Author: Kristin Conrad
Preface: As I sat down to write this piece, I began by doing a VERY small amount of research online to humor the intro section. I was again reminded of why women are in this continual push to create an atmosphere where “equality” and a mutual level of “respect” is the norm. I Googled the words STEREOTYPES FOR (on multiple devices); the very first suggestion said WOMEN.
DID YOU KNOW that girls can’t get along? Have you heard how catty they are? That they need a man to fix things? Or that women shouldn’t travel solo? OH! They also HATE to get dirty. And please, by all means, stay OFF the roads because chicks can’t drive! That one is my favorite. The list was long, I could have gone on, and I bet you probably thought of a few too. That put a halt to my research. WHY? Because they are all just misleading stereotypes. Boring.
There are many ways in which people can continue to respond to these ideals. For starters, I enjoy a witty retort laced with sarcasm when moments arise where my ability or equality is questioned. Science claims laughter and happiness will help you live longer, and I for sure encourage healthy living. So it works for me, and it seems like a much better defense mechanism in the long run. Changing these tired perspectives has been a gradual thing and may rely on more subtle efforts than what I offer.
When you are a female that participates in a sport like rock crawling and off-roading, you often get some entertaining and creative reactions when people ask more about it. We can’t out run those darn stereotypes about driving, so we may as well have fun while continuing to break the mold. Women are truly capable of so many things. When we get together, share strengths, and build one another up, we can accomplishing anything. We bloom when we challenge ourselves and each other. That is where this story really begins to take shape.
A brief recap before I continue. My journey to Fury Rode began in April of 2017, when I threw my proverbial “helmet” into the Ladies Offroad Challenge on a last minute crazy whim. I am always looking to meet fellow passionate off-road ladies, and this was an opportunity to meet like-minded enthusiasts. I also really wanted to the opportunity to finally gauge my own skills. It was a put up or shut up in my own mind. I have always been very competitive, and off-roading is no different. Did I mention I was competitive?
Phase 1 of the Ladies Offroad Challenge was the social media voting! I learned quickly that social media was now a beast that could make or break my success in this endeavor, and not just a way to show grandma pictures of the kids. Confession: I don’t always feel confident when my success depends on other people. Here I was in a situation where I needed to say ‘VOTE FOR ME’, and gain votes of confidence! A polar plunge or tooth extraction would have been a viable Plan B for me, if given the choice. I was hoping people were more confident about me than I was in that moment! I am an OFF-ROADER to the core, it is my passion. I enjoy the adventure and doing what I am skilled at, and that was my focused goal. Now, I am in a situation where other people were going to have a role in my fate. Lovely. However, thru this process, I was shown that I had amazing support. I continued to trust that my tools were sharp, and I had something to contribute. The momentum continued as I made it to the Top 10 Training Weekend in Arizona, where I met and bonded with some amazing ladies from around the U.S.. During final announcement, I learned I would be a co-driver with Melissa Fischer out of Moab as an extra team to represent Ladies Offroad Network in the buggy class at the inaugural FURY RODE event at Sand Hollow, UTAH! I could not have been more excited. Wheeling?! Competition?! Now we’re talking.
WOO HOO! I finally get to compete! Wait!? Who is Melissa? I was partnered with a total stranger AND not driving. I am not always a great passenger (control issues). I hoped we would mesh and at least finish the race. I was keeping my expectations realistic. It did not take long for me to start checking my new teammate out on good ole’ SOCIAL MEDIA. WOW! Was I impressed. Yes, I looked at what she was “working with” in advance 😉 Melissa’s rig has a shapelier back end than mine, larger tires, and a real solid chassis. Yup! I checked it all out and I said “HECK YEAH”! I love to see a woman represent. We both have rock crawling backgrounds and very similar vehicles. This could be a match made in heaven.
This is where stereotypes come back into play. Many people may naturally expect a moment of catty thoughts or behavior since we are women, both rock crawlers, competitive, coming from different worlds. We should get along horribly and should want to start plotting things you only see on the Bravo network! Well… Spoiler Alert: We were actually pretty funny together, so maybe we are best suited for the Comedy channel.
Getting ready for Fury Rode was different for me. My usual wheeling trips involve a checklist of things to get the vehicle prepared. All I needed to do was pack a bag and my safety gear. I was already feeling different as a co-driver. It’s not my usual hat, so I was determined to figure out how to be useful. I was really out of control to help Melissa with anything as far as getting her Jeep RedRoxx ready and compliant. My spare gas can would have to be my prep. contribution.
