Putting together “Case Of The Nomads” has taken a LOT of networking. Which I’m cool with cause I’m actually pretty good at and it’s fun….well most of the time. When I saw that Sea Otter, a very large bike event in Monterey California, was an event that a bunch of bikers I wanted to or will see while on the road were going to, I thought I gotta go!! Time to put those networking skills at work!! Plus It would not only allow me to finally put a face with my name but I would be surrounded by everything bikes. Yes please!!
Before leaving for the Otter I reached out to the bikers I wanted to meet up with. I was excited they could connect but they all suggested meeting at the same time/day for a ride. How odd. This seemed like a very strange coincidence. It would end up that most of these bikers were connected to the Rebecca Rusch’s SRAM Gold Rusch Tour. This tour is put on by Rebecca and her team to try and get more women involved in mountain biking by providing lady only technique clinics, group rides and other great events. SCRAM is a bike company that sponsors this tour.
I’ve never been the one to say I’m riding with all girls or all guys. I ride with people that I want to ride with, gender isn’t taken into consideration. I like riding with people that want to have fun, can take care of themselves and have a positive attitude. I’ve ridden with my fair share of bikers that I would choose not to ride with again or won’t. It happens and that’s okay. But it never has to do with gender. I do find myself riding with guys more only because the guys I ride with are fun, badass, a bit crazy and let me ride. There are plenty of ladies like this too. And plenty of guys that will puss out at the smallest things. Again, has nothing to do with gender but about the biker. Anyways back to the Otter.
With the idea of signing up for some of these events made me nervous since it would be all women. Women in mountain biking is huge right now and I think the more people on bikes the better but I did’t care about the womens movement, or do I?
As walked my hardtail Surly Karate Monkey through the Sea Otter crowd I got comments about how beat up my bike looked. No one had a Surly there. My steel beast has been through a lot and yes a new giant full suspension bike weighs less than my bike, it makes no difference to me. This stead has kept me safe during Syllamo’s Revenge, AIDS Lifecycle and the streets of LA, she’s a damn keeper!! The punk inside me lifted up my head and I proudly walked to the SRAM tent to meet another testing of my ego. Once I approached the enormous sea of ladies I was told to pick up a nameplate, write my name on it and put it on my bike. “Oh shit”, I thought, “here we go, but whatever happens I'm NOT drinking their Kool-Aid.”
Once we headed up to the hill for a skills clinic I wanted to turn around. I didn’t want anything to do with this “ladies” tour. I was nervous, a little scared and feeling very venerable which makes me more nervous and scared. The only think that kept me going was the thought of “Why not try something new, you only have to do it once and who knows what could happen.”
After about an hour we had finished 4 rotations of different skills training : cornering, breaking, mini jumps and lifting your bike over obstacles. I gotta say I learned a ton but still wasn’t sold. I loved that these kickass, talented ladies wanted to help others get into this rad sport but why separate women? I spend the next few days trying to answer this question while I attended a cocktail hour, group ride and mechanics clinic all through the Gold Rusch Tour.
Then other questions started to pop up. Why do we have to separate? Who set the dividing line in the first place? Yes, guys didn’t always want to ride with me at first til they found out that I’m tough and can hold my own but this wasn’t about gender for them, or was it?? Did I choose to ride with guys for the same reason? Was I just as guilty with dividing the line? With all these questions I dug in deep. I wanted to know the answer, my answer. This was a question I have been faced with most of my life. I grew up in a house that didn’t focus on gender. You’re ability to do or not do something was based on you as a person. It wasn’t until I started school that gender became more than just biology.
That’s it. It’s just that…biology. The reason I found myself learning much better from these ladies was because we are built the same. Physically women are built with stronger legs than arms. So when lifting my bike up it helps to use my legs as well, it was no wonder I hurt myself when a guy friend helped teach me the same technique but using only my upper body. I’m not built that way, he is.
I was dumbfounded when I realized this. Y’all my say “duh Casey!!! What took you soo long!!!” but I never thought about it that way. This experience of riding with the Gold Rusch Tour with all these rad ladies finally helped me understand that the line between genders is actually not a line at all. It's just a list of how we physically are different. After that I stood in line, I stood tall and I stood proud as I waited in line to drink up my Kool-Aid, which was nothing more than just that, Kool-Aid.
Thank you to all the ladies who helped with the SRAM Gold Rusch Tour especially Kat Sweet, Leigh Donovan, Lindsey Voreis, Rebecca Rusch, Sara Jarrell, Vanessa Hauswald, Katie Holden, Allison Jones, Nicole Duke, Emily Kachorek, Kelli Emmett, Chloe Woodruff and Colleen Quindlen and I look forward to seeing you all at Crankworx in BC and in Ketchum at Rebecca’s Wheel Girls Program.