Women Involved Series: Shannon Renick

Meet Team Tough Chik Co-Captain, Shannon Renick! Shannon is passionate about many things, especially encouraging women to get out there and pursue the things they love.

Keep up with Team Trough Chik on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

You are the team co-captain for Team Tough Chik...tell us about Team Tough Chik and what it's all about!
Team Tough Chik is a group of 280 women from all over the world that race for Team Tough Chik. We are runners, cyclist and triathlete competing in everything from 5ks and color runs to Ironman triathlons and ultra-distance runs, we even have a professional archer.

We come from all walks of life with the same goal: to go out, get active and have fun. We don’t care how fast you are or how expensive your bike is, we just encourage all women to go out and get active. We foster friendships and active lifestyles. Since we come from all different backgrounds and experience levels, no matter what you are going through…someone on the team has been there. Got an injury?  Someone has had it!  Just signed up for a new race? Most likely, someone has raced it! Traveling to a new city? I bet ya someone on the team lives there or has lived there and can recommend a good coffee shop!

What are your goals for Team Tough Chik?
World domination! Seriously, I want to create a positive place where women feel free to express themselves and know that they will always find an encouraging word, a shoulder to cry on and a good laugh. I would also love to see more mountain bikers and gravity riders on the team. We love diversity!

What have been some of your successes so far?
I have run marathons, ridden centuries, raced half-Ironman triathlons, but I have to say that my team is one of my greatest successes. My co-captain, Angela Ireton, and I started the team in 2012 with the hopes of 50 members.
That year we ended up with 170. In two years we are at 280 and in 2015 we predict that we will break 300!
With that many members, we have never lost focus on keeping the team a positive and encouraging group with no judgment! I think that is pretty special.

What do you feel deters some women from wanting to ride a bicycle? What are some things you feel could change?
I feel that getting on a bike for the first time can be very intimidating, especially if you do not have a friend or family member who currently rides to guide you. Bike shops can be intimidating and you might feel very overwhelmed with the choices and the cost. Blogs like yours that break down the barriers and educate women on cycling greatly help. We are also seeing women’s specific or woman-centric bike shops pop up, and I think that will go a long way to getting women comfortable walking in a bike shop and asking questions.

What do you feel would encourage more women to get involved with cycling?
I think each one of us can do our part by either getting a girlfriend out on a bike path or getting involved in an outreach program. If we can make the sport more approachable, I think that will help tremendously. Let a friend borrow that bike that has been sitting in your garage!  You never know who you can inspire.

What would be some advice for someone who is new to riding (in general)?
Invest is a good saddle and a good pair of shorts. You will be saddle sore in the beginning, but it won’t last if you have a good saddle and short. Bigger isn’t always better, so don’t run out and buy the cushiest saddle on the market. Give cycling half a chance, and the only way that will happen is if it doesn’t always hurt.

What would be some advice for someone new to Tri's or Road biking?
Find a beginners group ride. At the beginning you are not going to want to ride with other people because you are afraid you are too slow or will fall while clipping in. Get over it!  We all started there, no one was riding a bike at birth, so we all were the slowest at one point and we all did the slow motion fall at a light trying to clip out. The knowledge and support you will get from a group of cyclist will outweigh the hurt ego and skinned knee!

What is a fun fact/tidbit about you that some people may or may not know?
I love football, college and professional and I am very excited for the season to start. I have to coordinate the DVR and game watching with my weekend rides!