In Response to Some of the Negative Media Surrounding the Women’s Red Hook Criterium
To the people who think the Red Hook Criterium Brooklyn No.8 women’s race wasn’t the main event the night of April 25th, 2015; to those who think we came to model, rather than to race; to those who think we aren’t newsworthy, or that we are a footnote; to those people, who think we are an exhibibition rather than a competition, that we are static rather than kinetic, that we are less than our male counterparts:
Over 50 women pit themselves against each other for a shot at the coveted title of Red Hook champion.
We put our pride, and our nerves, and our physical safety on the line.
We pedaled our asses off.
We crashed and bled.
Because we wanted it that bad.
You don’t get to ignore us, or belittle us, or take away our agency. For centuries, they told us strong women were freaks, that they were undesirable, and they attempted to breed the fire out of us in favor of our softer qualities. Half a century ago, they thought we’d become infertile– and therefore, useless, in their eyes– if we ran, or pedaled, or swam too hard. For years, we endured the message: women can’t play sports.
And in spite of it all, we clipped in and we pedaled hard. Under the floodlights at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal to a backdrop of hundreds of screaming, cheering people, we told you to take your message and shove it.
Maybe we’re not as fast, or as graceful, or even as many as the men yet, but we’re slowly closing the gap, one technical, brakeless lap at a time. Unlike the men, we’re not just battling each other in the race. We’re battling a history’s worth of no you can’t. We’re all battling our self-doubt.
And we’re winning.