I was sitting in the AnaNichoola HQ one day when I got a phone-call from Henry at Ride Sheffield. He said he was helping organise the Steel City Series Downhill MTB race and wanted to get more women involved and did I have any ideas.
|With my thinking cap on in the office "Hmmm, what do girls want?"|
There’s one thing other than/instead of (delete as you feel appropriate) that us MuleBar Girls are good at…and that’s getting more women’s bums on saddles. So I got my thinking cap on.
For a start, I was stoked that Henry was pro-actively trying to encourage more women to race. It’s one thing having race entries open to us, but it’s another thing altogether positively being told “this race is for you.” So we decided to set a target amount of women, keeping 30 spaces available in this race that otherwise sells out in about an hour! And then we decided to set different categories, allowing newbies to feel confident to “have a go” and experienced racers to feel as though there was some serious racing to hand.
Once the race entries went live there was a flurry on Twitter and facebook, all the ladies, mums, dads, husbands, boyfriends tagging their friends. It turns out everyone knows someone who would like to give a downhill race a go!
I turned up this weekend, and sure enough there were 30 friendly/nervous/excited female faces waiting at the startline at the top of the hill. AND IT WAS BRILLIANT!!!
I overheard the amazing World-cup MTB racer Maxine Filby pushing up and saying to her buddy Verity Appleyard “I love that there’s two categories, it makes me want to race really hard” or something, and that was cool. And then I met Jody who was bouncing off the walls in excitement about her first ever race, and that was before she got her second place medal J
But the most inspiring of the day was Pat, a 68 year old who had to borrow my spare fullface helmet as she didn’t actually own one. “I’ve always been sporty” she said “So I decided to give it a go.”
|Pat with here "oldest person here"'s trophy!! x|
I had an awesome day, my personal racing was very disappointing, but it’s fired me up to want to get fast again, meet some proper competition and see what I’m capable of. That wouldn’t have happened if I’d won, because I was the only girl racing.
The Girls' Podium
The best thing was that I made new friends. I have a girl-riders house I can stay in if I’m ever in Sheffield again, and I have already had a lift-share invite to a gravity endure from another girl. I am so stoked that Henry put the effort in and I know that there are 29 other ladies that feel the same.
Thank you Steel City Series xx