Professional Writer | MCA Honoree
2022 was an exciting year for women in sports! Last year, we not only the 50th anniversary of Title IX, but also celebrate the live coverage of the Tour de France Femmes in July and Chelsea Sodaro who won the Iron Man World Championship last October! As we prepare to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th, maintaining this momentum of women and girls in sport is top of mind.
It’s a known fact that 30% of girls in middle school quit sports, for which the primary reason is that they feel like they are not good enough or they don’t belong.
I have had personal experiences of being one of about three women in a race full of men. On one occasion, in particular, I pulled up to the check-in point for a local mountain bike race in the mountains of northern NJ. My family accompanied me for moral support. My suburban lurched forward into the parking lot, which was a sea of men. My husband looked at me with a puzzled look and said, ‘Um, are you sure you signed up for the right race?’ Although he was half kidding, I couldn’t help but wonder, where all the women were?
Being a novice mountain biker, I lined up at the back of the pack at the starting line, making eye contact with the two other women attempting this course. I was excited, nervous, and fearful all at the same time. Did I really belong here? Am I good enough to do this? I don’t even have the right shoes! Before I could chicken out and leave, the buzzer sounded and we were off. About 10 minutes into the race, the rain made an early appearance, and the trails transformed into muddy, sloppy ribbons that I felt like I was ice skating on. At some points, riding was not possible so I put my head down and slogged up and down portions of the trail with the cold icy rain pelting my face. My eyes stung and I looked up. To my surprise, some of the best riders were doing the same. In the end, I pulled off the course halfway and did not finish; however, my inability to complete the course was overshadowed by the joy I felt showing up that day and representing women in cycling. It was enduring experiences like this that fueled my passion to write my middle-grade reader, Catching Air, to further encourage women to get out on their bikes and explore. My goal is to move the dial on female participation in sports while having my own rad adventures on my bike.
So, for this very special International Women’s Day tomorrow, I’d like to celebrate all women and reiterate that they belong and they are enough. Cheers to new adventures!
About Gina Moore
Gina Moore is a professional writer in medical communications and education. As an endurance athlete, she thrives in trail and road running, as well as mountain, gravel, and road biking, racing in more than 10 events annually. Gina Moore hopes to move the dial of female representation in outdoor sports by encouraging girls to be brave and adventurous. She is the author of the Mom’s Choice Award-winning book, Catching Air.