On day one of Juliana ambassador camp, we chatted about our favorite parts of working with the brand, covering a whiteboard with things like “aggressive geometry,” “real parts,” “no stripper names,” and “rad colors!!!” We got a lot of good stuff on there, but my favorite (and the one I found most accurate) was, “It’s just a feeling.”
As we got the full Santa Cruz tour — from the factory to the singletrack to the boardwalk — I thought a lot about the “feeling” of Juliana, which I think goes deeper than just awesome bikes. It’s hard to put your finger on, but after tagging along for the weekend I’m going to do my best to sum it up.
The night before I left, I was nervous. I’ve raced all over the world and traveled with plenty of strangers — but I realized that it’s usually been dudes. On dude trips I know to expect the fart jokes and junk food — but I’m clueless about traveling with women. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d show up and be completely inadequate somehow. The most insecure parts of me whispered; “what if the other girls are mean?” and “what if you can’t keep up?”
A lot of us have felt this way getting into the sport — we’re plagued with uncertainty and doubt, and it sidelines a lot of folks, especially women. Why do we always assume we’re less capable, less brave, or less anything? I don’t know, but we do, and we shouldn’t.
As a whole the ambassador crew is badass, beautiful, and incredibly accomplished. I was awed and impressed with the stories I heard, which ranged from racing to parenting and everything between. That little voice, “what if!?” got a little louder. But then I looked around at everyones elbows on the table, and saw that each had scars to match mine.
On scars: let’s just say I’m used to getting worried looks from strangers. In my prom photos, my dress couldn’t quite cover my road rash. I once had to attend a writing workshop with a wound vac — you get the idea. The point is that scars on women are seen as cause for concern. My grandma always shakes her head when she sees my knees and says, “it’s a good thing you’re smart!” But looking around and seeing all those elbows set something off for me — for once I wasn’t the only girl in the room with a thing for kissing dirt.
The “feeling” is kinda like that. Just knowing that you’re not alone or weird or less feminine for loving to ride your bike fast, and that you can, in fact, still be beautiful and badass and accomplished — scars and all.
As we all got to know each other a little better on the trail, things got rowdier and the “feeling” got more defined. Being part of Juliana means doing wheelies and trying the scary sections. It means riding a foot off the next girl’s wheel and trusting she’ll stomp that drop. It means giggling and happy dances and really cute shorts. It’s burritos on the beach and a cold beer after a long ride.
Being a part of Juliana means not listening to those “what if’s” and instead getting out there and having fun supporting each other. Yeah the bikes are really pretty and awesome and everything— but they bring us together and that’s what matters.