Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Women Involved Series: Adrienne Bee Lane

I am part of Sturdy Bitch Racing, a small, grassroots, all-women mountain bike race team based out of Seattle, WA. I’ve been riding for about 10 years now (!) and love being out in the mountains on my bike.

I’ve competed in all kinds of races, including the BC Bike Race in 2013. In 2014 I had a baby, which has definitely impacted my saddle time.

As a part of Study Bitch Racing I love getting more women involved in riding and racing.

To further this goal in 2014 we put on the Sturdy Dirty Enduro, a women’s only enduro race that sold out with 125 riders – it was awesome! When I’m not riding my bike, trail running, or skiing, I can usually be found hanging out with my baby and husband or drinking a beer… or both.

When we opened registration for the Sturdy Dirty (2015) it sold out in 8 days with 215 women registered! When we approached a local race director for advice when planning the first Sturdy Dirty he suggested that we could only expect to get maybe 50 women to a race - ha! 

We held our first organized pre-ride of the race course last weekend and we had 30 women from 3 states. It was fantastic! Everyone came away having conquered a feature that they'd been struggling with.  

You are the team leader of the Sturdy Bitch Racing, tell us about your team and why they are so vital.
We’re a small group of ladies who like riding and racing together and are motivated to expand the women’s biking community. We host women’s rides, bike maintenance clinics, support women’s events, do trail work, and organize the Sturdy Dirty Enduro, a women’s only race. For a few years we were the only women’s group hosting regular women’s rides. Recently a local Muddbunnies chapter opened up, which is awesome, and now we are able to focus more on promoting racing within the women’s bike community while the Muddbunnies focus on leading weekly rides.
We also represent our awesome sponsors Sturdy Bitch Clothing, Race Face, Georgetown Brewing, Dumonde Tech Lube, and Big Tree Bikes.

Tell us about your partnership with the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, why is it beneficial for both Sturdy Bitch Racing and EMBA?
Evergreen is the local trail advocacy group. They have done a fantastic job opening up trail access throughout Washington, particularly on Tiger Mountain and with the creation of Duthie Park. As a partner with Evergreen they are able to help us navigate a lot of the legal aspect of race promotion (insurance, permits, etc.) and in return we help get more women out on the trails.

Why should women seek out local riding groups in their area? What do you feel are the benefits?
Women’s groups are great! It is a fantastic way to meet new friends, find new trails, and improve your skills.

Tell us about the Sturdy Dirty Enduro! How did it get started?
In 2013 a few friends and I travelled up to Squamish, BC for the Hot On Your Heels women’s only enduro. It was tons of fun and made me wonder why there wasn’t anything like that down in the states. I proposed the idea of trying to put on a women’s only race to the other Sturdy Bitches and everyone was in. We had absolutely no idea what we were doing, but with the help of our friends and other race directors we got the ball rolling. We spent countless hours researching, planning, course planning/riding, and generally scheming. It was more work than any of us anticipated, but totally worth it.

Why do you feel Sturdy Dirty Enduro was such a success?
Well, I think it was successful for a number of reasons, but the main reason is because our #1 goal was to make the race fun.
Other reasons why the race was a success: a bacon aid-station, a mid-transition dance party, tequila shots, fantastic food, tons of shwag, and the best volunteers ever.


Why do you feel so many people supported a Women's Only Enduro race?
I think that a lot of people really want to support women riding, but don’t always know how. The race provided an outlet for support while still being fun and a little bit competitive.

What would you like Sturdy Bitch Racing to accomplish in the next 5 years?
We would like the Sturdy Dirty to keep drawing women into racing, not only by participating in our race, but in other local races as well. As a team we want to keep supporting women riders by leading group rides and trail building parties. We would also like to keep racing ourselves, including possibly doing another stage race in 2016.

What do you feel deters women from getting involved with cycling? Especially mountain biking?
Oh man… I think that the barrier for entry into mountain biking for a lot of girls is really high. As girls we are taught from a young age to be “pretty” and mountain biking is not a pretty sport. Mountain bikers get sweaty, dirty, and bloody. It is not just hard, it’s messy, and I think that that turns some girls off. This is not to say that mountain biking and being “pretty” are mutually exclusive – they’re not; but you do have to deal with some mosquito bites, scratches, and sweat. 
Mountain biking can also be expensive. New full-suspension mountain bikes are $2,500 to $6,000. Then you have helmets, pads, chamois, shoes… it adds up fast. It’s a lot to invest in a sport if you don’t know that you’re going to love it. Of course there are lots of ways to shave down the expenses, but still it creates a significant hurdle. 

What do you feel could happen to make changes and/or encourage more women to ride?
I think there is a lot of room for change. Although the bike industry is taking steps towards recognizing the growing number of women who ride, there is still a long way to go. But I think that the greatest problem is how society views women in general as less-capable, less worthy of attention, and as sexual objects. One thing that seriously pisses me off is when I’m watching the DH World Cup live footage they always cut the women short. You never see a full run. I want to watch the ladies!!! 
What inspires you to encourage women to ride?
The huge smiles.

Tell us a random fact about yourself!
I’m obsessed with Dr. Pepper chapstick.

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