Video & Photo Story: Working Woman's Trans BC

May 21, 2020
by Sarah Rawley  
Views: 4,640    Faves: 10    Comments: 0

What started as a pact to commit to arguably one of the hardest Enduro stage races in the world transformed into a yearlong journey. Two women stemming from completely different professional backgrounds, share what it means to live a life brimming with aspirations, and prove that you can still find your greatest successes on the bike through work-life integration.

Meet Anne Galyean. She holds a PhD in aquatic analytical chemistry and is a force to be reckoned with on the bike, in the gym, in the workplace, and anywhere she puts her mind to. Galyean started racing downhill on the East Coast during college and spent six years racing at the national level through grad school. In 2017, Galyean joined the Yeti/Fox National Factory Enduro Team, where she raced full-time while completing her postdoctoral work at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo. In the same season, she won the Big Mountain Enduro Series and Scott Enduro Cup and was the fastest American woman at the Enduro World Series in Snowmass/Aspen, Colo.

Competitive in nature, more stubborn than anything, Galyean was seeking out the next challenge after retiring from professional racing in 2018 and catapulting her career as a staff scientist at Intertox Inc., a Seattle-based scientific consulting firm.

A typical day in the life of Anne begins at 5 a.m. An hour-long commute into the city and a strength training session proceed walking into the office at 8 a.m.

Not the typical training grounds for a world-class mountain bike athlete. But then again, Anne isn't your typical athlete.

“Of all the things I do on a regular basis, most of them can be boiled down to two major endeavors — being a scientist and a mountain bike athlete. Being a scientist is an obvious path for me. I like solving puzzles and exploring. I also feel a sense of responsibility to use my privilege, education, and able brain to help make the world a better place. At Intertox, we use science to solve problems. High level, we conduct toxicological assessments to determine potential risks to human and environmental health.”

“As for mountain biking, aside from the obvious thrill of riding bikes, I think there is a ton that a sport like mountain biking can offer people. I’ve been trying to create content around the idea that being a weekend warrior isn’t a sacrifice. It’s the maximization and realization of a set of well-rounded, ambitious goals in all aspects of life. I try to talk a lot about work-life integration, about enjoying your hobbies regardless of how much time you have to give. Mountain bike racing has a lot to offer, to women especially, because it teaches us skills like being decisive, embracing fear, and not playing small.”

With a pedigree in gravity racing, the idea of a six-day race, composed of grueling transfers — averaging five to six-thousand feet per day — and some of the steepest, most technical trails that Interior B.C. is notorious for — fit the mold of Galyean’s next challenge. The 2019 Trans BC was on.

Meet Sarah Rawley. Spunky, adventurous, and kale-obsessed, she is also described by her peers as an incredibly busy, productive, and driven individual. At the ripe age of 33 years old, she is already an industry vet of 13 years, entrepreneur, and founder of renowned women’s mountain bike events including the Beti Bike Bash and VIDA MTB Series. Rawley breezed her way through a B.A. in Technical Journalism from Colorado State University and landed her dream job straight out of school with Yeti Cycles in Golden, Colo. There, she developed a knack for producing mountain bike events and embarked on the creative path of writing about the latest trends and events in the industry.

Sarah currently resides in Manitou Springs, Colo. and works for RockShox as Brand Content Specialist.

“My introduction to mountain biking was trial-by-fire through collegiate racing. Every race was a lesson learned — whether learning how to ride clipless pedals the first time in the middle of a race, duct-taping body armor before dropping into my first downhill race at Collegiate Nationals. It’s been humbling since the beginning but a constant source of motivation fueled by aspiration."

Sarah fell in love with mountain biking in 2005 upon entering her first collegiate mountain bike race. It eventually became the avenue to simultaneously develop a career path, grow the women's mountain bike community, and keep the passion for racing alive.

Nutrition has always been a priority in Sarah's training regimen. Over the years Sarah has become a kale connoisseur, mastering the techniques of creating the perfectly massaged kale salad.

