In the arena of endurance sports, the spotlight often falls on the front-runners – the fastest, the strongest, the record setters. But a new film by Annie Le, titled “The Pink Dots,” strives to shine a light on a different set of competitors: the women who took on the grueling Highland Trail 550 bikepacking race in Scotland in 2022. Far from being a simple chronicle of a race, Le’s film seeks to share stories from across the field, showcasing not just the athletic prowess of these women, but their camaraderie, grit, and personal motivations.
The Highland Trail, designed by Alan Goldsmith in 2013 as a warm-up for the Colorado Trail, is a beast of a challenge, spanning 550 miles of rugged, unpredictable terrain across the Scottish Highlands. Despite its grueling nature, it has seen a steady increase in female competitors over the years, culminating in a record 17 starters in 2022, affectionately known as “The Pink Dots.”
While women riders constitute just 8% of all starters, their tenacity has been a testament to the rising prominence of women in the field, with a finish rate slightly higher than their male counterparts. Noteworthy performances include Iona Evans, the first woman to take on the route, and Lee Craigie, who set the current women’s record in 2018.
Annie Le’s film provides a refreshing perspective that focuses not only on the winning times but also on the trials and triumphs of the women who dared to take on this epic journey. Le skillfully captures the essence of the riders – their determination, resilience, and, most importantly, their individual definitions of success.
“The Pink Dots” underscores the importance of representation and inclusivity.