After years of watching men conquer mountains on TV, I finally had the chance to witness a women’s race for the first time last June in Philly. Sure the men were racing at the same time (or there wouldn’t have been a race), but there was something about the grit and emotion everyone could feel as the women battled up the course’s famous Manayunk Wall. The male spectators surrounding me were captivated as well. Every time the women’s peloton passed, we yelled and cheered until our voices were raspy.
Since I first began cycling I always compared my body and my performance to men because I had nothing better to go on, but as I watched these women, I suddenly felt at home. They weren’t rail-thin like most of their male counterparts and I could feel their suffering in my own legs as they charged over the monstrous climb. This has been a tough year for cycling, as so many were dumbstruck by the sudden fall of their heroes. I never yearned to be like them, nor could I ever relate to those guys in the least. This is why women’s racing is so necessary and we all need to hear of cycling’s success stories in order to help launch our own. Continue reading