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    Outride The Storm

    Blake Hansen

    If you know Blake Hansen by reputation, she’s a thrill-seeking, ground-breaking MTB rider who shatters gender norms in the sport as she makes way for future generations. If you meet her face to face, her kind, generous manner can’t help but put you at ease. She’s the sort of athlete that balances all these different energies to move the culture forward—mostly by being herself and making riding seem really fun.

    We caught up with Blake after she had a chance to test out pieces from our women’s fall Trail collection on a Vancouver island ride. The island’s rain shadow means precipitation and wind conditions vary greatly depending on the side of the mountain you’re on. In a temperate rainforest, a waterproof cycling jacket and windbreaker are a must, but on the leeward side, moderate temps call for lighter layers. “Talking about the weather” is usually code for “mundane conversation”, but with Blake Hansen, it’s both breezy and profound.

    You’ve also mentioned that you want to be a representation in the sport that people in our generation didn’t have. Can you talk about the importance of the visibility of athletes that don’t fit the molds we grew up with?

    I think historically, the cycling industry specifically has done a subpar job at reflecting the sport’s diversity within its athletes and ambassadors. I grew up watching and respecting the world’s best mountain bikers and bmx’ers, but I never saw myself in them. As a trans person, I never had anyone to look up to within the sports I was raised by. The industry never felt it important to give anyone like that a platform or support. It left enough of an impact that it felt important to speak up and let it be known that things are different now that I’m here.

    In this same vein, digging new mountain bike trails for yourself and future riders is something I know you’ve done. Is there a metaphor here for what your presence means in the sport for future LGBTQ+ riders?

    Haha, I would like to think that being able to get to the place I have with the sport shows the next generation that it’s possible. You don’t have to hide who you are anymore in order to succeed. Be your genuine self, and let that light shine, baby.

    When Blake said this, it all came together for us. Behind these bright, uplifting words is a long journey of recognition and becoming. While her manner is easy, her path hasn’t been. We’re grateful for riders like Blake Hansen, not only for what she brings to the sport but for what she makes others know they can too.