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Hi friends! Just a quick post as I’m actually still sat in my pyjamas and really need to go hop in the shower and get this day started properly. I sat down with my tea and toast this morning and decided to do a quick edit of my footage from the Women’s Mountain Bike Social Ride at Scadson this weekend whilst I ate my breakfast, but I’m still here two hours later.

As today is a ‘rest day,’ which is a fully sanctioned day off training, I intend to actually pick out something nice to wear and make myself feel good.

I spend large amounts of time training, sometimes twice a day if I’ve a bike ride and then the gym or yoga, so I spend a lot of the time switching between lycra and a pair of sweatpants. I also work from home – alone and on a lap top – so generally feel that there’s barely any point in even brushing my hair, let alone putting on make up and I just dress is whatever is to hand as I know that once I’m done with the computer I’ll just stick on a helmet and go out on my bike.

 

 

Whilst I’m all for an easy life, I’ve noticed that this way of doing things doesn’t always make me feel great. Self care is important and I think that sometimes, neglecting to make any effort to make myself feel good by wearing nice clothes and putting on some make up is a false economy. Taking a little bit of time on myself makes me feel ready for the world, cheers me up and give me confidence. Surely, that’s time well spent?

As my friend Stef Nurding said,

“Sometimes it’s the things you do to the outside that make you feel good on the inside.”

As a woman who has spent much of her life participating in sports (many of them male dominated – skateboarding, BMX, snowboarding, cycling) I’ve always had an uneasy relationship with my appearance and what I should and shouldn’t care about. Make up can be really unfairly judged, wearing it a sign that you somehow care less about your sport than someone who doesn’t, that you’re somehow more vacuous and less serious. And sadly, it can sometimes be women making that very judgement of their own peers.

 

 

I think that sometimes, in an effort to be taken seriously women in sport feel that they should jettison any frivolity; certainly I’ve felt like that before.  In the past (and still in some circles, sadly) being ‘like a girl’ was seen as something negative so any more feminine tendencies tended to be parked squarely at the door.

Another problem is the fear of misinterpretation. As the sole female in a group, women can be wary of dressing up and putting on make up in case it’s seen as a sign they’re doing so because they are interested in one of the men. No one ever wants people to think they’re there to hook up rather than focus on their sport. Sometimes, it feels easier to just blend in and try and be ‘one of the boys.’

I believe that in order to keep young girls interested in sport, we need to show them that every kind of girl can (and should) be involved, and that liking fashion and using hair straighteners is compatible with sport. You can ride BMX and read Cosmo.

I do think we’re seeing some progress. Looking at the world of skateboarding, it’s a relief to see women presenting themselves however they damn please, whether that be by shaving their heads, wearing a tutu or just not giving a hoot about anything except landing their next kick flip.

 

 

So though I’ll never be one for spending hours on my hair as I don’t have a clue what to do with it (other than plait it or stick it in a bun) sometimes I put on eyeliner just to go mountain biking. That doesn’t mean I care any less about bikes than if I went there barefaced and I’m not doing it to impress other people, I’m doing it to because it sometimes it helps me feel good about myself. If it’s ok to care about how your bike looks, matching your kit and components, why can’t we care about ourselves too?

Today, I’m going to pick out an outfit chosen entirely on the way it looks, rather than how practical it is. I’m gonna dance about the house listening to ridiculous music and paint my nails. And I’m going to celebrate how privileged I am to be able to do that.

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