Words By Lydia Tanner
Photos By Ethan Scott
Picture a girl on a bike: her hair is whipping in the wind, she's pedaling hard, and she's leaving clouds of dust curling in her wake. Now picture your doctor, your nanny, the S.W.A.T. team member who just kicked down your door, picture your mom—all chamois-ed up and on the trail. Now multiply that by 200. In fact, go ahead and think of every woman you know, (and wish you knew) in a helmet. You're envisioning the Team LUNA Chix summit.
The Summit is an annual opportunity for the ladies of LUNA to get together, play outside, and meet other chix from across the country. It's also a chance for the girls to meet the Pros and swap what they know about sports nutrition, training plans, chamois creams—stuff we can't always talk about with the boys. In other words, for one weekend of the year hundreds of girls leave their jobs and descend upon the Bay Area, ponytails flying, to celebrate what it is to be a woman in sports.
On the opening night of the summit I was clinging to the edge of a packed room at Clif Bar headquarters in Berkeley, California thankfully incognito in snazzy new LUNA gear and unsure of what to expect. I'd never seen so many women in one place, let alone women athletes. You'd think that as a female myself, the sight would be instantly gratifying, but the truth is that I was totally bewildered. I'm used to the usual machismo-fueled posturing at sports-related events, yet here were runners, swimmers, triathletes and cyclists; all girls, all dressed up, all diligently hydrating and laughing their heads off. They were shattering my notion of small field sizes, trampling my image of the Barbie generation—they were women living well, and there were hundreds of them.
LUNA, originally just the women's-specific branch of Clif Bar, was created to offer women the high-quality ingredients Clif uses, along with the particular nutrients and serving sizes female athletes need. The philosophy of feeling good, living well and being healthy naturally carried over into a pro team, which then branched into LUNA Chix groups across the country, programs for breast cancer awareness, and recently into LUNA Sport, a luxurious new clothing line.
I floated through the weekend trying to figure out how this has been happening right under the noses of the general population. It seemed more and more absurd to complain about my lack of female riding buddies while there are apparently huge numbers of gregarious girls all shredding through the woods of their respective homelands. That's the magic of the LUNA Summit—it raises awareness that there are others out there, other ladies who like to get muddy, work hard, and live mindfully.
The sky on the last morning of the summit was looking shifty, and by the time we'd gotten to the trailhead a steady rain had already begun to fall. It was an undeniably gross day, yet without batting a mascara-ed eyelash the girls pulled up their knee warmers, exchanged maniacal grins and clipped in; ready to ride. Within fifteen minutes we were all thoroughly saturated, and within the hour there was mud in everyone's teeth. There were crashes, there were incredible feats of strength and, like any good ride, there was a good amount of whooping and hollering. The girls took over those misty woods for a few hours, then as quickly as they had come, dissipated back to their separate states and for the rest of the year.
So next time you see your accountant or that girl who serves you coffee, picture her in a helmet. You might just be meeting her alter ego.