Rawley’s background in cross country and road racing followed a natural path towards Enduro when the discipline became more prevalent in North America. Behind the scenes, she helped get Colorado’s premier Enduro series off the ground while competing in as many Enduro races within driving distance as possible. In the summer of 2015, Galyean and Rawley meet at the top of Elk Camp Chair on Snowmass Resort, waiting to drop in for the first run of the day.

“We all knew Anne was fast and would shake up the competition pool in our region. But she didn’t just show up to win. Anne shared her time on practice days helping some of us get more comfortable on features and jumping. She found joy in helping others get out of their comfort zone and accomplish something new.”

The same year, Rawley began to dabble in longer formats of Enduro stage racing. The Andes Pacifico threw her into the deep end of tackling demanding and raw terrain blind, with a heavy dose of culture and adventure. She published her exploits in Mountain Flyer Magazine, thus cementing the goal of combining adventure travel, writing, and racing into one experience.

Over the next few years, Anne and Sarah's paths continue to cross with Anne joining the Yeti/FOX National Factory Enduro Team and Sarah behind the scenes of Yeti's marketing team. Don't be fooled, they are still working as they hit the trail for a sunrise apparel shoot in Moab, Utah before answering the daily influx or work emails and thesis revisions.

Fast forward three years. Galyean and Rawley hadn’t seen each other since standing on the podium at the BME Finals the previous summer. Galyean was fully immersed in her new career in Seattle, the daily structure of early morning strength sessions, and commuting in and out of the big city, rain or shine. Rawley was recovering from knee surgery, long overdue from years of endurance pursuits, jugging her full-time job, side business, and gearing up to bikepack the 250-mile Coconino Loop for a media project in a few months.

This is when the pact was created.

It was August, and Galyean was already calculating her approach into what feels like unfamiliar territory. It started with a call to pick Rawley's brain, “I’m thinking about racing the Trans BC next summer, but I’m nervous.”

“What do you have to be nervous about?” Rawley jests, fully knowing that Galyean has the capability to ride any terrain — fast, smooth, intuitively, and fearlessly.

It’s no wonder that Anne has aptly acquired the nickname #ANNESMASH.

“The climbs. Racing for six days straight. And blind. The hike a’ bikes. The altitude. Getting my nutrition dialed. Being able to train for it while working full-time.”

“If I can make it through the week, you can certainly do it,” Rawley reassures. “How about this? I’ll tow us up the climbs if you wait for me at the end of each stage.”

Living at the base of 14,115-foot Pikes Peak, Sarah is accustom to big climbs and thin air.

Throughout the winter, the two kept tabs on each other. Training in the dark, wet days in the PNW can be very different than Colorado. Both women logged time on the trainer to compensate for limited daylight outside the office. While Galyean sampled dank loam on the weekends, Rawley traded some long training days on the bike for ski touring in the alpine. She was, after all, headed down to New Zealand mid-February to once again, double down on writing and riding at the Trans NZ Enduro.

Sarah developed a niche for event reporting after meeting Megan Rose, race director of the Trans NZ Enduro and Trans BC Enduro at the EWS in Crested Butte. "When [Megan] mentioned she was looking for someone who could not only write press releases but actually be out on the tracks, ideally racing, to convey the authentic experience of her events, I knew I had found myself in the right place, at the right time.”

Day 5 of the Trans NZ Enduro transported racers to Alexandra, where roots were replaced by rocks, the dense canopy of the beech forest evaporated into thin air. "It’s most similar to Colorado and where I feel at home. I was JRA… must have clipped a pedal and sidelined myself in a pile of rocks. Frantic, I tried to push myself up. The clock was still ticking. Something wasn’t right. I tried to push again. I still couldn’t get up. I pulled my arm out from a crack in the rocks and realized that my arm had an extra bend in it. As I headed into shock and later on, the surreal drug-induced euphoria until my dislocated elbow was reduced, I hadn’t quite comprehended what this would mean for the rest of the year.”

