A few years ago, my mom went on a week-long cycling trip. It was from my home town Prince George, BC, in Canada to Banff, an amazing National park around 350 miles away. It was a group trip. The experience empowered her. Before this, she rode her bike an hour here and there, to/from local lakes and back home. But it was this trip, that changed her. She came back from that trip with new friendships and a sense of confidence I have never seen from her. It made me smile from the inside.
As female cyclists, we know the joy that comes from riding a bike. The independence cycling provides. The confidence and self-empowerment we feel when we ride. I started my career at a triathlon camp that had a century ride as part of it. It was my first. I managed to stay with the men and rode all 100 miles proving I belonged. And that I did.
International Women’s Day 2019 is bringing gender-balance into action. #BalanceforBetter.
The two stories above – my mom’s discovery of her own confidence and empowerment, my desire to belong in a ride – we all face these. Bikes Empower women. And communities help make us thrive. IRACELIKEAGIRL is a women’s triathlon community that empowers our team members to challenge themselves in sport, encourages one another and promote change. With female participation in the sport of triathlon hovering around 37 percent, it’s a mission for us to inspire more women to participate in our sport. Our goal is to provide a space for women to connect and be a team, regardless of skill, ability, and experience. Every month we offer a variety of challenges, social events, meetups, forum conversations, and support. I’ve personally connected with many women on the team and am so grateful to have the connections and ability to bring women together – all thanks to the power found in cycling and triathlon.
Whether it be triathlon and/or cycling, the bike has a way to form friendships and memories. Going on a cycling trip, doing a triathlon together – the journey along the way, can create change and empower. Communities are the backbone of triathlon/cycling. Triathlon may not be a true ‘team sport,’ but it is a community sport. We might be out racing the course as an individual, but the struggle and fight we all experience throughout the race, and frequently in training, is shared. If you’ve participated in or even viewed any race, it’s easy to see the camaraderie among the competitors and spectators alike. The energy is addicting!
When you combine all of that with the power of a team, that energy becomes electric. When I first founded IRACELIKEAGIRL two years ago, it was based on the idea of building a community much more significant than myself to connect other women, support and inspire each other with camaraderie, education, and connection at races and in training. Now in our third year, we’ve created a dominant community in triathlon where women globally are connecting, meeting up and supporting each other, in triathlon and beyond.
As a professional woman athlete, I believe I have a responsibility to help women succeed in sport. I want to encourage women new to the sport and help support established athletes alike. IRACELIKEAGIRL is a community of women and girls, providing this sort to encouragement for female triathletes, runners, cyclists, and endurance athletes. We ride/run/tri/RACE like a girl, and our mission is to bring equality to women in sport. #iracelikeagirl. #balanceforbetter