Being a girl in a “boy’s” sport is honestly the best. You know why? Because girls are supposed to be weaker than boys! But you know what, the satisfaction of passing a boy or leading a group up a climb is amazing. I love showing the boys that I’m just as good as them. At races, I love catching and passing riders who are ahead of me. It’s a great feeling! Since mountain biking is a male-dominated sport, generally there aren’t as many girls on the teams as I would like. We are one of the few high school teams that have an above-average number of girls and luckily, we’re all pretty fast, proving that girls aren’t as fragile as we look. I come home with scratches on my legs and dirt on my face, nearly every time I go out riding and I love it!
You see, when I first joined the Park City MTB team two years ago, I dreaded going to every practice and knew I wasn’t going to race. I was finally persuaded to race that season and absolutely fell in love with it. Here I am on my third season loving every single bit of it. I made some of my closest friends through this sport, and I recently got 19th out of 44 girls in a race this season. The races have become my favorite part of the sport for many reasons.
For one, all the girls on my team come together and make tutus that we race in! Another is how our whole team hangs out, talks, and encourages each other out on the course. My best friend and I scream our hearts out when we see our team members racing, and we’ve had people comment on our cheering. Saying things like “Wow! Maybe we should pay you girls to cheer for our team!” Which is personally one of my favorite quotes. I also love meeting other girls from different teams and encouraging each other to make it to the finish line. At my second race this season, a girl from a different team fell down a cliffside, and everyone else kept going. I stopped and helped her up and calmed her down from a panic attack. Soon she passed me, and the first thing I thought was not “how rude, I helped her, and this is how she repays me?” It was “YES! YOU GO GIRL!!” and thinking how much of a good rider she was. Finally, the finish. The race is tough and my legs start to burn, and I get scared of the downhill. I finish even though I’m out of breath, and very tired, and my legs feel like jelly. It’s the best even though halfway through the race I don’t think I am going to make it. Passing the finish line and knowing that I can rest easy is a great feeling.
So yes, being a girl in a boy’s sport is hard, and it can hurt, and you will get dirty. In my opinion, the friends you make, the people you meet, the adrenaline that rushes through you, is the best feeling in the world.
Sophomore Rider, Park City High School – Utah North Region