In kindergarten I became a ballet dropout. My mother’s disappointment was palpable. But I never asked her if it was due more to my lack of interest in dance or in wearing a tutu (likely both).
While you won’t find any childhood photos of me in a tutu, there’s no shortage of photos of us kids in costumes. My mother’s unparalleled seamstress skills were the cause for us to have the deepest costume bin imaginable. She knew just how powerful clothes are and that wearing a costume makes you move and act differently.
More than a few decades lapsed until I wore a tutu again - it was in 2021, after my dear mother's passing. Covid denied us the opportunity to celebrate her life in the traditional sorts of ways and when Mother’s Day was approaching, an idea surfaced and I invited local girlfriends to join me in the desert to celebrate her life. I called it the "1st Annual Mother's Day Pedal for Peg (aka Mom) Bike Olympics."
To know my mother was to know fun.
And bright colors, costumes, juggling, bicycles and profound joy for life.
In preparing for the festivities, I realized my costume bin was lacking so I stocked up with a variety of tutus. My girlfriends indulged me with a bike ride and back at camp they donned costumes as they juggled, pogo-sticked, and relay raced. And we all laughed as I shared Peg stories.
I walked away with a full heart that weekend, grateful for a one in a million mother and grateful for girlfriends willing to show up in my grief. Later that month, I wrote my first (of many) business plans and in October I held the first ever pilot retreat for what was to become The Desert Dose. I didn’t realize it in the moment, but that first Mother’s Day without Peg was a giant spark in the evolution of The Desert Dose.
That November a local girlfriend had invited me on her Grand Canyon Rim to Rim adventure. Way out of my comfort zone, I heard myself saying, without hesitation, “I’m in!” While packing, I slightly panicked when somehow our running attire felt inadequate and desperately tossed in some tutus.
We chuckled all day as we were pampered with the same question: “What’s the occasion for the tutus?” Our typical response was, “Ummm, THIS (gesturing wildly at the Grand Canyon).” My favorite comment was from an elderly man from Utah who saw us and without missing a beat said “I wish I had gotten the memo about wearing my tutu today.”
Wearing tutus just added to our fun. And, I had decided that this adventure was another way to celebrate the life of Peg. In her travels, she had made it to the edge and peered out into the Grand Canyon but hadn’t set foot down into it. If she were still with us, she most definitely would have insisted on sewing us costumes for the occasion.
When my planning evolved with The Desert Dose, purchasing tutus felt like a normal business expense to incur. I found myself making the business decision that tutus would be a component of the coaching uniform and engraved with the self-affirmation:
Tutus are presented as an option to all participants to wear yet never required. When I observed the tutus taking on a life of their own with each participant, it was more than I could have ever imagined.
A few of our "Tutu Testimonials" include:
After our April retreat, a participant signed up for her town’s weekly race series! Her first race was June 1st and her picture (and smile) captures it all:
A participant from Cheyenne, WY, found so much delight in wearing a tutu.
For her, the simple act of putting on a tutu is a reminder to not take herself so seriously on her bike – to let go of the pressure she once placed on herself, to be more playful and have more fun riding her bike.
After our spring retreats, a few participants are connecting weekly to ride together while donning their tutu:
While Peg certainly knew the secret decades ago, research now shows how your clothing impacts your thinking and can boost your confidence and sense of self-empowerment. Without a doubt, tutus are taking on a life of their own at The Desert Dose.
And we wouldn’t want it any other way.
How are you bringing more tutu to your life?
Share your stories and photos with us on social.
A few years back I had the pleasure of crossing paths with and coaching alongside Trisha Leigh with VIDA MTB Series. While I didn’t know Trisha well, I do know she was a bright light who exuded kindness and authenticity to everyone she met. She positively impacted women and girls across the state of Colorado in the mountain bike community. Through the years, I’ve heard friends’ stories about how Trisha often donned her tutu while shredding single track. There’s no doubt Trisha was the quintessential tutu queen and I’d like to think that she is smiling, seeing more confident tutu-wearing women shredding single track.