Thursday, September 24, 2015

Trails, Trips and Tractors

Now that I've finished my rant, we can catch up on what I was really doing the last couple of months. 

After the DNF of crabbiness, I decided if I was going to complain about races and trails too hard to ride, perhaps I should take some action, so I took the IMBA trail building class. In case you're wondering, the boys stood around all day while I built the whole trail myself.
Ok, fine, that's a lie. Someone just happened to catch the one moment all day when I was working and DG wasn't. Truth be told, he built that whole section of trail himself. I spent most of the day learning how to use a shovel.

Two weeks later, I took a trip back to my favorite place on earth, this time to relax instead of race. First, I hijacked this cushy ride to have some mimosas on the beach. (Turns out you aren't supposed to bring glass bottles to the beach. Good thing the champagne was gone when we found this out.)
Then, I raided the coolest little library ever.
Finally I did at least one serious ride to prove to myself that I've picked up enough skills in the past year to ride stuff I used to walk.
 Oh how I've missed these trails....
 Our final trip of the summer took us to a friend's lake house, where Big E made himself right at home on the tractor.
 We also nearly sunk a pontoon boat, shot lots of cool guns and drank way too much whiskey. Never a dull moment.

Seriously, even at home there's never a dull moment. I'm just sparing you the blackmail pics I'm collecting of Big E to get him back for his late night antics.....

Thursday, September 17, 2015

It's Not About the Socks

Disclaimer: I do not have any affiliation with Save Our Soles. All opinions here are mine, not theirs. In fact, at this moment I don't even have permission yet to use the pic I stole from one of their reps on Facebook. So, please don't take it out on them if you disagree. That's all on me. 
When I don't blog for awhile there is always a reason. I love it when that reason is because I'm busy living hard. Unfortunately that is not always the case.

This last blog silence has been a long one. To be honest, I wasn't even really sure why I had nothing to say at first. I like writing. I compose blog posts in my head during runs and rides. Then I come home and don't write them.


Because I'm afraid of offending people. Every day I read something new about someone, somewhere who's offended about something and I think to myself, "Wow, if they were offended by that, people are REALLY going to be offended by what I was just going to write." So I don't.

That's a problem. It's a problem for many reasons, but the main one is this- this is MY blog and I've let my fear of the haters of the world, the easily offended, the whiners, turn me into a pussy. Yes, that is right- I just called myself a pussy. I'm really disappointed in myself. I've always considered myself a strong, independent woman and in the last two months I've become someone who is afraid to speak.

Please notice how I worded that- I said, "I've become," not, "The world has turned me into." I'm owning this because if there's one thing in life I've learned, it's this- there is really only one person in this world I can change and that is me.  I can sit around and whine and blame the world for my pussiness or I can accept that I chose it and start to change it, right now.

So, that said, you have been fairly warned. I am now going to speak my mind.  What I write is my opinion. I won't hate you if you disagree. I won't propose to write anything here and speak for "all women" or "all cyclists" or "everyone" because what bugs me the most about the issue I'm about to address is that other people are doing just that- and I can assure you they don't speak for me.

Now, let's get to the hot topic so I can piss some people off.  Over the last two days a certain pair of socks that was handed out at Interbike has caused quite a stir in the cycling community.
Photo: Lauren Swigart
The sock company, Save Our Soles, is taking a lot of heat for using "sex" to sell their products. Quite frankly, I think the socks are funny.

Why? Because I also think these socks are funny:

And I actually own of pair of these. They happen to be my favorite socks:
I get it- neither of these actually shows a man's body and the Save Our Soles socks do, in fact, show women's butts. However, my point is this- not every product that alludes to sex or naked bodies is targeted at women.  Sex obviously sells, whether it's a product with humping bunnies, jokes about weiners or women's butts. It's all in good fun.

One of the main outcries over these booty socks is that they objectify women, they create an environment where we love women for their bodies and not for what they are on the inside. 

Wow- that's a lot of weight to put on a silly pair of socks.

I'm going to propose a different take on this "environment" and how we, as women, can change it instead of expecting companies to do it for us. The outcry seems to be that we want to be equal. So, if that's the case, let's start acting like it. Let's try a few of these:

Let's all learn to work on our own bike. Let's stop batting our eyelashes and hoping some dude changes our flat tire or gives us a discount. I've worked in three bike shops so yes, I've seen this happen. More times than you could possibly imagine.

Let's stop bitching about equal  prize money and show up in overwhelming numbers to the races that do offer this. I made over $900 racing my bike in June and I'm not even that fast. Want to know why? I showed up to six races that offered equal prize money to women. Guess how many times we had enough women to fill the money spots. One.

Let's stop showing up to races with our guy and riding with him the whole race.  If we're all equal, then we shouldn't need a guy to let us ride his wheel so we can win the race.

Let's quit dressing and acting in ways that objectify our own selves. If you don't want booties and boobies used for advertising, quit using yours for attention. Trust me, I've seen some of you toss yours around plenty of times at races.  Personally I'm not offended by this, but if you are, don't put it out there and then be mad because someone shows appreciation for it.

Let's treat each other with respect. Nearly every time I race, a fellow female competitor (or, I hate to admit, occasionally myself) trashes another female behind her back. The men notice this and trust me, the don't respect us for it.

So, if you still don't ever want to buy Save Our Soles socks again, that's your right. Trust me, there's a certain bike company out there that lost my business based on their reaction to the situation. However, that said, I hope you also take a good hard look at your actions and make sure they're not part of the problem, because in the end, the only one you can change is you, and you might be surprised. When you do, people just might start to notice how awesome you are. On the inside.