Millie Tanner, a 16-year-old sophomore at Sage Hill School, showed excitement Sunday morning at the Fashion Island Cinema.
She left with mixed emotions, mostly positive, after watching the documentary: “Half the Road: The Passion, pitfalls & power of women’s professional cycling.”
She has a small, but meaningful part in the documentary, which is among the movies in the Newport Beach Film Festival. The documentary details the inequalities for women in pro cycling.
“The discrimination from men to women in cycling has become very big,” Tanner said, speaking into a microphone in front of a couple dozen people in a theater after the film ended. “Watching this film, for me, not only reassured to me that we’re starting to go in the right direction, but there is still this unfortunate gap between men and women in cycling. We’re moving in the right direction but we’re not quite there yet. That upsets me but it also motivates me. It gives me a spark that we’re going at this. We’re going through the rough parts. But we still need a lot of change.”
Tanner just might be a key person in that change. She certainly won’t back down from that challenge.
She’s doing all a 16-year-old can to help with the awareness of the adversity against her to become a successful pro. She introduced the film on Sunday, along with her father, Jet Tanner.
On Wednesday night, she’ll also appear at another screening of the film at 7:30 at The Triangle. Amber Neben, who won the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) world time trial championship in 2008 and the U.S. national road race championship in 2003, will also appear.
Kathryn Bertine, a pro cyclist and the director of the documentary, will also be there.
Millie, known to many in the cycling world as, “Milliegoat,” is poised to become a big name, or at least an important figure in her sport, that wants equality on par with the men. She knows it will take a lot of work.
She’s willing to put in the work, mainly because of her strong passion for racing.
With a dad who’s name’s Jet, you’d figure she was destined to race. Jet, an avid cyclist who is the director of Jet Cycling, had always went riding on his bike every morning throughout Millie’s childhood. She wanted to ride too.
Soon, a ride around the block, became a ride around town. She said she started when she was 8. Two years later, she was ready to compete.
So just where does the name, “Milliegoat,” come from?
During her first race, while riding up a hill, a random fan shouted, “Go Billie Goat!” Millie’s mother corrected the fan, saying her daughter’s name is Millie. The fan then called her, “Milliegoat.”
Millie has fun with the nickname, as she has created social media profiles for it. Who knows it could catch on even more after the documentary.
She’ll keep having fun with it. She knows it’s all part of her love for racing and competition. She said she knew it from the start that she was hooked.
“I went for my first race and I absolutely fell in love with the sport,” she said. “It gave me something I never experienced before. The wind in my hair. Just the freedom. I love it. I really can’t explain that it can be like anything else.”
The love Millie has for cycling is a passion shared and expressed by other females in the documentary, which did a great job of providing information on the history of women in cycling and the present challenges.
The documentary also pointed blame toward the media as a reason women are not provided the same or even close to half the opportunities as men in the sport.
However, there seemed to be hope displayed that there can be improvement. That’s where Millie comes in.
This Sunday, she will race in the Dana Point Grand Prix. Then on May 11, she will compete in the Amgen Tour of California race, where she will be the youngest participant in the event.
Milliegoat is also excited about that.