[words by Nina Mastandrea @ninamastandrea. Answers by Brianna Goral @grannygeargoral and Nina]
As a fairly new team to the world of cycling, we get lots of questions.
Yesterday (Monday, Nov. 12) we asked y’all on Instagram what are some of your questions that you have been dying to ask us, and oh did y’all hit us with some good ones. Once we were done gathering your questions, we told y’all we would answer them in the blog. Well, folks! Here is that post.
Enjoy as Brianna and I answer your questions and give you answers on topics such as our team mascot, how we prefer our grits, and how our team came to be.
How did GRITS come to be? Where are y’all based out of?
Bri: We started as a "club" idea. I honestly wasn't sure what I wanted for GRITS, until a friend requested that we get team kits printed for Dirty Kanza. From there, I decided to recruit a few of my rad lady friends to form an actual team. The rest is history!
Nina: As the second-recent member of the team, Bri asked me on in order to bring the good word of GRITS over to North Carolina. I live in Boone, North Carolina, a.k.a the greatest place on earth especially if you are a cyclist, but I don’t know, I might be biased. With exception to myself, all the ladies on GRITS live in Atlanta, Georgia.
Is it a requirement to be an awesomely cool lady person to be on GRITS or is it just a coincidence?
Bri: HAH! I'm real blest (baja blest, if you will) to be surrounded by a really rad group of pals of both genders so recruiting womxn with similar views and stoke levels was incredibly easy.
Nina: We want all the ladies (and the gents that support us!) to be positive ambassadors for the sport. So while it’s not a “requirement” if you love to shred your bike, learn new stuff, invite others into the sport, and get dirty while doing it, then you are probably super cool!
Do y’all ever think about how much cycling needs to improve as far as being inclusive?
Bri: Heck yeah! I think we've done an amazing job getting women's cycling to where it is currently. We being society as a whole, not just us. I think GRITS came together at a perfect time where all eyes are sort of on what women in the sport are doing. We're all learning from each other as we go and we're thankful to have such a rad community to be learning from.
Nina: All the time. A large part of the GRITS mission is to cultivate a community of women (with a focus on the southeast) who want to race, ride, and explore cycling. We are focused on positive change, awareness, and making racing accessible for all those excited to get involved. No matter who you are or what bike you ride, cycling is a sport for you.
When are you getting a real opossum to have as your team mascot?
Bri: DJ Poss does a WONDERFUL job as our current team mascot. Hopefully all possum critters are out there in the wild living there safe little happy lives, but if one were to need us to care for it, we wouldn't bat an eye at having to raise a possum as our own :p
Nina: Please see Bri’s response above as the opossum is her spirit animal.
Any plans to expand to other types of racing such as road, track, BMX, etc.?
Bri: I think we'll always be a dedicated off-road team, but as we get bigger and more involved in the community, we hope to help cultivate this community in any and all disciplines of cycling. Personally, I have a bad habit of being a jack of all trades so I'm already eyeing up a track bike and looking forward to racing my road bike more next season!
Nina: Most, if not all, the ladies on GRITS dabble in some other form of cycling. For me, it’s road and BMX. Though our focus will remain on off-road cycling and racing (mountain and cyclocross), if it’s got two wheels, we support your need to shred on it!
Do you put sugar on your grits?
Bri: Listen. Yes, I do. As southern as I am, my parents are from the north and didn't raise me right.
Nina: Ok, so this is a little controversial, but I don’t love grits. I’m an oatmeal type of gal. Please don’t send me hate mail.
How many beers?
What are the team’s plans for the New Year?
Bri: I'm overwhelmed by this question. I want to do it all! Going in to year two, having some experience running a team under our belts....We're expanding our North Carolina chapter and currently in touch with some real rad womxn & sponsors to add to our roster next season!
Nina: Ohhh do we have some exciting stuff for the New Year. For starters, GRITS will be creating an “elite” team (5–6 riders in GA and 5 in NC) and a club team. And that’s just the start of it! You’ll just have to stay tuned…
If you could tell your younger rider self one piece of advice, what would that be?
Bri: I really expected to have a rad answer for this but I really don't know. Maybe take less to heart and don't compare yourself to other riders around you? Ride when I started, one of my good friends was starting her adventure down the pro circuit and living the dream! I think that I spent a lot of my time as a young rider just focusing on how to become THAT, that I then slowed down my personal progress. I wouldn't train because I wasn't good enough. I'm really competitive so if I'm not good at something, I tend to lose interest really quickly. That's real dumb, though. Nina is saying what I want to be saying much nicer:
Nina: For me, I would say I try and keep it 75/25 on riding for training (in order to race) and riding just for fun (really no plan, just having fun on two wheels). During the times of the year where I seem to be doing a lot more riding for training and found myself getting frustrated I wish I had the foresight to tell myself “slow progress is still progress.” On more than a few occasions, I became disappointed that I was not seeing the results that I had hoped for, but in reality, I was light years ahead from where I was back on day 1. It’s important to recognize that the small gains you make consistently day in and day out add up to big improvements in the long run.
Where can I buy one of your rad t-shirts?
Bri: We got an Etsy shop. Or you can hit me up at a race! I usually have em on me, but no promises. Etsy is preferred :)
If GRITS were a boy band who would be the rebel, the innocent one, the cutie pie, the class clown, the mysterious one, etc.?
Bri: Damn uhm....I wanna be the rebel.
Hannah is probably the innocent one, Karli is the mysterious one, Staje has the cutie pie one, uhmmmmmm IDK. I think we're all just a gaggle of weirdos. Please buy our records.
Nina: I know for sure I’m the class clown, I’m just a total goof.
& That's all for this round, folks! Thanks to everyone for partaking in our first ever Q&A. Please be sure to follow our socials for the next one :)