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Get Out There

(page 5 of 8)

RIDE LIKE A GIRL!
Ladies Have Fun, Too

It’s fun to be a sweet girl and then go play in the mud, get all dirty and show the boys how to really ride a bike—and that’s what mountain biking with the Mud Honeys is all about.

Being a member of the Mud Honey Cycling Team means that a mildly talented rider like myself has a chance to ride with and become as fierce a competitor as local bad asses like Simone Kastner (the Super D National Champion), Brooke Hovey (the XC National Champion) and Karoline Droege, to name a few. While I wouldn’t exactly call my near-last-place finishes a threat to anyone, I am out there. I am riding. I am racing. And I am having the time of my life.

While bicycling offers something for everyone—you can ride when you’re young and you can ride when you’re old, you can ride a road or BMX bike, a single speed or a cross bike—there’s something about mountain biking that brings out the need for a little (or sometimes a lot) of self-induced torture. Cross country, downhill, short track—whatever style you choose—nothing beats the rush of single track and the mind-boggling speed it can offer.

Unfortunately, mountain biking has long been male-dominated, a sport “for the boys.” Luckily, a group of local women started asking, “Why are we leaving all that excitement for the boys?” And thus the idea for the Mud Honey Cycling Team. It’s an all-women’s race team designed to break down barriers, build self-esteem and encourage women to test their limits.

Mud Honey India Wysong cruising Lane’s Trail in Adams Gulch. Photo by Tom Robertson.

Mud Honey India Wysong cruising Lane’s Trail in Adams Gulch. Photo by Tom Robertson.

 

“It never even dawned on me that you’d ride a bike on the road,” said India Wysong, founder of the Mud Honeys.

India picked up her first mountain bike in 2000, when a co-worker in Vail asked her to join the town race series team. After trading over a Ralph Lauren jacket and a couple hundred bucks, she had her first mountain bike. Granted, it was two sizes too small, but that didn’t stop her from being totally engulfed by the sport. That was it, she was hooked, and shortly thereafter she started her first all-female cycling club, dubbed High Maintenance (sort of appropriate for Vail, isn’t it?).

After moving to Sun Valley in 2003 Wysong began noticing that women were riding here, but they weren’t coming to races. A true advocate for women and cycling, Wysong began thinking of how she could put together a women’s race club in Sun Valley, and thus the Mud Honeys were born.

The goal of the Mud Honey Cycling Team is simple: to get women out on the trails, to encourage one another and be part of the community and the local bike culture.
Each year, the Mud Honeys gather for races, skills clinics, social outings and just hitting the trail. The club has requirements to be a member, so don’t think you can just walk right up and join just for the super-cute cycling outfits (called ‘kits’). Each member has to attend or volunteer for at least three races per season.

“We are here to contribute to the enthusiasm of getting together and riding bikes, a social group of women with a motive,” India explained.

Keep your eye out at this summer’s Nationals held here in Sun Valley because several of the group’s 45 members have qualified and have great shots at making the podium. 

The Mud Honeys’ spirit, courage and humility are contagious. Personally, I feel fortunate to have befriended such a group of female athletes and, as a result, I am a better athlete and a better person. I now have the confidence to hit any trail with skill and enthusiasm … well, almost any trail. -Nancy Glick

 

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