Started by Susannah Lowber who wanted to find a group ride like the infamous Monday night Wolfpack Hustle rides, but without all the … you know guys.
Why do we need women’s only rides and development? Can’t they just join existing men’s rides, clubs and teams? No.
For the very few women who are physically strong enough to jump into those challenges (like the very fast Kelli Samuelson on team Cinelli-CHROME), the much larger barrier is the long list of ways that men – both knowingly and in complete ignorance – say and do things to make women feel bad about being there. A point that is perfectly illustrated by “Hey Dude” a blog post by safa that imagines that competitive cycling is female dominated and what it might be like for men to try breaking into that world.
Ok, then how do you do it?
In a little over 1 year She Wolf Attack Team, or S.W.A.T. has built an incredible program that finds fun, social and welcoming ways of getting women from a huge variety of backgrounds together for as much (or as little) riding as they want to do. Beginning with the weekly “spicy” paced ride on Tuesdays, the team has found individuals within the group who are passionate about different kinds of riding and worked to develop a wide range of supported rides, training and seasonal focus. A weekly intro level ride was started on Thursdays, called W.O.W. or Women On Wheels. It’s another way of getting newbies in who can advance to the faster rides, or simply enjoy a non-intimidating weekly ride with other female identified riders. These rides are still lead by senior S.W.A.T. riders, which makes it an inspiring and solid experience no matter where the ride goes.
Over the summer S.W.A.T. developed a core group interested in track racing at Encino and Carson Velodromes. At the local Wolfpack Civic Center Crit in front of LA City Hall, the S.W.A.T. team was by far the largest female turn out in road and fixed categories. By the time the Wolfpack Invitational happened at the end of the track season two S.W.A.T. riders placed in the top 10, “All Out War” format of racing. During all of it they’ve been blowing up instagram and social media with awesome photos of ladies having a great time racing.
For cyclocross season, S.W.A.T. came out every weekend, carpooling to events throughout Southern California, creating a team tent, cyclocross team shirts, field trips, cx specific training and events that all are welcome to – while still maintaining the two weekly rides based in Central LA’s Silverlake neighborhood.#socalcross prestige series#swatCX killed it in our first year placing 9th overall in team standings and the only all female team in the series expect to see a lot more of these Dirt Foos
No matter the season or focus, who doesn’t love a team dinner? The joy of riding with your friends, cheering them on to victory, cheering them up after a disappointment and motivation to ride more than you ever would on your own. Or you know, with those guys.