ROAM EVENTS LAUNCHES TOTALLY SHRED-WORTHY WOMEN'S MOUNTAIN BIKE RETREATS, RACES, & MORE
January 18, 2017 - By Andi Zolton
To comprehend everything that newly formed Roam Events has their hands in, you'd have to get to know the backstory of how this bike-centric event management company was born. I sat down with Roam Events founder Ash Bocast to talk about how Roam Event's went from a non-existent company to running a full-fledged season of cycling events in just a few short months.
AZ: First things first. What is Roam Events?
AB: Ha, that's a loaded question. Roam Events is an event management company. Our tagline is "Events for the Adventurous" and it does a good job of summarizing all the different events we manage. We put on our own series of women's bike vacations called Roam Retreats; we're working with Sturdy B*tch Racing and Snow Summit resort to host the world's first and only women's enduro race series called the Sturdy Dirty Enduro Series; and we also have contracts with several brands to manage and promote special events, conferences, festivals, and marketing events.
AZ: So what's the origin story of Roam Events?
AB: Well, everything really started a few years ago. I had a trailside conversation with a crew of lady friends that all worked in the industry as well. We got into this passionate talk about the lack of mountain bike events for women that weren't races or clinics. That convo snowballed into how rad it would be to pick a spot and host a crew of ladies for a weekend of pure and simple riding. We went around for about a few minutes suggesting pre-existing events...most didn't quite fit the bill or were too expensive for any of us to consider. At some point one of the other women suggested, "We should just start this." I think I agreed, took a swig of water, and then we all got back on our bikes. The thought obviously stuck, it just took me a while to ignite it.
AZ: So how did you go from a trailside conversation to starting a company?
AB: I had been formulating this idea of a women's bike retreat for a while working as an Event Specialist with Liv Cycling. I knew there was opportunity for a multi-day, more intimate demo experience if I could just get Liv onboard. So, I booked the entire Whitefish Bike Retreat, nearly sold out the event, and then kind of asked permission to do the event. Of course, I got a mixed response from my bosses. They were incredibly enthusiastic to support the concept, but couldn't legally put on the event because of a bunch of totally valid reasons. So I got online, created an LLC, and had Liv essentially hire Roam Events to put on the event.
AZ: So what sparked the shift from Liv Cycling to doing Roam Events full time?
AB: I started getting asked to put on similar events for other companies. I struggled a lot with my loyalty to Liv versus my desire to put on retreats full-time and pursue other event concepts. After a few weeks of gut-wrenching pondering, I made the hardest phone call of my life to tell my boss I was going to be leaving Liv. I think we both cried a little, but I feel incredibly grateful to have Liv's support for Roam Events from the moment I made that phone call.
AZ: Looking at your event schedule, you've got a lot going on, lets start with the Roam Retreats. Give us a snapshot.
AB: The gist of it is... we get a crew together to ride bikes in our favorite destinations, and our prices are affordable. As a participant, you basically show up, ride bikes, eat food, drink, hangout by the campfire, and repeat. It's a pretty welcoming and hassle-free experience. On pricing, we work with like-minded brands to help offset the costs of our Retreats so our participants can attend, and have the added benefit of trying out product.
AZ: Full disclosure to readers; I'm helping you with your Roam Wrench Clinics, a new offering to your 2017 events, want to speak a little bit about why you aren't offering skills clinics?
AB: Uh, because there are so many amazing women already out there offering amazing clinics? I'm good friends with Lindsey, Meredith, Leigh, Angi, and so many others that just astound me with the coaching they offer - I think Roam Retreats are a really nice compliment for riders who either already take clinics, or are looking for the same good juju you get from those coaches, but in a less structured, more ride-for-the-sake-of-riding environment.
AZ: Right. Tell us about the Sturdy Dirty.
AB: I raced the Sturdy Dirty Enduro last year in Seattle and could not stop smiling all day...or probably for a few weeks afterward. It occurred to me that if they would just host a series, more ladies could experience how awesome the race is. So I asked if I could help them turn it into a series, and the Sturdy B*tches said yes. I was stoked! Its an honor to be part of the first women's enduro race series in the world.
AZ: Moving along, Bike+Fly Adventures?
AB: I'm obsessed with fly fishing and used to have my gear hanging out in the demo van. Ladies would see it and gush about their own obsession, or a desire to learn how to fish...so the event concept was created to address that buzz around biking and fishing together being a thing. We're working with guides to curate a really welcoming event. We'll have lessons, casting practice, and all the things someone would need to get better or just get started. It's almost the opposite of our Retreats.
AZ: Fishing, retreats, races, marketing...how do you do it all?
AB: (laughs) I have an amazing support network and a super random combo of job skills. The goal was to put on eight total events in 2017...somehow we've got twenty-one planned or on the schedule as of right now. Considering how new this all is, I feel like we are moving at mach-10. I've got ladies helping with planning, clinics, marketing... its amazing, not to mention the flood of support from industry friends. I realize we have our sticks in a lot of different fires so-to-speak...but I'm really comfortable in the event world, the marketing world, and the tourism scene because it's what I've been doing since I was a kid. I think I ran my first event for 2,000 people when I was 16...so, with the support crew in tow, I'm up for the challenge.
AZ: Last question...will we get to see Ryder at all these events?
AB: Oh wow... how could we forget Ryder? (Laughs) She's going to be mascot at a lot of the events for sure.