Our first PEARL iZUMI Local Hero is Laura Renshaw, who had a few nominations for this competition. Laura is a keen cyclist herself, but it's her role as an advocate for more women on bikes that saw her receive nominations.

“Laura runs social rides, encouraging women of all ages and abilities to attend. She is a volunteer coach for beginners clinics and also a bronze level coach,” said one rider who nominated Laura. “Laura is incredibly dedicated to getting more women on bikes and gives up endless hours of her time to ride with people and answer MTB questions through social media and private messaging.”

Another nomination added that “Laura runs a Facebook group along with other women to promote mountain biking for women and she is always encouraging more women to ride and to try out racing. Most importantly, Laura is friendly and approachable.”

When we spoke to Laura, she was flattered to be selected, and reflected that her drive to help more women get into mountain biking was a reflection on her own entry into the world of dirt.

“My riding journey started about 10 years ago, via adventure racing. I guess I just really enjoyed the mountain bike part! I remember so few women being involved, and at a race it might just be myself and one other lady.” While Laura admitted this made it quite daunting, she stuck with it as she loved it. “At the time, the support for women in mountain biking wasn't quite there, so I have been keen to get more women involved in mountain biking.”

While Laura has done that at a grassroots level, recently she has also been involved in coaching at beginner's clinics as a bronze level coach. And for Laura, there is a huge reward in spending her time doing that,

“When you see something just click for a rider, and they take on a new technical challenge, it's just so worth it,” said Laura when talking about coaching courses. “At our recent course, there was a technical creek crossing, and I didn't think anyone would attempt it. But all the women on the course gave it a go, and got across. When the riders back themselves, and see someone else do it, they realise they can do it too. And this group of women was from all walks of life – but sometimes it really helps to see someone else do it to know that you can as well.”

We think Laura is an ideal local mountain bike hero with her advocacy work, and she left us with a key piece of advice to pass on for anyone getting into mountain biking.

“There are always other people out there like you. Everyone is always learning.”

Laura won a prize pack from Pearl Izumi worth about $500, including shorts, socks, gloves, a jersey, tee and head wear.

Who is your Local Hero?

You can nominate your local mountain bike hero on AMBmag.com.au/win, and each issue we will pick one rider to be the Pearl Izumi Local Hero. They'll get some fresh kit sent out from Pearl Izumi, and we'll find out a little bit more about them.

Have you got someone in mind? Click the link and tell us a little bit about your local hero. Let's hear more about the riders who make mountain biking great in your area.