December 17, 2010 by Natalie
A week ago today, Austin and I packed up the station wagon and took off to watch the 2010 Cyclocross Nationals in Bend Oregon.
Watching friends and pros crush through the mud and snow surrounded by the sounds of cowbells was an incredible end to what was an amazing cross season. It was a big one for us, as 2010 marked the year Sweetpea dipped her big toe in to the gooey puddle of cyclocross love. But we did not venture alone. We started a team with the LOVELY Heidi Swift, which we called the Sweetpea Ladies Auxiliary.
Until this season, I never thought of myself as a team sports kind of gal. My third grade soccer career had been marked primarily by a motivation not to let my teammates down with my lack of native talent. I encountered team sports with a keen awareness of my individual shortcomings and the value of the “good” athletes on the team. I suspect that many girls (and women) decide at a certain point that they are not athletes, and that they are not “good enough” for a team. I know I did.
Well fuck that.
Early summer, we sent out invites to a handful of women:
“You are receiving this not for you past race results, but for the style, strength, and joy you bring to cycling. We are starting a team inspired by your jaw-dropping, thunderous awesomeness and the recognition that women’s cycling deserves it’s own cozy place of ferocious style and relentless fun. We want you among our ranks for battle and friendship.”
Sense of humor on a crappy day and good conversation on a long ride aren’t the qualities that you typically look for in a stable of athletes. But they are qualities you look for in a friend. And that seemed like the most sensible place to start.
As the season wraps up, I can honestly say that we learned a lot. We learned that we need a bigger tent, a heater, and post race hot toddies. We learned that skinsuits do make you faster no matter how fast you ride, that rear derailleurs should be sold in 10-packs, and that war paint goes on fingertips. We confirmed our hunch that a battle and friendship are a powerful combo. Next year, you should join us.
Which brings me to another bit of news. Along with the team, I designed and rolled out a Team Issue cross bike. It is a bike we are calling the Boom Boom. This bike is available as a custom design only, and is delivered in just 10 weeks. It will fit you like a dream. It will get dirty. Boys will be jealous. More information here.