PPA Double Century by Tanya Knight & Ellen Feibig
Need a Great Big Hairy Audacious Goal to get you motivated for the year? How about 200km in one day? You can do it - that's the message from the chicks in pink at last year's Pedal Power Association Double Century. The event "combines the competitiveness of a team event with the pleasures of long-distance cycle-touring," boast the PPA in their official introduction to the infamous 205km team time trial through the Little Karoo. And while there was a great deal of competitiveness, at least one team really was there for the pleasure: the FemmeSportif women in pink – the only all-women team at the event.
When Tanya and I started Femme Sportif, our Cape Town sports store focussed on female cyclists and active women, one thing we were dreaming about was having an all girls team at the Double Century. Our aim was to put a team together to ride "proudly" in pink, to be noticed and to be a motivation to all other women out there. So many women are struggling to find their right team, or worrying whether they can keep up in a mixed team. We wanted to make them aware that they can be part of an all-girls team that works together, helps each other and has lots of fun at the same time.
Our experience of this year''s DC was absolutely fantastic. EVERYBODY noticed us and made comments about the way we looked and cycled, and so many women in mixed teams did comment that they would have preferred to have been with us.
The Femme Sportif team consisted of 9 women and we decided beforehand to enjoy the ride, take it easy and have lots of fun. Our aim was to do a 25km/h average ride and to stop whenever we needed a toilet break, and to fill up our waterbottles at every waterpoint.
We simply enjoyed the course, which we think is the most beautiful of all other DC rides. We started with an easy pace, increased slightly after we had warmed up and stayed together at the passes. Even though a few of us took strain after a while, we worked together, motivated each other, slowed down when necessary and regained our strength. After the monster hill, the Op de Tradouw pass, we "flew" back to the finish, overtaking plenty of other teams. At the end we were very chuffed with our performance: we had improved our riding time by 20 minutes… AND had lots of fun.
Our aim for next year’s DC is to have at least 3 women''s teams. One racing team and 2 social teams and everybody is welcome to join us. And we want to motivate other clubs to put women''s teams together to race against each other.
For more info on the Femme Sportif store, as well as the training rides lead by Tanya and Ellen, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or see www.femmesportif.co.za.
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