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Empowering Women On and Off the Trail: The Gold Rusch Tour & Uplift Industry MeetUp

Fifteen years ago, I found myself navigating the overwhelming atmosphere of my first Sea Otter Classic as a newly minted professional cyclist. Amid the bustling event, filled with top-tier athletes and industry giants, I felt an unmistakable sense of intimidation. It wasn't just the competitive air but the palpable underrepresentation and isolation experienced by women in this sphere. This sparked a realization and a resolve within me. If someone with my experience in elite sports felt this way, surely other women did too, and something needed to change.

In 2010, fueled by a partnership with SRAM and driven by a mission to empower women through cycling, the SRAM Gold Rusch Tour was born. We kicked off at the very big event that had once daunted me — the Sea Otter Classic. Our initiative began as a small setup we called the 'Ladies Lounge,' a haven where women could gather, ask questions, and learn from professional athletes across cycling disciplines. The response was overwhelming. Hundreds of women, hungry for knowledge and community, packed the venue, sparking a movement that would grow beyond my wildest dreams.

Over the years, the SRAM Gold Rusch Tour evolved into a national movement, creating spaces at multiple events across the country where women could come together to gain confidence and skills on their bikes. This initiative didn't just increase female participation in cycling; it catalyzed the formation of countless women's clubs, events, and communities, changing the landscape of women's cycling.

Now, as a seasoned athlete and advocate for women in cycling, I see a parallel need within the cycling industry. The enthusiasm we've nurtured on the trails and roads should extend into the workplaces and decision-making spaces where the future of cycling is shaped. Luckily, there are other women in the cycling industry with this shared passion, vision, and a desire to collaborate and grow! This collaboration with the women from SHIFT Active Media, Zwift, and Feisty Media, led to the first Uplift Industry MeetUp at this year's Sea Otter Classic, embodying the same spirit of the SRAM Gold Rusch Tour but tailored for women who aspire to turn their passion for cycling into a profession.

The Uplift Industry MeetUp is a groundbreaking event, designed to forge and strengthen connections among women in the cycling industry. It's a space for collaboration, sharing knowledge, and building the confidence to lead. Not only does this meet-up reflect the tremendous growth in female participation in cycling over the last decade, but it also marks a significant step toward inclusive representation within the industry.

Looking ahead, I am filled with optimism and excitement about the future of women in cycling. This is the beginning of a sustained movement to elevate and support women throughout the industry. We are leading and reshaping the landscape of careers in the cycling industry. The conversations and partnerships that begin here at Uplift will ripple outward.

The need for such initiatives is clearer than ever. This gathering steps beyond the bike to set new standards, and build a supportive community. The SRAM Gold Rusch Tour wasn't and Uplift Industry MeetUp isn't just about riding bikes; they're both about moving forward, together, with strength, courage, and conviction.

To every woman who has felt that spark of ambition, whether on a bike or in a boardroom, know that you are not alone. We are on this journey together, propelled by our passion for cycling and fueled by our determination to make a difference. The trail ahead is promising, and together, we will ride it forward.

Join us, and be a part of shaping the future. Here's to more trails, more connections, and more breakthroughs.

What: Uplift Industry MeetUp @ Sea Otter Classic

When: 📅 Friday, April 19th, 4-6 pm (Come when you can!)

Where:  📍 Sierra Nevada Beer Garden

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