50% Girls by 2025
The Drake Mountain Bike Team has made a public commitment to have half of the team represented by girl riders by 2025 (currently the team is approximately 25% girls).
Why do we care? It is just a number…
Yes it is an abstract thing, this 50%, but it represents an ambitious goal to change the culture of cross-country mountain bike racing. The Drake MTB team is a member of NorCal, which is a league within the National Interscholastic Cycling League, or NICA. The mission of these organizations is, simply, to get more kids on bikes by providing a “positive experience for all student-athletes, and helping them to create strong body, mind and character through the sport of cycling”. Last time we checked, approximately half of the student body at Drake is girls, so the 50% goal seems logical for appropriate representation of who attends Drake.
But why do we care about changing the culture through public statement of this goal? Drake Coach Otis Guy, a member of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, has been bicycling for a long time and has seen the sport evolve and change, but the ratio of women to men has remained frustratingly low. Drake Coach Rob Reed has worked in the engineering and technical field for more than 20 years, and has seen similarly poor ratios in the Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) fields persist. If we as a community do not work together to get adequate representation of gender in the fields of endeavor that we choose, then the culture of that field tends to be dominated by ideas, implementations, products, etc, that favor one gender or point of view over another. The mission of NorCal and NICA is to get more kids on bikes and develop their mind and character through cycling… if we can, through Drake MTB, teach our Riders that there is no one way to ride to achieve success in later life, then we have taken one small but significant step towards changing the culture of cross-country mountain bike racing. Mental strength, emotional strength, community strength, and physical strength all play important roles in bicycle racing, and we believe that working towards an even balance of gender ratios will help all Riders develop the multiple strengths needed not only for racing but for life beyond high school.
Don’t take our word for it though… take a look at this video from our third race in 2017. Mental strength, emotional strength, community strength, physical strength - its all there.
For more on our amazing #DrakeMTBGirls, see pictures and text below!
Hannah Betz - junior
Stella Greenwood - senior
I’m Stella Greenwood and I’m a Junior girl on the Drake Mountain Bike Team. I love mountain biking because it is a fun way to explore our amazing county and exercise at the same time. But more than that, it introduced me to an amazing community that spreads worldwide. I have had the pleasure of riding outside of our tightly knitted community and the fun loving spirit is continuous throughout. Drake MTB is a wonderful group of kids and adults who share the common interest of cycling, but made it so much more than that. I love riding primarily for the people I ride with, and thank everyone for being so amazing. Roll Pirates!
Elise Nicol - senior
I ride because it gives me freedom, joy and a sense of being part of something much larger than just me. Before the Drake team, I had not been part of a team or involved in sports. I didn’t feel a sense of belonging and that people had my back no matter what. Now I am part of a family that supports and encourages me in all parts of my life. Mountain biking has made me happier, more fit, and more confident. I look forward to practice because I can escape from stress and be outdoors. I ride for fun, friends, well-being, to push myself, and because I love it.
Uma Teesdale - senior
Getting on my bike to go grind up a mountain or fly down a single track in the woods has been an escape for me since before I was in middle school. No matter what is going on in my day to day life, the mountain is always there. When I joined the drake mountain bike team in freshman year of high school an entire community was added to the freedom and individuality that mountain biking offered. I had an incredibly supportive group of people who pushed me to do my best. This team gave me people to ride for and enjoy my love of mountain biking with. From a playful sprint up the mountain after school, to the state championship race, the drake mountain bikers stick together. In biking there have always been fewer girls than guys, but this means the girls have grown into a very close knit, supportive community. Of course the whole team is very supportive and it is always clear that the girls success is just as important as any of the boys. I have developed much confidence from the drake mountain bike team and found inspiration in my teammates and coaches. It has always been a goal of mine to get more girls on the team and more girls on the mountain. I know that drake mountain biking will succeed at this, I can’t imagine a more inspiring and supportive group, than these girls. Roll pirates!
Aliyah Trimble senior
I love mountain biking and I love being a part of a supportive team. The Drake mountain biking team is all those things and more. The atmosphere is super welcoming. Being with the team, coaches and parents feels like being apart of a big supportive family. Everybody is amazing which makes riding with them super fun. The races are also a blast! It’s a great experience.
Lilly Willis senior
There is wind on my face, cooling the sweat. I am surrounded by people who love me and whom I love. Breathing hard, I am alert, focused, happy. I am on a team ride. I ride for the people. Lots of my all-time favorite people are on this team. The community of loving, supportive people is a must-have in high school, and no one does it better than Drake MTB! Not to mention the strength I’ve built over the seasons. Not only physical, though no one can deny we are fit, but mental and emotional. I’ve pushed myself beyond everything I thought I was capable of, and grown into a stronger person because of it. And what fun it is! I can picture us girls after our race, on our feet, despite the long day, cheering our boys on with unconditional love and energy. It is the best image of our supportive community I can conjure up. We may be the Drake MTB Divas, but we are not your average diva. We are loving, strong, supportive, and fun-loving girls who ride their bikes. A lot.
Jade Zaleski senior
I started mnt biking because I loved the idea of fun downhills, and that their was a whole team for it at Drake high school. I now know it is a lot more work than just fun downhills, its a great workout each day. I never thought racing would be so much fun either, but it is such an awsome supportive community that I wouldn’t have it any other way! The team is amazing!
Audrey Fehlhaber - sophomore
When I joined the mountain biking team, I had no idea what I was getting into. Little did I know that within a few short months I would meet some of my closest friends, push myself harder than I thought possible, and find my second family. I was hesitant to start biking again, but as someone who tends to go for all or nothing, I let go of my uncertainty and went for it. Biking has become a part of me, and is now hard for me to go without. My positive experiences have been fueled by the passion and support of the tightly knit community that makes up our team. To be a part of this group is something truly special, and I consider myself lucky to ride with those who love mountain biking as much as I do.
Justine McOuat - sophomore
Ceci Hellman - sophomore
My name is Ceci Hellman and I am a sophomore on the Drake mountain biking team. Freshman year was my first year mountain biking. I am really grateful for the mountain biking community. Being on such a kind and supportive team has helped me improve and become a better mountain biker. At the beginning of my first season, I was really nervous about the races, but you are just encouraged to try your best and have fun. I started mountain biking because my parents encouraged me to get more involved with sports, and I thought it seemed really fun. Now mountain biking is one of my favorite activities! I love being on the drake mountain biking team!