Winds Of Change

foto(258)My roommate Kirsten Wild and I are in our insanely luxurious hotel room, changing into our cycling kit. Just bib shorts and jersey, no leg warmers or arm warmers today – because it’s 22 degrees here in Qatar. While I’m putting my clothes on, I wonder again how the Qataris will fit us, women on bikes, into their world view? This is the first time I’ll race here and I thought about it a lot before arriving.

The Qataris invite us to race on their roads, but when you think about it, that’s practically the most contradictory thing they can possibly do. Working women are in the minority here. Women are not supposed to be athletes. And women are certainly not supposed to ride around half naked. That’s basically what we do, given their standards. The women I’ve seen till now are either working in this hotel – all foreign and unveiled – or natives wearing burkas.

We hit the road. There are only highways in Doha, so we ride among the cars. Honking cars. Not because they’re annoyed, they give us lots of space, but because they are… yes, what are they exactly? Lots of drivers open the window to…


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