock, the ladies retreat, the women’s mountain bike and gravel rides serve the local community. We’d like to build these to serve a larger community tailored to women’s specific needs. We also would like to build a larger online community of women through a website and social media.

Pennsylvania is prime territory for gravel and mountain bike riding and racing. We’d like to elevate our Seasons of Rothrock race series to be a nationally recognized event. This would not only benefit local businesses but also the non-profits that we serve.

I would like to see increased financial and equipment support and sponsorship for our team to help us develop as racers and place consistently at the regional and national levels.