Author: Cheri Felix
“I’m probably not going to like this. Don’t worry about me. I’ll meet you back at the car.” That’s what I said on my first mountain bike ride with eight other girls. It was the maiden ride of what would become Singletrack Sistahs. A group for women who wanted to ride but not necessarily with their boyfriends and husbands. At least not all the time. Our motto was “If you can’t giggle or gab you’re riding too hard.” That ride, that ride where I said I’d meet them back at the car turned out to be my maiden voyage. It turned out to be what some might call the beginning of my love affair with mountain biking. Insert hearts, flowers and unicorns.
Let me just say it wasn’t all hearts and flowers. I can remember flying over my bars more times than I can count. But what I do remember is the feeling I got when I rode my bike. On the dirt, gravel and in rainstorms complete with lightning. It was awesome. Many of us who joined the group had boyfriends and husbands (not both at the same time) but found that riding with them (as amazing as they were) to be less than….fun. Often times the girls would be pushing their bikes up some hill that was clearly easy for their mate or coming home with bruises after riding something that their guys said, “You can do it, it’s super easy.”
This weekend I was riding at Flatirons Vista and was riding down that fun downhill. You know the one. Coming up the hill, at a pretty good clip I might add, was a guy and way way behind him was his girlfriend or wife (How do I know? I asked her). She was not having fun. She clearly was newish to the sport and when I made small talk with “That’s hard work pushing your bike up the hill” she replied with “It’s easier than riding it.” Now we’ve all pushed our bikes up the hill. No matter how good or strong we are and who knows maybe she was an injured professional cyclist who normally schools her man on the trail. But I doubt it. I’ve seen enough of it on the trail to know a discouraged woman. And so here is my suggestion: Find other girls to ride with and find lots of them.
For you guys who ride with me; thank you. For you girls who brought me into the sport and encouraged me and brought boas and hair pieces and snacks for the après; a million thanks. There’s something about riding with the girls that feeds many of us. Maybe we don’t always get our heart rates up and maybe we get lost (it was probably my fault) and maybe we chat and drink coffee for way too long before getting on the trail but that’s fine by me. Cause there’s something about riding with girls. There’s something about having your girlfriend get behind you on the ground and hold you in a labor position because she knows you’ve just torn your ACL and there’s something about listening to each other’s stories (even if you’ve heard them before) and stopping on the trail for the wipe of a tear. There’s just something about it and there’s nothing quite like it.