There is No “Bro” in Enduro – More Women Racing Bikes
When you think of enduro mountain biking, what comes to mind? Is it the extreme levels of gnar depicted in the Enduro World Series? Is it mud, blood, jumps, and drops? Is it the screaming spectators with their cowbells and fog horns?
For the 200+ women who sold out the Sturdy Dirty Women’s Enduro at Tiger Mountain, Washington, USA for the third year in a row, this is what they think of:
Friends. Challenging trails. Fun. Bacon.
Images by Chris McFarland, Oakridge, Oregon Sturdy Dirty Enduro Race.
After launching the first women’s enduro mountain bike race in the United States in 2014, race promoters Sturdy B*tch Racing teamed up with Roam Events to offer the first women’s only enduro race series in the world. With three races in the western US, these women set out to prove that, “competition and fun aren’t mutually exclusive [and] that every shred can bring us closer together.”
With 126 women participating in the inaugural Sturdy Dirty Enduro and sold-out races (215-230 racers) in 2015-2017 at Tiger Mountain, Sturdy Dirty Oakridge (Oregon) and Big Bear (California) have seen slightly less interest with 153 and 115 racers respectively. Still, that is 100-150 women RACING ENDURO. In other parts of the country and the world, co-ed enduro races struggle to attract 20-40 female racers.
So, why women’s enduro?
“After spending years racing different cycling disciplines, we realized what was missing from our local racing scene was more women and more fun,” said Ady Bee Lane of Sturdy B*tch Racing and one of the original organizers of the Sturdy Dirty Enduro. “So we decided to create the kind of event that we would want to race ourselves.”
The Sturdy Dirty wasn’t the first of its kind. In fact, the Sturdy B’s were inspired by another race – Hot on Your Heels women’s enduro in Squamish, BC. That event, which just wrapped its 6th year, boasts 250+ female racers and is known to sell out within three days.
Now the joy of women’s enduro is spreading. Air Maiden’s Maidenduro completed its second year of women’s only racing in Innerleithen, Scotland and Gravity Canterbury will host the Girls on Dirt Enduro at Halswell Quarry in New Zealand.
According to a survey conducted by Cat Topham and posted on PinkBike.com, women cited the following reasons for being more inclined to participate in a women’s specific enduro than a coed event:
Not worried about holding up men, getting in the way, being judged, etc. (75.87% of respondents)
Less pressure. (66.32% of respondents)
Supportive environment. (58.16% of respondents)
Better Atmosphere. (33.33% of respondents)
As more women are introduced to enduro through women’s only races, more race organizers begin actively market to female racers, and more races have equal prizes and categories, it is likely that we will continue to see increased female interest AND participation in enduro racing events.