930 (s)miles for Little Bellas
Avery, Carol, Jill, and Liz know something that our Little Bellas don’t…and we couldn’t be happier. Discrimination in sports can happen at any age but for Avery Wilmanns, Carol Pope, Jill Gass, and Liz Inglese who are members of the B4T9 (Before Title IX) Women’s Cycling Team, they know firsthand about a time when discrimination was the accepted norm.
This June these four women will challenge all kinds of preconceptions when they take to the start of the Race Across the West, a continuous 930-mile race that starts in Oceanside, Calif. and finishes in Durango, Colo. Their team, Four Feisty Femmes, will take aim at setting a new record for the 60+ women's category. The current record is 57 hours; the Four Feisty Femmes are aiming for 48 hours. To get that done, the riders are training 13-16 hours per week in addition to holding down full-time jobs. Just recently the team held a practice session from 3 p.m. to midnight with some team members getting their first taste of nighttime racing. Not only that, they are dedicating their record-setting effort to Little Bellas.
L-R: Avery Wilmanns; Carol Pope; Liz Inglese; Jill Gass
“I’m really happy to have Little Bellas as our fundraising beneficiary because – in my line of work – I know how important exercise is,” said Avery, an internal medicine physician and a mountain bike coach for the local NICA chapter in Santa Barbara, Calif. “Having been a coach, I’d really like to see more young women riding mountain bikes because we don’t have enough.”
Last month the OhioRAAM Show gave us a chance to get to know each team member and learn how they got into cycling. Liz will make you believe that you can do an Ironman too (13:10).
“We haven’t forgotten our first bike ride and the feeling of accomplishment, power, and independence it provided,” Jill said. “We are committed to making sure that the newest generation has that experience and more through the Little Bellas' programs. All donations go directly to Little Bellas.”
If you believe that girls deserve an equal chance to participate in sports, please consider making a donation to the Four Feisty Femmes’ record-setting ride.