Over And Out was created with the goal of supporting female riders at ALL levels of the sport - from teaching new riders at our event, to building a community that helps female riders get more opportunities to ride and learn, to supporting the girls representing the U.S. at the 2018 FIM International Six Days Enduro!
I’m proud to announce Over And Out’s official support for the 2018 US Women’s ISDE team, with a donation generated by this year’s event attendees and raffle participants!
I recently chatted with ISDE off-road racing team manager, Antti Kallonen of KTM North America to talk about the upcoming Six Days and this year’s Women’s Trophy Team made up of Becca Sheets, Tarah Gieger and Brandy Richards.
I’M EXCITED TO SPEAK WITH YOU, THE ISDE IS SUCH AN EXCITING EVENT!
It is yes, it’s been considered the Olympics of Motorcycling. I’ve managed the men’s teams (US World Trophy and Junior Trophy) since 2012, and now as of 2017 manage the Women’s Trophy Team as well.
LAST YEAR WAS THE FIRST YEAR FOR THE US WOMEN’S TEAM IN BRIVE, FRANCE. AND THIS YEAR’S IS COMING UP THIS NOVEMBER IN VINA DEL MAR, CHILE…
WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE WOMEN’S TEAM FROM THEN TO NOW?
Yes last year was the first year so all 3 girls on the team were rookies to the Six Days format, but they all worked hard and finished 2nd overall behind Australia, the champs for 5 years running.
Obviously, no great success happens overnight. We have a 3-year plan to get the championship. [To put that in perspective] the Men’s team previously had a 3-year plan to get the championship and it took 5 years, so we’re building and progressing.
This year, all 3 girls on the team have ridden Six Days before so they’re more knowledgeable and prepared and they now know what to expect.
WHAT SKILLS OR QUALITIES DO ISDE RACERS IDEALLY NEED TO HAVE?
Many girls are fast but the Six Days format adds to the challenge…It’s a long Six Days and riders need to be fast but also consistent for all 6 days, which can include 8-hour days of riding, dealing with weather, plus long transfers which offer their own challenges.
Prior to a few years ago it was much harder to find female riders in long endurance racing. A major benefit of racing off-road is that these riders have the endurance to do it. This format can be tough.
At Six Days there are no techs, so the rider also works on their own bike. Riders can take instruction from us, but they have to do the work.
WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT MANAGING THE WOMEN’S TEAM VS. THE MEN?
I’d say about 70% of the training program could be the same for the men’s Junior or Trophy program and the women’s, but the other 30% or so has to be tailored for the women.
They work differently, their bodies are different, they react differently. For example recovery time is quite different in the women compared to the men. We take all of this into account, so even recovery routines are different.
WHAT MISCONCEPTIONS DO YOU THINK PEOPLE HAVE ABOUT WOMEN TRAINING FOR THIS SPORT?
Some people might think that things like the tire-changing would be more difficult for the women due to basic strength, but in reality that’s all about technique. The real difference here for men vs. women could be fatigue due to different recovery times.
Mental struggle can set in and cause a rider to take a shortcut in the technique. But other than that, knowing and performing proper technique makes the task the same for men and women.
It’s also surprising just how determined the women are, some more determined than men.
(We saw this of course at Over And Out, where no single girl gave in when the technical Hancock terrain became slick and challenging in the rain!)
Becca Sheets, for example, she pushed through some very tough bike issues. I saw her push through issues that might’ve made a man quit, but she pushed through.
Going back to the traits that are valuable in a rider, that’s another one: Becca is not only fast, she has the determination and will power to push through.
She also had to adapt to take verbal guidance and do the work on her own bike and she did it. It’s something she should be very proud of, and I’m very proud of her.”
WHAT IS THE TRAINING LIKE AS THE RACE NEARS AND BEGINS?
I host a training camp closer to the event where we cover things like sprint training on the bike, tire-changing and basic maintenance. Sprint enduros are excellent training for this type of event.
There will be 6 days of riding but also 8 days of preparation and walking the tests, not to the mention travel involved, so overall health and fitness is important.
WE’RE SO PROUD TO BE ABLE TO CONTRIBUTE SOMETHING FROM OUR FIRST EVENT TO SUPPORT THE US WOMEN’S ISDE TEAM!
HOW WILL OUR DONATION HELP?
There are a lot of costs involved with getting each racer to and around the races, including flights, hotels, fees, per diem… as you can imagine it adds up. It roughly costs about $15k per rider to be able to take part in the 6 days.
It’s a pretty steep bill to pay for the opportunity, so we do our best to manage the budget, gather manufacturer and sponsor support, and racers even fundraise for themselves. Of course, we do our best to get everything covered so that riders can focus on their training and the ride.
As of right now we’re in mostly good shape though we do have a few gaps in the budget so your donation will truly make an impact, and 100% of it will be going to support the women!
If you’d like to support the women of the 2018 US ISDE team, route for them this November 12-17 as they race the Six Days in Vina Del Mar, Chile!
And, stay tuned as we follow up with an interview with US Women’s Trophy team member, Becca Sheets!
Special thanks again to all of our 2018 raffle contributors and participants!