JRA, just moments before Sarah got stuck between a rock and a hard spot (aka another rock) and dislocated her elbow. With four months until the next big race, the clock begins to tick.

Six weeks of full-time RoboArm left Rawley with 12 weeks to rebuild before the Trans BC. It felt inconceivable that racing another stage race, one that is unequivocally more technical and strenuous, would be possible. While Galyean was reaching max weight on her deadlifts, Rawley celebrated the day she did bicep curls with a 2-pound weight.

Anne has been training with Jen Kates (Shift Human Performance) for two years. Jen, a former scientific researcher, and Anne love nerding out on the science of training. Jen specializes in training folks with full, busy lives by helping her clients manage stress and integrate practical training to avoid burnout.

As doubt begins to seep in, Sarah focuses on what she can do to make small gains. Working with Dee Tidwell from Enduro MTB Training since 2011, Sarah is no stranger to spending time in the gym and credits being able to return to racing after dislocating her elbow with a regimented program of consistent PT, soft tissue therapy and kale.

With any injury prognosis, time off the bike can feel like an eternity. But the moment you're back to riding, it all feels like a time warp.

The weeks ticked by. Seven weeks until the first day of racing, Rawley was back on her mountain bike and for the first time racing felt remotely within reach.

bigquotesAdmittedly so, some of my goals have been lofty. Especially when there’s an equation based on time and injury rehab. But having elevated goals that steer my intentions and purpose during recovery have been key. Sarah Rawley

Anne's workload continues to ramp up, making it difficult to accomplish longer rides leading into the race.

bigquotesOne thing that I feel really strongly about is that true balance isn’t real. Sometimes, one thing pulls harder and other things have to give a little. I just try to focus my energy on what’s most important at any given time. Anne Galyean

The week before the race, both Galyean and Rawley tricked themselves into thinking they were taking a rest week when really, they were just trading training hours for a 60-hour workweek. After their respective flights to Calgary, Alberta, high-fives were met with hugs and a sense of relief.

“We made it. I’ve always said the hardest part is showing up. That was my goal— to be physically capable to ride all of the stages, overcome the fears of injury, and have the focus amidst a hectic summer of my own event planning to keep churning out daily reports,” Rawley said.

The Trans BC is the brainchild of the woman, the myth, the legend — Megan Rose — the unicorn of race promoters who pulls off one of the most logistically challenging races as calm and collected as they come. And yet, she still finds time in the week to throw down blistering fast times on any given stage.

Four months later Sarah Rawley gets to thank Zoe the on-course medic from the Trans NZ Enduro for spending an afternoon together in the ER. A massive chuurrrr to the medic support at Enduro events allowing riders to take risks and feel safe.
Four months later, Sarah Rawley thanks Zoe Gilmer in person, the on-course medic from the Trans NZ Enduro, for spending an afternoon together in the ER. A massive chur the medic support at Enduro events allowing riders to take risks and feel safe.

Anne drops into Stage 4 on Day 2 of the Trans BC Enduro after a monster 2.55 kilometer and 433-meter hike-a-bike to the summit of Little Brewer.

Galyean did everything possible in her bandwidth to be strong, mentally prepared and focused to put down some fast times, but she knew the transfers would be a challenge. Together, the two set out with different goals but committed to supporting each other through the highs and lows of a demanding week in the saddle.

While Enduro racing is a solo effort, it helps to have a partner in crime to hold you accountable, keep the spirits high, and share snacks when you're running low.

Even the Working Woman has to recharge her batteries for back-to-back days in the saddle in a multi-day Enduro stage race.

“Blind racing was totally new for me, and it took me half of Trans BC to figure out what blind racing was all about.” Eventually, Galyean found her cadence. She won Day 5 in Crowsnest Pass and ended up in 2nd place on Day 6. “I finally learned to stop attacking like it was a regular race, relax, and have more fun.”

