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Journal > Happy international women’s day from inGamba!

Happy international women’s day from inGamba!

March 3rd, 2020 - Katie Bolling

Perhaps it’s the final stretch of winter but over the past couple weeks I’ve been reminiscing a lot about long summer rides, and that took me back to my Ironman days. In 2006 I did the Wisconsin Ironman and had an experience there that really left an impression. It was the day before the race and I was having lunch with a small group of friends and family. Before we left the restaurant, I was picking up around my son’s highchair (lots of crumbs at nine months old!) and, as I was doing some final tidying, a woman came over and asked me if that was my baby and if I was doing the race. I could feel my face turn flush with anxiety and I said “Yes and yes”. She then said something I will never forget: “I think you’re amazing.”

It was a firm, short exchange but it had a significant impact on me. At the time, I was a new mom and felt somewhat vulnerable about being myself. I felt that I should attempt to minimize my dedication to being an athlete given my role as a parent and certainly, when it came to meeting people and conversations, it was most appropriate to talk about nap schedules and teething versus wheel choices and track splits. But her words inspired me to just be myself. I stopped telling people that I just hoped to finish, and started being honest about my ambitions. And not only did I finish that race with vim and vigor – I finished with a qualifying slot for Kona.

I’m sharing this story with you because I think women sometimes struggle with allowing ourselves to pursue hobbies, fulfill passions and simply enjoy experiences. We want to fulfill our important roles at home, with our families, at work and in our communities and sometimes this leaves little time for ourselves. Last year I set myself a goal to bring more women into the inGamba community. And I’m happy to say that while 23% of our travelers were women in 2018, that number grew to 30% in 2019. My hope is that share will continue to grow as more women become cyclists, more couples travel together, more solo female travelers raise their hands at doing trips and, most important, as more women choose to feel good about taking time for themselves to do something they love just for the pure enjoyment of it.

When I need a little boost, I think of that day in Wisconsin and this now, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, I’m sharing it with you. To the ladies I’ve met at inGamba: you’ve inspired me through your determination to climb the mountain, to raise kids, to be the CEO and to carve new opportunities for women around you. In short, I think you’re amazing, I’m so glad you’re part of inGamba and I sincerely hope to see you on the road this year. Thanks for all the support and the motivation!

Katie Bolling