Women’s Wednesday: Rapha Women’s 100

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Photographs and Video by Shannon McGowan

“What are you undertaking this weekend? Want to come ride 62.1 miles on the Cap Trail with me and a bunch of other rad ladies?”

These have been the surprisingly un-sarcastic words of my dear pal Emma Troy, a bike mechanic at Cary Town Bikes who finds any excuse to get on a bike just about just about every day. As considerably as I would’ve loved to attempt and get out with them, I do not assume my mountain bike or my “10 miles is a lot enough” legs would delight in it really considerably. So rather, I brought my camera to capture these badass cyclists in action as they show some like to the ladies of the biking neighborhood.

I give a lot of credit to Richmond’s outside neighborhood for assisting me achieve much more self-confidence in the outdoors. The ladies I have been in a position to ride and speak with more than the five years that I’ve lived right here have opened my eyes to the significance of incorporating women’s outings into your typical life-style/coaching schedule. I’ve never ever left an outing feeling something significantly less than empowered.

This bike outing was a bit much more fascinating mainly because it connected our personal tiny cycling planet in Richmond to ladies about the globe. The Rapha Women’s 100 is a globally sponsored occasion aimed at receiving ladies out and riding with each other because 2013.

Absolutely nothing gets Troy much more amped up in conversation than speaking about ladies in the outdoors. So I asked her a couple of concerns to AMP her up at this year’s Women’s 100.

What does ‘ride like a girl’ imply to you? 

‘Ride like a girl’ is a way to take back, re-possess, and give a new which means to the phrase “like a girl.” There such a unfavorable connotation to undertaking something “like a girl.” I’m so sick of persons considering we can do significantly less or attain significantly less just mainly because of how we appear or the colors we put on. For the longest time, I myself rejected my feminine side and who I was, a lady, mainly because I was afraid that the males that I rode bikes with would assume I was weak or couldn’t do the identical trails as them or hold up with them. I was continually placing myself down, or creating jokes at my personal expense, at the expense of ladies, so that I could match in and be a single of the guys. It was toxic-masculinity. I lost myself in “bro culture”. I wasn’t becoming fair or correct to myself or my personal persons, ladies! 

Right after a lot of self-reflection, meeting other ladies, reading articles and riding with other ladies, I realized that I didn’t have to ride like a boy or act like a boy to match into this tight knit business that is the bike and outside adventure neighborhood. There is a spot for us. We just have to make it. We have to shout about it and ride bikes about it. And demand it.

I like to put on pink and other “fem” colors as a badge of honor.

I want persons to see me zip previous them on the trail or on the road and see “Ride like a girl” and assume oh dang, that is a chick! 

I’ve been told (by a cis white male) the purpose there are not that quite a few ladies in the outdoors / outside business is mainly because it is also rowdy. And that is the most significant piece of bullshit I’ve ever heard in my life. So here’s to continuing to fight the fantastic fight, and show persons HEY we exist! We’re right here! With brightly colored jerseys and a literal badge of honor across the back. 

Why do you assume women’s group outings are critical? 

I assume ladies group outings are critical mainly because I didn’t know half of these ladies existed. I’ve met some unbelievable persons at the Women’s 100k that I would have never ever met otherwise. It is so effortless to really feel isolated and alone in the bike business mainly because of the lack of ladies, but they’re out there. They just have been forced to do their sport discreetly and alone. I do not go on typical nearby group rides mainly because I know I will be the only lady. I have skilled sexism and sexist comments out riding in groups of males and so I am not motivated and basically do not want to go back. It is so intimidating to go on group rides when you may be the only lady mainly because of unfavorable experiences like this. Even if the majority of the males are actual fantastic humans who you are good friends with and trust, an individual will usually have some thing to say or make sexist jokes even if they do not understand that it is sexist. And you can only have so considerably patience and power to appropriate them. I didn’t encounter a single sexist joke or comment nowadays at this ride. I never ever felt like the odd a single out. I felt secure, and I had entertaining. And that is why it is critical to have these outings. To meet like-minded men and women, and to be in a position to ride your damn bike in a secure space. 

What do you have to say to the males out there?

If I could say a single factor to males it’d be: do not inform me what to do. Do not inform what I can and cannot do. I’ve had a number of males, on separate occasions, ask if I knew the mountain bike trail I was about to drop in on was a black diamond. It was insulting that they assumed I couldn’t ride a black diamond mainly because I was a ladies, but even much more insulting that they didn’t assume I was capable of understanding my personal limits or possibly they didn’t even assume I could study a map of mountain bike trials. And to that I just say: do far better guys. Just trust me, assistance me, and most of all listen to me. Listen to me when I say a joke is sexist and tends to make me uncomfortable, listen to me when I say I recognized I can do this sophisticated trail mainly because I know myself and my riding skills. Listen to me when I say there the way ladies are treated in the bike/outside adventure neighborhood is problematic. And do not attempt to justify or stumble more than your words to apologize. Just listen. Okay, I guess I had much more than a single factor to say to the males of the bike planet.

What would you say to the ladies receiving into biking? 

Remain powerful. It is going to be hard. Discover persons that will take you out and show you the ropes. And when you cannot at initially, do not be afraid to go out alone. You will not have all the suitable gear at initially. You will not have the best bike at initially. But you do not will need it when you are just beginning out. Just go out and get following it.

Significant Shoutout to Erin Shahan, Emma Troy, Mati McCann, Allie Helmbrecht, Raychelle Bayley, Katie Jo Prince, Carolina Brewer, Lori White, Kelly Buis, Mike McGinley, Sandrine Thominet, Karen Hull, Sandra Dee Norman, Jill Williams, and all the other ladies to got outdoors to play on bikes for the Rapha Women’s 100.

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