Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Women Involved Series: Tiffanie Beal

I am 32 years old, originally from the Seattle area and a Colorado resident since 2000. Something about Colorado called to me and sight unseen I hauled my few possessions to Boulder and never looked back. 
My outdoor passions include mountain biking, trail running, backcountry skiing, camping, orienteering, and basically anything outdoors. When I’m not outside I am most likely cooking or reading a book. 
Working full time at IMBA, I get to live my 9-5 weekday supporting one of my biggest passions.

A back injury prevented you from going pro; could you tell us about the experience and how healing took place on a physical/emotional level?
I was devastated and the emotional toll was hard. I felt like everything had been taken away from me just as I was getting to transition into a higher level of competition. The first two years I couldn't get on a bike at all as the pain was too great. 

The year after I could ride short bits, and then this past year has finally been a year where I feel like my old self. 

As I look back to when it happened 4.5 years ago, I have much better clarity. I value the simple act of being able to sit on a bike. My identity focused around being fast and being a racer, and when that was taken away I realized how incredibly special it is just to be a cyclist. 

Do you feel even tho an opportunity was unable to come to fruition, which you were able to find new doors to open career-wise?
My injury closed one door, but I had always planned to continue with my full-time job so nothing really changed career-wise. I'm just not using all my vacation for racing like I used to! 
What advice or words of wisdom would you give someone who has had a substantial bike biff and have a healing process to go through?

Things happen for a reason. So take a deep breath and listen, in time you'll understand. You may get back to biking, or you may find something else just as fulfilling.

Tell us about how you got involved with IMBA and what inspired you to take on your job as Finance Administrator?
I've worked for years in the outdoor industry and knew people at IMBA, and when they had an opening I applied. Beginning in member services, then chapter services, I eventually found the Finance department. It's interesting to learn about an organization from a financial point of view and I'm enjoying learning this aspect. My goal is to always be learning something new.

Tell us why IMBA is such a great organization to work for-
I get to work for something I believe in and with a group of people that believe in the same things I do. I find that pretty rare, and it's an awesome thing!

In your words, why should people get involved with IMBA?
If you ride and you care about the places you play, you need to be a part of the support and own the responsibility of your passions.

You also help out with the Dig In blog, why do you feel a blog sharing the stories/experiences of women who mountain bike is so important?
I am so grateful to have found this sport and activity, and I think there are so many other women out there that could feel the same way I do. I want to further the movement to get women active and passionate about bikes. 

What do you feel deters women from getting involved with cycling? Especially mountain biking?
I think it may be intimidating. However, a group of really fun and patient guys taught me how to mountain bike; they helped me to not feel intimidated and instead embrace the sport that they obviously loved so much. I just wanted to keep up so I could have as much fun as them. For me, being left behind at home would be worse than trying. 

What do you feel could happen to make changes and/or encourage more women to ride?
I don't think mountain biking should be intimidating. The more we show women of all abilities and ages on bikes through photos, blogs, articles, and racing, the more accepted it is to see a woman mountain biking and the more accessible the sport will be for other women. At least I hope. 

What inspires you to encourage women to ride?
Because women are awesome and so is mountain biking. 

Tell us a random fact about yourself!
You can get me to ride anything if you promise me a chocolate bar at the end.

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