It's been just over a year since I started racing cyclocross. In that year I've met so many amazing people and befriended those I consider to be my greatest peers. My team B2C2, has grown and expanded to include Team Averica; an elite woman's squad in CX. B2C2 has also grown to include the largest woman's roster in New England.
Along the way I've also been trying to focus more on my illustration, both by taking on freelance but also by returning to personal work. I feel like its been eons since I've done work for myself. Since graduating college I feel like I haven't had a reason or venue to do personal work. Illustration has felt more like a hobby than a career. So in a way, it makes sense my motivation to draw started coming back to me around the time I fell into cycling.
I started this CX season straight out of the gate. I've been pushing myself and feel like I'm finally starting to find my own place and compete in a meaningful way. With my success thus far I've also found myself wondering what it is I can do within the community to be more than a racer. I look up to a lot of woman in NECX not only as rad, badass athletes, but also as voices of progress and fighters for equality. One thing I've learned for sure is that being a woman athlete is a lot like being a woman designer. You need to fight and expect to be given less and then fight some more.
In my life, I think I am exceptionally good at two things: bikes and drawing. (Maybe better at drawing than bikes, right now.) I think it's important to give back to the things you invest yourself in. I certainly wouldn't have stuck around bike racing this long had it not been for my team and the NECX community. Even when I have bad days and feel like quitting, I know I can fall into the support of my community. I feel the same way about art. I've spent years feeling pretty bad about my art but every time I take on a new project, my art community is there to cheer me on and coach me through the rough parts. So why have them be mutually exclusive?
It occurred to me over the summer that using my two greatest assets to help each other, is a pretty great way to bring awareness to both. After a mountain bike race a few months ago in which someone threw a bunch of Gu packs on the ground in front of me, I got so mad I did what I do best; I drew something. I don't know who the litter-bug was, but I hope he saw my drawing and the hundred retweets/shares it got and felt bad about it. I hope anyone who has ever willingly littered on a bike ride felt bad after seeing it and thinks twice before doing it again.
So this is where I'm at. My fledgling career in bike racing is intersecting with what feels like my still-fledgling career in illustration. I'm hoping with a lot of hard work and determination, as I grow with one love, the other grows with it. We have so many strong voices in woman's cycling here in NECX and beyond, I can only hope that putting some illustrations alongside those voices can be meaningful. At the very least, I hope some of my Monsters can brighten up our cold New England cross season.