Women on Bikes Series: Gretchen Randolph

Meet Dirty Jane Ambassador, Gretchen Randolph!
You can check out her profile on Dirty Jane here!

When did you first start riding a bike?
I started riding a bike back in my junior year of high school!

What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
It seems that the past two years I've been riding more than ever. With the stress of life, school and work, biking is a great way to escape into nature for a few hours and put everything in to perspective. 

What would be your favorite competitive biking event and why do you enjoy competing?
My favorite event is the Silver Mountain Race Series at Silver Mountain in Kellogg, Idaho. Everyone is so supportive of each other and just there to hang out and have a good time. They're building so many new trails now I definitely recommend checking it out and the lift attendants are the nicest you'll ever meet! 

Do you remember how you felt on your first mountain bike ride?
Terrified. I hadn't ridden a bike in maybe 8 years and here was my brother telling me that this bike could roll over rocks and I wouldn't even notice. It might be because he's my brother but I definitely didn't believe him. 

If you had nervousness at all, what do you do or think to overcome it?
I sing. You'll find me on those double black diamond trails singing horribly or talking to my bike.

Do you use clipless pedals? If yes, what are some tips/suggestions for beginners that you would share? If no, are you thinking of trying it out at all?
No I don't. I have commitment issues and really don't want to be attached to my bike in case I decide not to hit a drop but my bike does. 

Your first experience with riding a drop landed you in the E.R. How did you overcome the mental/emotional/physical aspects of that accident? What helped you get back on the bike again?
My brother kept me going. He bought me peanut butter cups while in the E.R. and told me how well I was doing and I couldn't give up. A few months later, I was on top of my first real mountain following very far behind my very patient brother. 

Since that accident-have you had any other biffs that really challenged you?
Yes! I just crashed during my last race run unfortunately. I had no idea where I was and couldn't walk for about a week because of my back. It's still a struggle to sit through class sometimes. 

When you started out riding, what were some handling skills that challenged you? Do you have any suggestions for what helped you grasp them?
Drops! After that first time they scared me to death. This is terrible but I followed a guy I really liked off this massive drop up in Canada and now they don't bother me as much. I had no choice but to man up but definitely following people into things helps a lot. 

Are there still handling or technical riding aspects that you find tricky? How do you not let that drag you down when riding?
This year has been all about technical trails which can get rough. I've learned that just laughing and remembering it's all for fun helps a lot!  

What do you love about riding your bike?
I love the places I get to go, the people I get to meet, and the friends I've made. I also love that I can put on a helmet and tune out the world for 2,000 vertical feet. 

Tell us about your bike and why you chose it!
It's a Devinci Wilson or as everyone now knows it, Mr. Wilson. It's black with purple Deity components. I chose it from watching the Devinci team riders such as Tahnee Seagrave, Nick Beer and of course, Stevie and seeing their style when they ride. They're all so inspiring.

What clothing/bike accessories do you love? What would you recommend to your friends?
Troy Lee everything. Their helmets are the most comfortable ones I've ever had and they have the best colors! Also, 100% goggles are amazing. They never fog and can take some serious abuse.
How did you hear about Dirty Jane and what inspired you to become a Dirty Jane Ambassador?
I've always known about Dirty Jane and never thought I could be one of those women lucky enough to represent them. I loved the idea of a website for women riders and when I saw they were taking applications, I had to apply! Somehow, I made the cut!  

What do you feel deters women from getting involved with cycling? Especially mountain biking?
There aren't many women in our sport so it's hard to get involved unless you have someone to take you that first time. It's definitely intimidating seeing all the guys that are amazing riders your first time up!  I was always terrified of being in their way but no one ever gets mad about that which you wouldn't know until you meet them!  

What do you feel could happen to make changes and/or encourage more women to ride?
Definitely more group rides. It's much easier having an army of women with you when you're tackling the dirt for the first or millionth time.  

What inspires you to encourage women to ride?
More women need to know how amazing it is to be covered in mud in the rain! Or the adrenaline after clearing that double that's been haunting you for the past week. 

Tell us a random fact about yourself!
Uhm... I love to bake! If you ever need homemade cinnamon rolls, let me know!