What does a girl have to do if she wants marriage proposals, arm wrestling contests, shock and awe accolades, and (sadly) trail blocking and really strange behavior?
Simple: Pass a guy on the trail or in a race.
If you’re the dude and we pass you, you just got chicked…and I chicked a few guys while racing on a co-ed duo team with my race partner, Mario Correa this summer at the inaugural Breck Epic. Ã‚Â I had some pretty colorful comments and antics and figured there had to be something to this. Ã‚Â So, I asked a few VERY fast women about what happens when when they take the lead in a ride or a race, and I asked some men what is was like to ride co-ed when their partner passes a guy.
Here’s what they all had to say:
Dave Harris couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t ask for a better partner is his epic escapades: He races with the formidable Lynda Wallenfels who chicked the entire men’s single speed solo class of 30 riders at the 24 hrs of Old Pueblo this year.Ã‚Â HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what Dave had to say about racing with Lynda Wallenfels:
DAVE: When she passes guys in races (and often riding at/near the front of the race) she seems to be asked if sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s single. A lot!
In TransRockies last year we rode SS. There are a lot of flats in TR but you really have to gear for the climbs so weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d find ourselves working through the field after the spun out flats. Sometimes we went by big groups of guys like they were motionlessÃ¢â‚¬Â¦on day 2 as I go by a team on a fireroad climb one guy whispers to his teammate Ã¢â‚¬Å“we just got passed by a dude on a SS!Ã¢â‚¬Â, LW right behind me heard the exchange and says Ã¢â‚¬Å“wait, it gets better!Ã¢â‚¬Â. All I recall from that guy was a groan after thatÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
TransRockies Ã¢â‚¬â„¢06 we won the open mixed field. LW was fast as ever for that race. On day 4 we had some very difficult climbing Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and we were right at the front of the race. This climb was clearly hike a bike and everyone was getting off and running/pushing up this bear of a hill Ã¢â‚¬â€œ all but LW who zipped on up past everyone. This guy shouts out Ã¢â‚¬Å“how much do you weigh!Ã¢â‚¬Â as if she was only able to ride that hill cause she was helium filled or something. The girl is strong!
LYNDA: At Vision Quest in 2008 we had a terrible start arriving a bit late and ended up at the back of the pack staging. We were mowing up through the field on the first climb and I was riding on DaveÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wheel. This dude we passed shouts up after me Ã¢â‚¬Å“wow props for the singleÃ¢â‚¬Â then a moment later he shouts Ã¢â‚¬Å“hey are you dating anyoneÃ¢â‚¬Â and Dave puts his hand in the air and shouts Ã¢â‚¬Å“yeah meÃ¢â‚¬Â and the dude says Ã¢â‚¬Å“awwÃ¢â‚¬Â. It was a funny moment
Next, I asked Greg Martin what is was like to ride with recent podium girl Rebecca Rusch:
GREG: For the most part, I’d say the guys are pretty respectful of her, especially now that she’s more of a known entity. There was one instance in La Ruta 2006 where this Tico (name for the native Costa Ricans) guy was determined to not let her pass him. The course went from double track gravel road to single file through some railroad sections. This guy would fall back on the road sections and then sprint up in front of Reba and cut her off going into the single file sections. Then he’d slow down and she would try to get around him. He couldn’t go fast, but he didn’t want her to pass him. This happened several times over the course of 10-15 miles. I commented about it to Reba and she said it wasn’t the first time she’d been treated like that in the race. After that, he and I exchanged some words in our native languages for a bit. After we got to the final road section in to the finish, he wouldn’t do any work. He wanted to just sit on my wheel.
Ultimately, neither Reba or I wanted to ride near this guy because he was so “twitchy” and unpredictable that he was a danger to the group. So, I told Reba to go on with a couple of other guys in the group and I dropped back with this guy. After the group got out of sight, I dropped him and bridged back up to the group. In the end, she finished the stage 10-15 minutes ahead of him. It was pretty funny and really strange behavior.
I’m sure she’s had more instances of “machismo gone wild” but this was the most obvious case I’ve witnessed.
I tend to hear “Good Job Man!” I guess I look like a guy sometimes, or they just canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t believe they are being passed by a woman. (Rebecca’s website is here)
I think one thing thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s funny though, is the wide variation in responses. Sometimes when guys realize you are a chick and that you are leading or close to leading a race, they are super gracious, totally ego-less, pull over and are very encouraging and supportive. And then there are the others…the guys whose immediate response when realizing they are getting passed by a chick is either to start pedalling faster (and usually get super sloppy) or they just refuse to pull over. At this point, I usually get flustered and start riding like crap too because I freak out knowing my competition is now getting the benefit of catching me. I like to collect myself, start riding sanely again and proceed to ride the guyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wheel like itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s my job – just stick to it like glue, Ã¢â‚¬Ëœtil he gets uncomfortable and hopefully letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s me by.
