Today I was “one of the boys”, and I loved it.
First of all, what I love about competing in women’s sports is just that, we are strong females that are able to use our athletic prowess for competition. I think women are incredible athletes, and I am so fortunate to participate in sport.
Men and women are obviously different genders thus the way we compete or train in our sports can be different. That being said, I was able to race with the Pro 1/2 men in an 86 mile road race. I wasn’t racing with them to prove a point, or to even contest a result. For me, it was for purely training and some speed work going in to the last part of the season. It was so much fun to sit in, and use their power and momentum over the rollers. I loved it. There wasn’t the pressure of “racing”, yet it was solid training and good practice.
My key takeaways from today are:
- Sorry boys, but the girls really do smell better. Well, at least in the US. In European racing, it may be a toss up.
- Don’t call a girl a “beast”. I can be strong, and I may even be faster at times, but I am not a “beast”. That isn’t flattering. Even though I am capable of dropping you, I am still a girl!
- I loved having a draft. The men are actually bigger than me. I didn’t even have to tuck down for a draft. Finally!
- When pumping up your tires (rare occasion for me), don’t break your valve stem 4 minutes to start time.
- Bartering PB&Co to have someone change your flat will work every time. Enjoy the peanut butter, pal!
- The race will wait for you if you flat before the start, but they didn’t wait for the guy that flatted right after me! Oops!
- Avoid men taking “nature breaks” while riding. Eek! We definitely don’t do that in the women’s field! Get out of the way, and don’t look!
- I am pretty sure I saw my ob/gyn doctor’s name on the back of some guys kit. Why is he sponsoring a men’s cycling team?
- I appreciated the offers to be “led out” for today’s sprint…but maybe I will take you up on that next time. Maybe.
- When we finished 86 miles in just over 3 hours…I was pretty happy to be “one of the boys” today. Clocked in, clocked out, went to Sonic.
At the end of it all, it was a good day in the office. Now, I don’t know how much of my excellent position was due to my professional bike handling, or the blonde ponytail weaving through a men’s field, but I will take it.