The road trip on the way to compete in Fury Road was enjoyable. Getting to reconnect with Jessy was great. I realized that getting through the competition to make it to this point seemed to be the most nerve wracking part. I have gained so many sisters along the way, and that has been the biggest take away from it all. Now, here we were and there was so much still to look forward to. We had 5 days of fun and events ahead we were on our way to doing what we loved to do. WHEEL! Driving up to Utah showed us an amazingly beautiful part of our country. Our smiles were beaming as we chatted with anticipation for the days ahead.
We adventured indeed. As a great way to kick off our time together as a foursome, Charlene, Jessy, Melissa and I spent a day in Zion National Park. Melissa and I took advantage of getting to know each other along the way. To say we were got along was an understatement. We made comedy and music together during our time behind the wheel. With the competition pending, we took advantage of a few days of pre-running the course and trying to figure strategies for Saturday. I’m always happy when wheeling is on the menu! We enjoyed all the different terrains that Sand Hollow had to offer. This was where as a team our different strengths came out and helped us to excel. Melissa is an exceptional crawler, and I love the dunes and Baja style driving. The course slammed us with it all. And we had a blast! We really began to feel we had a groove. Melissa showed her patience as I am not used to taking my eyes off the road and navigating. That was my hat to wear, and despite a few extra turns, I think I earned my topographical map navigation patch.
The day of the competition was a little more serious but the overall goal is always to have a good time, be safe, and have fun. It was an early start for sure. We ended at sundown, and successfully completed 2 course laps and the 5 built in scored challenges. We proudly placed 1st in class in rock crawling challenge, the winch challenge, and the paintball challenge! In the end our team placed first in the buggy class AND won overall in the inaugural Fury Rode Competition. Jessy and Charlene in came in 3rd and 1st in their class! GO GIRLS! We were challenged, shaken, bounced, stirred, and had a blast start to finish. THAT was the goal. The win was just another fun reminder that YES WE CAN. I still love the reaction I get when people learn there were men in the competition too. People assume it was women only. One day that will create less of a stir.
The Ladies Offroad Challenge, and Fury Rode was an exciting experience filled with learning, fun, sport, and friendship. I liked feeling like I was on my own version of the show Survivor mashed with MTV’s Real World with an extreme sport twist. Life is an experience and the results you get come from what you bring to the table. I believe that whatever arena of work or play that you participate in, it is important to carry yourself to the best of your abilities. On a singular level, we can shine when we allow our passions and skills to speak for themselves when competing or obtaining our goals. In a group environment, when people come together for a common interest, great things can be accomplished. If you have the right attitude, the willingness to contribute 100% effort, combined with the tools in your toolbox that make you a great asset, then the odds for success are in everyone’s favor. Our group came together as individuals with our own styles, and we did great things. Utah and Fury Rode did not disappoint, Zion was fabulous, and the colors will remain ingrained in my mind until I return again. I appreciate Ladies Offroad Network for this awesome opportunity to compete, all the support from family and friends, and to the ladies who made the experience one of a lifetime.
Shatter goals, do what you love, and find the humor in everything, including silly stereotypes.
Click here to see all the Ladies Offroad Challenge coverage.
Author: Ladies Offroad Network Staff
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Relive Kristin Conrad's Ladies Offroad Challenge Füry Rode experience -> www.ladiesoffroadnetwork.com/kristin-conrads-fury-rode-experience "My journey to Fury Rode began in April of 2017, when I threw my proverbial “helmet” into the Ladies Offroad Challenge on a last minute crazy whim. I am always looking to meet fellow passionate off-road ladies, and this was an opportunity to meet like-minded enthusiasts. I also really wanted to the opportunity to finally gauge my own skills. It was a put up or shut up in my own mind. I have always been very competitive, and off-roading is no different. Did I mention I was competitive?..." . Enjoy her full story at: www.ladiesoffroadnetwork.com/kristin-conrads-fury-rode-experience . @core_chick @trail.hero #ladiesoffroadnetwork #ladiesoffroadchallenge #furyrode #trailhero #ladiesofoffroad #utah #sandhollow #dirt #ladydrivers #jeep #buggy #corechick #desert #racing #desertracing #womenracers #offroad #offroading #crawling
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