When I lived in San Francisco I used to go for mountain bike rides in Golden Gate Park. The singletrack is really fun and there are some flowy sections that you can really rail. I remember once flying around a corner and ending up in an impromptu homeless camp. There were about five homeless guys sitting around completely wasted (on who knows what). They immediately began shouting and slurring but really encouraging things…, Ã¢â‚¬Å“You gooooo girrrrrrl!Ã¢â‚¬Â Priceless. (Sarah’s blog is here)
A lot of guys get weird about being chicked, but I had one dude point out that heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d rather look at my rear than his buddies…..and that heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d rather get passed on a bike than beaten arm wrestling!
James Herrera keeps some pretty fast female company, riding with the likes of Kelli Emmett, Alison Dunlap, and Katie Compton. How does a strong male rider deal with getting chicked on a regular basis?
This was a casual ride (birthday ride actually) with an older friend of James and I and some of his Ã¢â‚¬Å“olderÃ¢â‚¬Â buddies. As is often the case I was the only girl on the ride. On the first major descent of the ride, James Herrea takes the lead and I quickly jump in behind him having already assessed that I can descend better than the rest of the boysÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ Another guy drops in behind me, obviously a little peeved that I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t let him go ahead (he had already made some snide remarks)Ã¢â‚¬Â¦. James and I are hanging, having fun, he is slowly losing ground. Finally James and I stop to wait up for the group, he comes up and says something like, Ã¢â‚¬Å“wow, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve never see a girl who could descend that fastÃ¢â‚¬Â (a back handed comment which came out sounding like, you descend pretty good for a girlÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ ). Needless to say, James couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t resist making off handed remarks about my descending skills the rest of the ride, all within ear shot of this guy.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I never had a girl kick my ass before.Ã¢â‚¬Â I told him he better get used to it if he wanted to keep riding with me..
I had a guy ask me to marry him after I passed him on a climb in 24 hrs of Canaan. Another one that I remember well was one guy said to a friend of mine during a cx race I was winning, Ã¢â‚¬Å“damn, sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fast for a big girl!Ã¢â‚¬Â The guy didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t realize the person he was talking to was a good fiend of mine. Thought that was pretty damn funny.
Man to my sister- “Hey, your sister’s not very nice”.
Sister- “Why not?”
Man- “When she passed me she didn’t even say hi or anything. She just flew by and said something like Dude on your left. That’s not nice.”
That was during a mtn bike race this year in Fruita.
When I mentioned to my racing partner Mario Correa that I got stuck behind someone during a race, I think it was pretty hard for him to fathom (typically he doesn’t get stuck behind anyone)… Ã‚Â until we did the Breck Epic, where we rode my pace, which is not his pace.Ã‚Â During that race I got a wide range of comments and reactions. Some complimentary and some very peculiar. I asked Mario what it was like to race with me in the front.
MARIO: Racing in the mixed duo category was a fun experience. Each day Heidi and I joined 100+ fellow adventurers to ride the fantastic singletrack and delight in the expansive views that onlyÃ‚Â the Rockies can offer. There were a great number of riders from all over and all were friendly, butÃ‚Â some had a Jekyll and Hyde transformation once they dawned their kits and hopped on their bikes; they turned into trail egomaniacs.
We would come upon these types of riders and they’d increase the pace once she passedÃ‚Â and would do their best to try and stay ahead. The first few times it didn’t bother me,Ã‚Â but once it became a pattern and started to interfere with our rhythm it began to testÃ‚Â my patience. When there was singletrack ahead these guys would kill themselvesÃ‚Â to get to the bottleneck first and subsequently they wouldn’t have enough energy toÃ‚Â keep up the good pace. We’d catch them but they wouldn’t or couldn’t move over to letÃ‚Â us pass so we had sit back until the trail opened up.
I had never encountered such a resistance to, almost a fear of, being passed, but thenÃ‚Â again I’m a guy. I figured it had to be an ego thing and in this case these riders had egos that far exceeded their strength and skill on the bike. The whole situation was silly; a strong rider is a strong rider, muscle has no sex. It was rare to hear words of encouragement as Heidi passed, but there was never any lack of reasons or excuses to “explain” their riding condition. It’s as if there were there were two “classes” of riders and one didn’t really have respect for the other.
I once had the good fortune of staying in the same bed and breakfast as ThomasÃ‚Â Frischknecht, former world champion, and Tinker Juarez down in Costa Rica at La Ruta.Ã‚Â After one of the stages, I was enjoying a beer with Tinker and a couple other riders reviewing the day when Thomas walked by our table. I observed the interaction between these two phenomenal riders and there was nothing but great mutual respect, each complementing and congratulating the other. There were absolutely no egos involved.