Specialized Women: Your Ride, Your Rules Tour

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In the Spring of 2013, I was one of five women in the country selected to be a Specialized Women’s Ambassador. In 2014, they extended my “contract” giving me the privilege of, once again, representing this great brand of bikes with an unparalleled dedication to introducing women to the sport of cycling. I swear, it’s like winning an Academy Award. In one respect, you know you put the work and effort into being selected, and yet when you’re picked, you’re completely in shock and inevitably don’t know how to express your gratitude. In my attempt to say, “I’d like to thank the Academy,” I’ll simply say that, “I’d like to thank the team and my new friends at Specialized for giving me the chance to promote your product and incentive to work harder at my own skills.”

Over the last  1 1/2 years, I’ve been able to lead women’s rides, race on my Specialized Amira, represent Specialized at the Esprit de She Race Series, give clinics to novice cyclists and triathletes, host seminars on creating a winning mindset, moderate expert panel discussions on various topics related to health and fitness, manage my triathlon team at FOMO Training, write a monthly column for Austin Fit Magazine, and even write two books in the process!

I wouldn’t have accomplished most of these without the support and banner of Specialized Women. Not only has this affiliation inspired me to become a better athlete, it has motivated me to reach out even further into the fitness community to pursue goals I never dreamed possible.  This brand has inspired me in the way that I hope to inspire the women I meet…nothing is off limits in life. You can achieve more than you can imagine. Even when I’m not pedaling, I’m still moving forward.

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One of the most rewarding aspects of being a Specialized Women’s Ambassador is the ability to meet new people and talk with them on the level at which they are entering the market. I’ve had many opportunities to do this, but none was more elaborate than the November Houston kick-off of the “Your Ride, Your Rules” Specialized Women’s Tour in collaboration with Bike Barn.  This event for women by women broke down so many fear-based barriers and allowed us to introduce the freedom of cycling to everyone from aged 11 to 70! In Houston, we talked with women who fit all descriptions from elite racer to first time cyclist. We discussed everything from crank length, to saddle preferences, to handlebar width, and more. On our 20 mile ride, we even discussed apparel and the importance of women-specific designs. It was so cool because some women wanted to talk about the intricacies of each bike, while others simply wanted to know how it would make them feel when they started riding. The coolest part? They weren’t afraid to ask!

There’s also something about being in the community of women only that allows those who are fearful to muster the courage to simply show up in spite of their fears and insecurities. These women knew from the get-go that they were in the company of friendly, accommodating, and informative staff and volunteers. Hesitation at the outset was definitely replaced by joy and laughter by the time the demos were finished on both days. Mimosas and beer were toasted and friendships were made. That, to me, is what cycling is all about; creating a bond with your bike, with your friends, and with nature.

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Children aren’t afraid to fall or look ridiculous. They’re not even aware of the concept of being intimidated or embarrassed. Because of that, they live each day with all of the passion they can muster with no fear and regret. Unfortunately, as adults, we lose that desire to just go all out, but cycling has a way of making you feel like a kid again. I felt that during this weekend when I was riding with an older woman who was so proud of herself for riding 15 miles. I also felt it on Sunday while riding with a Mother/Daughter duo who were out there together. They could’ve been anywhere that day, but they were on their mountain bikes like kids having the time of their lives.

The experience for me was fantastic as I really felt like a true spokesperson for the bikes and the company. I think it also looked impressive that one of their five ambassadors was there specifically for this promotion. It wasn’t staffed by a bunch of salespeople just trying to sell bikes. These women were riding with someone who simply loves the sport like they do and is passionate about “spreading the love.” These were people who were interested in Specialized and wanted to ask questions. I was all together happy to do the best I could to answer their questions. I love that the intimidation barrier didn’t exist and I hope retailers take advantage of this tour and all that Specialized is willing to offer.

Here’s to another year of turning the Specialized Women’s cranks and spreading the love! I’ve got a lot more miles in these legs  and can’t wait to race and ride for the team in 2015!

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