Zara Kane explains why Charlie Brown should be an inspiration to us all

December 13, 2016

The creator of the Peanuts cartoons once said of his character Charlie Brown, that “he must be the one who suffers, because he is a caricature of the average person. Most of us are much more acquainted with losing than winning."  - I could not think of a better way to describe my 2016.

Like Charlie Brown, despite having high hopes I was hit with a lot of bad luck this year, resulting in me becoming self-critical and doubtful, and overall pretty pessimistic.

Charlie Brown

Life set up the football, I went for the kick, life took the ball way.

I started the year hopeful and determined to achieve great things with my last year of university, a season of downhill racing ahead and moving out into the big bad adult world. Due to my studies I didn’t get out riding as often as I would have hoped, but managed the odd ride every few weeks to keep me ticking over.

My Downhill season began and ended on the same day; practice of the SDA at Ae Forest.  On my second practice run I rode confidently (maybe over-confidently) and had a bad crash, winding myself, smashing my chest off the handlebars and coming down hard on my hip. Although there was no severe damage, my confidence was knocked and my season suffered from there.

The photo before the fall

Shortly after this photo was taken, Zara was en route to Hospital

Nerves and self-doubt knocked me at every event I took part in following that crash. I could barely keep my bike in a straight line at Peaty’s Steel City and knocked myself out on a pump track at the Scottish Enduro Series in Glenlivet. The few races I felt confident at ended with mechanicals or silly crashes, but such is the way with racing: someone has to lose, this year it just happened to be my turn.

Outside of the cycling world, my family suffered two terrible and unexpected losses. My Grandma Louise Pearson, who had been bravely battling cancer, passed away early in the year and my Papa Iain Slaven left us suddenly this summer. My parents were my rock and helped me cope with the biggest heartbreaks of my life. This resulted in two unexpected and bittersweet visits from my brother who lives in Las Vegas. Although he was home for such sad occasions, it was so good to have my partner in crime back.

Zara's Grandma and Grandpa passed away this year

The amazing Grandparents who Zara's family lost this year.

The disappointing year I had and the knock it had on my confidence led me to feeling like backing out of all support for 2017. I felt like I didn’t deserve support after performing so badly and was doubtful about the year ahead. However after talking with Hannah at Flare I realized that Flare don’t support me for race results (they’d be screwed if they did), but for so many other reasons. I couldn’t leave my Flare family, not only because they have supported me from day one but because Hannah is the Snoopy to my Charlie Brown. Looks like she’s stuck with me riding for Flare for my third year ;).

Flarey God mother - AKA Snoopy!

The Flarey Godmother, Hannah Myers

In most Peanuts cartoons, everything turns out alright in the end for Charlie Brown, and for me this year is ending the same way. I am healthy, happy and couldn’t have a better support network around me. The sacrifice and hard work I put in during my studies paid off and I graduated top of my class with a 2:1 Honours Degree in Outdoor Pursuits Management, and was lucky enough to be hired by Hotline Europe.

I know I am not the only person who has suffered from a terrible 2016, so I plan to enjoy what is left of it, celebrate the hell out of it ending and welcome 2017 with open arms, a beer and some good memories.

Zara Kane - Ambassador for Flare

Photo by Trevor Worsey 

I’d like to think that Christopher Caldwell would describe me the same way he described Charlie Brown: “He may be a loser, but he's, strangely, a leader at the same time”.

Size Guide

Women's Tops

UK USA World Bust Hip Length (front)
8 4 X-Small 87-90cm 96-99cm 53cm
10 6 Small 91-94cm 100-103cm 54.5cm
12 8 Medium 95-98cm 104-107cm 56cm
14 10 Large 99-102cm 108-111cm 57.5cm
16 12 X-Large 103-106cm 112-115cm 59cm
18 14 XX-Large 107-112cm 116-121cm 61.5cm
20 16 XXX-Large 113-119cm 122-128cm 65cm

Women's Shorts

UK USA Waist Hip Length (inside)
6 2 70-73cm 84-88cm 34cm
8 4 74-77cm 89-93cm 35cm
10 6 78-81cm 94-98cm 36cm
12 8 82-85cm 99-103cm 37cm
14 10 86-89cm 104-108cm 38cm
16 12 90-93cm 109-115cm 39cm
18 14 94-97cm 116-122cm 40cm
20 16 98-101cm 123-129cm 41cm

Men's Tops

Size Chest Length (front)
X-Small 87-91cm 55cm
Small 92-95cm 56.5cm
Medium 96-99cm 58cm
Large 100-109cm 59.5cm
X-Large 110-119cm 61cm
XX-Large 120-127cm 64.5cm
XXX-Large 128-135cm 66cm

Men's Shorts

Size Size  Waist Hip Length (outside)
28" X-Small 69-73cm 84-88cm 60.5cm
30" Small 74-78cm 89-93cm 61.5cm
32" Medium 79-83cm 94-98cm 63.5cm
34" Large 84-88cm 99-103cm 64.5cm
36" X-Large 89-93cm 104-108cm 65.5cm
38" XX-Large 94-98cm 109-113cm 66.5cm
40" XXX-Large 99-103cm 114-118cm 67.5cm