It’s no revelation that men and women’s bodies are built differently. Knowing this, one would guess that participating in a co-ed event means there are both men and women products, like jerseys, for instance.
Last weekend Jared and I participated in the Bob Cook Memorial Mt. Evans Hill Climb. With the registration we also received a jersey. Like most cycling events, there are men and women jerseys, which makes sense because both men and women ride bikes.
I picked up our packets early and excited to try on the jersey, I pulled it out of the Primal bag and slung it around my feminine physique. I felt like I was underneath a parachute. What the hell I thought. Did I order the wrong fucking size? I looked at the tag: men’s medium. I could see me mistakenly order a women’s medium, sure, but a men’s? No.
I emailed the race director explaining I found a parachute in my bag instead of a jersey and she was cool enough to offer to replace it. Sweet.
Saturday morning rolls around and I find myself in a hellish line waiting to return the men’s medium for a women’s small. When I finally get up to the lady I was told to speak with, she points me to another one, who is clearly frantic from all the people and tells me to “hold on.”
I felt like quoting Walter Sochack: “I’m calmer than you are.”
After hugging and chatting with the volunteers, she finally turns to me and says, “What do you need?”
“Uh, well, this is a men’s medium and surely, I wouldn’t order something of this size. I was told I could return it for a smaller size. Can I get a women’s small?”
She grabs her yellow notepad and tells me, “We only have men’s sizes.”
First off, let me say that I know jerseys aren’t cheap, especially when you have to order more than one size. I get it. I’m just as stingy as the next person.
How does that encourage more women to start racing or even participating in bike riding events when you’re told, as a woman, “we only have men’s sizes.” How polarizing is that?
So I responded to her, “Well, since I’m a woman I’ll need the smallest men size you have.” She says, “yeah, you’re pretty small,” like it was nothing. Like as a woman herself, the event she’s managing doesn’t welcome women with open arms.
The only redeeming thing of the Bob Cook Memorial Hill Climb was the fact that I came in first in my age group in the gran fondo.