I clicked “end” on our two-hour Facetime call. I sat there for a few moments, going through all of the things that were floating in my mind, all of the points we touched on in one call. We talked about suicide, death, being busy, friendship, bikes and fear. You know, just a quick call. But that’s how it is talking with Sarah. No matter who you are, how you’re ranked, how fast, slow, sponsored, famous, amateur, whoever you are Sarah will make you feel valued, important and special. Perhaps that is why she has been able to build an empire of women on bikes, and we couldn’t be luckier.
Sarah Rawley should be the archetype of human and athlete we teach our children to strive for. She isn’t just a name in one category – she is not just the traveler or the bike racer or the “girlfriend”. She isn’t just a coach or the female face of Yeti. She is a hard worker, she thrives on productivity and can’t seem to have just one piece of the pie, she wants to bake it, serve it and eat it too, and damn it, she does! The thing about Sarah is that should she choose the path of professional athlete she could probably be racing on the pro EWS circuit. She could spend all hours of the day training, resting, racing and traveling but instead she has chosen a different path, and we should all thank her for it. Sarah has successfully built a community of bike riders, people who not only rip on bikes but also teaches all other types of riders how to enjoy the sport we love so much.
It started with Sarah’s vision to have a women’s only bike race. That turned into the Beti Bike Bash in 2010 and over the years has grown from a race into a whole community. Now, thanks to Sarah, we have the Vida Mountain Bike Series where women from beginners to advanced adrenaline seekers can learn a spectrum of skills. Women of all ages and abilities get to ride together. There is comradery between the attendees, coaches and ambassadors. It runs deeper than any race, and any one bike brand. This band of women that Sarah has brought together will keep the industry alive and the sport of mountain biking a little more diverse.
Beyond starting and running those events, Sarah also manages to rally one of the biggest gathering of dirt lovers called the Yeti Tribe Gathering. Held at a different location each year around the world, this gathering is a celebration of life, bikes, friendship (and maybe a little drinking) and Sarah somehow has perfected the art of herding cats and makes it all happen. Oh, and we’re far from done talking about all of the things Sarah has created and organized. Because along with growing multiple communities for us bike enthusiasts, Sarah has managed to work a full-time job, yep that means 40+ hours a week. And just in case you thought that was all, well, she is also a bike racer and a damn good one – I just don’t ask her how much sleep she averages a night.