The final day of an Enduro stage race feels like it should be the home stretch, but after six days,165 kilometers (103 miles), 8,300 meters (27,230 feet) of climbing and 11,500 meters (37,730 feet) of descending, the back-to-back days made the last push feel even more punishing before dropping into the final stage of the week.

bigquotesCrossing the finish line, I realized that I had won. Not the race, but overcoming the doubt, the odds, and physical barriers that I could have easily used as excuses for taking it up “next year”. When something’s hard, the timing’s inconvenient, or you find yourself out of your comfort zone, whether you can or can’t, it’s your choice. Sarah Rawley

In different shapes, both Galyean and Rawley achieved their goals at the Trans BC, but it didn’t linger long. Savoring the last couple hours in the airport before departing for home, they shared their next set of goals.

Upon returning home, Sarah took a leap in her professional life to accept a new role with RockShox and move to Colorado Springs to further explore her passion for integrating work and travel.

Riding the high of completing the Trans BC, Sarah redislocates her elbow back in Colorado. She takes up running and climbing 14'ers to pass the time until she can return to mountain biking late fall. She's happy to report that nine months later, RoboArm 2.0 has kept her swelbo in one piece and she's back to riding at full capacity.

Anne continues to solve the world's problems by week and crush QOM's on the weekends now as a Free Agent for Juliana Bicycles and SRAM Women's Program Ambassador. Galyean is steadily climbing the corporate ladder and building new mountain bike coaching programs that focus on racing for intermediate and advanced riders.

While these two pressed pause on one aspect of their lives to fully live out the adventure they had once manifested, they knew returning home would be just as gratifying.

bigquotesIt’s not an either-or scenario, you can have both. We only have so much time to dedicate to the things that we love. So give you what you can give and make time for the important stuff. Sarah and Anne

Project Supported by: Smith Optics and Maxxis Tires
Filmed and Edited by: Ben Duke
Additional Footage by: Ben Saheb
Words by: Sarah Rawley
Photo Credits: Ben Duke, Natalie Starr, Matthew DeLorme, Flow Photo Co, Joey Schusler, Kristina Vackova

From dawn until dusk, the essential gear of the Working Woman.


