Girl power: Fort Bragg women go from pedals to paddles
Co-workers Audra Basaldu, left, and Mindy Threlkled were all smiles during their first event of the G.I. Jane Pedal to Paddles hosted by FMWR, Saturday.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - "You're going to find things out here that you'd never find in a nail salon," said Sabina Bryant, G.I. Jane coordinator, with a smile to the group of women ready to embrace nature and challenge their bodies.

Family and Morale, Welfare, and Recreation took 10 women out of their comfort zone, far away from any shopping mall to participate in its summer round of G.I. Jane adventures. On Saturday, the FMWR hosted Pedals to Paddles. Starting at Smith Lake Recreation Center, the women were fitted for mountain bikes and headed out for a ride on two, of the three different mountain bike trails offered at Smith Lake.

Co-workers Audra Basaldu and Mindy Threlkled were all laughs about the experience that they were about to embark on.

"We just want to have a good time," Basaldu said. "And for the experience," Threlkled added.
Experiencing the outdoors and having fun was exactly the spirit the participants all had in common. Sisters Alex and Dora Perez wanted to experience G.I. Jane together.

"Dora saw the flyer and wanted to do this," Alex said. " I thought it would be fun. "We both like doing this kind of stuff," added Dora.

With a variety of fitness levels, from beginner to intermediate, G.I. Jane participants can enjoy the activities at their own pace or push themselves farther.

Carrie Stempler joked about the easy trail not being so easy. "I did this to challenge myself. I wanted to see what I can still do as a mature woman," Stempler smiled.

Whitney Burger agreed that the trails were tough. "(The trails) are made of sand and there were branches everywhere," she said. "It was challenging, but fun. I would definitely do it again."
After the bike ride through the trails, the group headed to Lillington, N.C. to canoe down the Cape Fear River.

FMWR will host G.I. Jane four times this summer. The next G.I. Jane is scheduled for Aug. 14 and it will be a two-person team event. The last team standing will be crowned Outdoor Queen Team of the Day. The competition will include rock climbing, a waterslide and paintball.

"It's an event that anyone can participate in," said Bryant. "If you can't perform the event, your partner can help out - it's all about teamwork."

Any equipment needed for an event is included and the event is open to all Department of Defense ID card holders and guests. For $35 women can push their limits in a safe and fun-filled environment. For more information, call 396-5979 or visit MWR's Web site,

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16