People of Earth,
My goal in starting Koochella with my friends was to facilitate growth of competition in our local track racing community. We would foster new racers and recruit our competition and make racing fun in the process. We would talk about the beginner amateur racing experience and how it can be positively transformative to the individual and community.
Our track racing community has grown substantially in the three years Koochella has been in business. And while there is always room to grow, Minnesota track racing is on the up and up.
And what’s probably most exciting to me is that Koochella can’t take all the credit. Growth is a community imperative. That’s why we’re successful.
As a result, my personal focus has been elsewhere. With a great group of women in action on the Koochella team, I sought to broaden the team’s impact by extending space within the Koochella club umbrella to women’s teams starting up in other cities. In the 2016 racing season, Club Koochella consisted of five women’s teams in four states. Four of those women’s teams were track-focused to help grow programs in other velodromes.
I started to realize months ago that with the unique demands of my professional life and my broader personal focus that I was not the best Koochella team captain to have at home. My mission had diverged from that of the team I had helped to build. I looked around and it was obvious that I was taking valuable space and resources from an up-and-coming racer that would benefit from it far more than I.
I shared this with my teammates and they stepped up immediately and with enthusiasm, because that’s the kind of strong, capable, and motivated people they are. And, to be honest, they were running most of the team operations as it was.
It isn’t a sad departure. I’m happy for where the team will go, as I always am. I am happy to have gotten to know and race alongside these incredible people. I am better for knowing every single one of the women who has worn a Koochella kit. But I know in my heart that the success of the program is more proven by what it can do without me than by what I can do for it.
As far as what’s next for me, I’m going to keep doing what meshes with my mission statement: facilitating opportunities for women/trans/femme people within cycling, the sport and the pastime. I will continue to be active and work for good things. I will push for elevating the sport. And yes, there will be a new crazy-kitted vehicle for my personal racing- which I am able to have because I know that Koochella is in better hands than mine.
Thank you, Koochella, for everything you’ve given me. I’m a much better person because of you and I’m so excited to see what you become. I know you’ll knock it out of the park.
You are all diamonds. Stay dry.
Anna “Mama Duck” Schwinn
Co-Founder and Proud Former Captain of Koochella