  • 8 0
 Fantastic article! There's a lot to be impressed with here with both of these riders on and off the trails. I dislocated an elbow about 5 years ago going into a rock garden too slowly. Given all my wrist breaks, collar bone breaks, open heart surgery, etc, the elbow dislocation was by far the most painful thing I've been through. I was lucky enough to be able to get it back into place in probably under a minute. But I was on the side of the trail for another 20 minutes constantly on the verge of passing out.
  • 5 0
 Thank you! That's intense. Glad you healed up and got back on the bike. I can't imagine how much pain Sarah fought through during this project. Incredible!
  • 3 0
 @C9H13NO3: that's a clever name????
  • 3 0
 @clink83: Science!
  • 7 0
 More of this! Showcase the hard working women and men in our sport, love the profile pieces. Dedicating yourself completely to a full time job/school whatever plus a serious "hobby" is not easy. I hope that my daughter gets this drive to set and achieve goals even when things get tough. It's a great attribute that these women clearly have in spades. SO SICK!
  • 2 0
 Thank you so much! We love what we do. We're stoked to see the next generation grow up to shred and make the world better!
  • 7 0
 Its inspiring to see the details of how these two juggle the day-to-day of grown-up jobs and proper athleticism on the world stage. The Trans BC is a beast, but Anne and Sarah are bigger beasts.
  • 1 0
 Thanks, Leigh!
  • 1 0
 Thanks Leigh! You are high on the list of inspiring ladyshredders out there! I'll never forget the first stage of the first Trans BC watching you drop in with your patriotic tights on!
  • 5 0
 Wow that turned out so good! Way to go Sarah and Anne! You two are the two hardest working #ladyshred athletes I've ever worked with. Sarah, your perseverance and dedication to your sport, rehab and industry leading ideas (like has always been inspirational to me. Anne your hard work, "push hard till I win" attitude was exceptional. Thank you lady's for this piece and proof you can be at the top of your game in life, career and sport!
  • 2 0
 We always appreciate your unwavering support, Dee! Thank you!
  • 2 0
 Thank you Dee for your support, expertise and encouragement through thick and thin! I wouldn't have been able to get back out there so soon without you checking in and making sure I was staying on top of self-care and strength training! Gonna keep this swelbo in one piece from here on out Smile
  • 5 0
 YES! YES! YES! A story that shows just how dang hard it is to succeed day after day and that is isn't all rainbows and unicorns. These two women have and will continue to inspire our industry and be leaders in not only being exceptional athletes, but (and maybe more importantly) in also being exceptionally kind, compassionate human beings. While I may be biased, this is one the best pieces of content I have seen in a long while. Introspective, real, and has some legit #LadyShred. Onward and upward.
  • 1 0
 Thanks! Really appreciate the kind words.
  • 8 0
 More media like this!
  • 2 0
 Yes, please!
  • 2 0
 YES! So agree. With depth, insight, instropection AND amazing riding.
  • 2 0
 Anne, do you work a pretty stable 8-5 schedule? If so, that's even more impressive. I know a lot of pros ask for flexibility with their jobs (or merely work for their sponsors), and I know quite a few pros who work alternative schedules (as-needed basis, 4-10, 3-12 schedules), but to be "confined" to an office during peak riding hours must require incredible discipline, if only to keep the job!
  • 3 0
 Yep, I keep fairly normal working hours. The daily commute was a way to help manage that. I recently moved closer to the trails, too far to commute, but it allows for some after-work rides if I get home before dark.
  • 6 0
 Shit yeah this is the content I'm here for!
  • 2 0
 Thank you! We're so glad you dig it!
  • 2 0
 Loved this so much! As a full-hearted weekend warrior, I wouldn't have it any other way. Glad to see two other women getting some press who feel the same. Plus I've taken two Vida clinics and they changed my riding completely. Thank you for this Smile
  • 1 0
 @margiebike thank you for the kind words! So pumped to hear that VIDA has been a gamechanger for you.
  • 1 0
 Such a well written article, I really enjoyed it! It was so rad meeting both you powerful women during the race. I like what Anne said, that life isn’t necessarily about balance, but rather a pendulum of priorities.
  • 1 0
 Thank you! That was such an amazing week. You absolutely crushed it!
  • 1 0
 Hey Anne and Sarah! Great article + feature video... always a fan and warmest greetings from Singapore...RIDE ON! Smile - Wilson
  • 1 0
 Thank you!
  • 1 0
 Thanks, Wilson! Hope you see you at a future Enduro stage race or Tribe Gathering! Your media content is so fun to follow, hope to join you for a shred on the other side of the globe when events are back on!
  • 2 0
 Well done ladies! I love this piece and realities of work/race life balance.
  • 1 0
 Thanks! Glad this resonates with you.
  • 1 0
 OMG a Capt Rex tat!? Ok Anne that's freakin awesome! Also this whole thing is awesome!
  • 1 0
 Thank you! I'm so glad you noticed Smile . He's just the best.
  • 2 0
 Best article of the year. Very inspiring!
  • 1 0
 Awesome, thank you!
  • 1 0
 Loved this! Now I am feeling happy that I have until 2021 to do more training. Inspiring!
  • 1 0
 Thank you! Are you doing Trans BC 2021?
  • 1 0
 @C9H13NO3: Yes, I was so excited for 2020 and now the positive of all this is I get one more year to train and get ready. Super excited and terrified. I loved the video. Inspiring as I am trying to balance 40+ hour work week and training. Thank you.
  • 1 0
 @Mtbcvme: you totally got this! It will be the most fun you'll ever have on your bike.
  • 1 0
 very well done. Inspiring ladies.
  • 1 0
 Thank you!!
  • 1 0
 So so rad. Much love
  • 1 0

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