GO GIRL Mountain Bike Team
CONSIDER THE WOMAN who has it all——a loving marriage, great kids and a successful career. Now add a top mountain-biking sponsorship.
The 12 women on the Trek Go Girl Mountain Bike Racing Team take their biking just as seriously as their other commitments. The proof’s in their recent sponsorship by Trek Bicycles, the same outfit that supported Lance Armstrong through his record-breaking Tour de France victories.
The only San Diego–based, all-women’s mountain-bike team is an eclectic group, composed of women from 20-something to 40-something. “Our team is made up of scientists, biologists and accountants,” says cocaptain Marissa Brand-Caballero. “Some members have young children and are Girl Scout leaders. [Despite our busy lives,] we still manage to make it to the podium at races.”
Irene Ortega, the original Go Girl, says, “In 1998, I decided to start a team because I wanted to bring women and young girls into the sport.” Team members were selected based on ability, as well as their commitment to promoting the sport to women. “I named it Go Girl because that’s what spectators yelled at me when I was racing,” says Ortega. “I found it to be very motivational.”
The same year Ortega formed the team, she also established the Go Girl women’s bike-apparel line. She designs biking jerseys in bright floral prints, inspired by femininity and manufactured for rugged performance.
While some team members participate in 24-hour endurance races, others are triathletes, adventure racers and multisport athletes. To accommodate her family life and work schedule, each team member is responsible for her own training. But coming together to compete in relay races, they gel as a cohesive unit.
Cocaptain Wendy Tynan extols the benefits of mountain biking—but not before acknowledging that training and racing is hard work. “Some mountains kick my ass; there’s all this suffering to get to the top. When you’re slogging up it, you wonder, ‘Why am I doing this?’ And then [when you reach the top], you realize, ‘I did this by myself.’ It’s a powerful feeling.”
In addition to training and racing, the Go Girls volunteer their time on weekends, hosting free beginners’ rides at Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve and Mission Trails Regional Park. “A lot of women, including moms and daughters, show up for these clinics because it’s a fun, safe way to be on a mountain bike in a nurturing environment,” says Minette Ozaki, another cocaptain. “It’s also a great way to stay healthy and fit.”
Regarding the future of women’s mountain biking, Ortega says, “I’d like to see more young girls get involved——especially teenage girls who need an outlet. Mountain biking shows them there are other things out there. It’s not just boys on the mountain; it’s not just boys who win medals.”
For more information on the beginners’ rides and the bike apparel, visit gogirl.cc.