At the Team Ninja party last Thursday, I had the chance to share some thoughts about women's racing with my teammates, and with people curious about joining Team Ninja, too. Thanks to everyone for listening then, and to Richard for the chance to speak! I thought it might help with my "challenge" to share my words here as well.
I have been racing mountain bikes for a long time and I have never been part of a team that made it as much fun as Team Ninja does. This is a really special thing, and I want to make sure everyone knows I think that because as the saying goes, “fish don’t know they’re in water” … we’ve got a really good thing going. And even more special to me is to be part of a team that has such a strong female core.
We girls are gems in every sense, of course -- brilliant, beautiful, sparkly, and you can find us in the dirt -- but actually I think the quality we share most with gems is rarity. Richard asked me if there’s anything I’d like to add to tonight's presentation so I'm here to say this:
Let’s invite more women to find out how awesome racing is.
Women’s mountain biking is going through this amazing growth spurt … but women’s racing seems to shrink with every event. I think this team has the momentum, influence and inspiring qualities to help more women discover racing.
So for 2015, I would love it if everyone, especially we ladies, invited a lady to try racing. You can do it in person, you can help promote local events to groups you ride with (events like Ninja Night Race, for example), and you can share stories about all the other stuff about racing that’s easier to warm up to than redlining for two hours straight.
Let’s talk about how this team is also a bunch of friends that hang out in cabins and campgrounds and goes for awesome trail rides together, and trains together. Let’s make sure they know that we’re all here to help them make sure their bike is ready, that they’re ready, and to high-five them once they cross the line in glory! Because there’s no feeling like it ... setting a goal, reaching it, celebrating it.
And finally, let’s find out what’s keeping them back. Ask them. I’d love to know what they say because if it’s something manageable … like confidence … maybe we can help remove the barrier.
And if it’s something bigger -- like being intimidated by aggressive riders on the course as we saw after Fontana this year -- then maybe we can use our influence as the best, most-awesome team in SoCal to talk to organizers or the USAC to bring on change.
This is a topic close to my heart, so I’d be happy to chat more about it, any time, on any channel.
|She-Ninjas at the Team Ninja Cabin in Big Bear this spring:|
Heidi, Paula, Kris, Lisa, Regina