Photo courtesy: www.cape-epic.com
Just a month out from the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic I found myself needing to talk about the tremendous rise of the women’s field in national and international competition . I am sitting behind my desk watching Hannele Steyn tackle the Land Rover Technical Terrain Section on Stage 4 of this year’s Cape Epic race. Hannele is the last lioness taking part in her 14th Cape Epic and the only female left in a group of four who have done every installment since the Epic’s inception. Not only is this a great feat but she represents every female rider who has had a dream, chased it down and achieved it.
The short clip is a beautiful dance as she makes her way down the decent and over some technical terrain. I can’t help but smile and think of how far we have come in the world of women’s sports. The fight for equality and a fair playing field has been a highlight not only in MTB but in every single sport. The simple pleasure of a bike ride has been marred by unfair rules and restrictions on women and I feel that we are facing a new dawn everyday with small victories. Women are being recognized but also celebrated. This is a giant leap in allowing all female riders who work their butts off to reach their goals and achieve the success and recognition they deserve.
The world is slowly waking up to the notion that women are just as strong, brave, dedicated, tough and fierce as any man who raced before them. In simple terms the women are kicking butt! It should never have happened like this. We should never be fighting a fight that was created without us, yet against us. I feel that women are slowly not winning a war but diffusing it. It is time to thank the women who have stood firm in their belief and paved the way for the rest of us to have a freedom they may not have experienced. We salute you!
I am privileged and honored to push this message. To take these fierce women and shove them into a spotlight they deserve without any explanation. The second snowball affect we are experiencing from this revolution is the fact that allowing more women to shine has raised the bar in ladies racing. More women are seeing their place alongside the top riders and more women are saying “Yes! I can too” before they have even bought their first bicycle. The numbers are up. The juniors are becoming involved and being developed. The number of female teams and the women's field in general is rising and more riders are climbing the ranks. There is still lots to be done, but it is changing every race, every day and that we must celebrate. Everyday I am reminded that the amount of force women have been pushed down with is twice as powerful as they rise back up again.
I am looking forward to covering the women’s race at this year’s Epic and I will continue to drive the message to the world.
Women don’t need permission. Their presence is permission enough...
Take a look at Hannele as she shows you the Stage 4 Land Rover Techical Terrain section at this year’s ABSA Cape Epic