Kate’s Real Food partner, Carrie Barton is proving that female dirt bikers are more than capable of keeping up with the boys. As the first woman to place on the podium in the Ironmen's class at 24 hour races at Starvation Ridge and Glen Helen and the first woman to finish The Tour of Idaho, Carrie hopes that her influence will pave the way for female riders everywhere.
Mainly focused on cycling, Carrie didn’t take up dirt biking until 2002 as a fun secondary sport for her off-seasons. From the very beginning, she noticed that women on the trail were few and far between. When she started racing in 2010, she struggled to connect with other female riders as there are typically only a couple of women for every hundred men competing.
Catalyst of Events
Carrie describes her first successes in the world of racing as ‘uncomfortable firsts’ that can open the door for female riders to take the plunge. She had her doubts as she took on each new challenge, but she pushed forward.
The year after Carrie started racing in the Ironman class at Starvation Ridge in 2012, the program opened a female riders division and has seen as many as 8 women attempt the solo endeavor in a single year. She herself has finished as high as 2nd against 32 men in 2014. After she became the first woman to finish the Tour of Idaho, three women signed up to compete the next year. She had her doubts and often worried that she couldn’t ‘keep up with the guys’, but Carrie’s experiences prove that women can compete and excel in male dominated sports.
Tips for Female Riders
“One element that has become a recurring theme in my riding and racing career has been challenging the idea of what female motorcycle riders and racers are capable of-- especially in the realm of off-road and endurance events. I've made it my goal to show that just because a woman hasn't done something before, doesn't mean she can't.” -- Carrie Barton
Here is some of Carrie’s advice:
Assess your strengths and weaknesses:
Not every rider is created equal. Male or female, we all have areas that need working on. Don’t simply repeat someone else’s methods for your own. Training should be customized to fit your needs.
Find like-minded people
Find a group of riders that elevate you, make you feel comfortable, and want you to succeed. Surrounding yourself with a supportive group can make all the difference.
Don’t be afraid to reach out
Share your successes, share your failures and reach out to others! Ask for help, ask for advice, and expand your network.
Understand the road to success
Don’t take everything at face value. Social Media is filled with success stories and picture perfect content. Every ride has its stumbles, every path to success is filled with failures.
There are a handful of great training resources, some of which work specifically with female riders or offer women’s only classes. Here are a few to check out:
Or connect with private coaches in your area with USMCA.
At Kate’s Real Food we believe in adventure for all. Carrie’s story is one of many that inspires us to push ourselves to be better, to support all athletes, and to never cut ourselves short of our potential. Take the jump, try something new, and push your boundaries.
You can learn more about Carrie’s story here!