a few things are true:
1) I am a man
2) the vast majority of usac members are men
3) I (like most men), in no way whatsoever, stand to benefit from increased women's racing. best case it has no effect on me.
4) I am not a promoter, so there is no potential financial upside to me
I think rather than dictating what the right thing for others to do is Grolby should put his money where his mouth is and promote some races. From what I've seen in the race promotion end (my team puts on at least a race a year) and from others who promote, turning a profit takes a bit of luck, some deftness managing expenses, and decent field sizes. To say that so and so needs to toss money down the well because it's the right thing to do elicits a big yawn from me. Having run big boy businesses my core reactivity to that is **** you, go get your own money and do your own thing and let's see how it works out.
The core issue around here is that women want as many fields, at as many races, and with as much money as men. But they don't show up and promoters are burning cash during their events, and taking money and race miles out of the folks who are actually filling fields.
Again the few women who race and want to race hard want parity that can't exist because they don't have the base. From the promoter and marketing end an untapped resource is recognized. But unless women actually do what they need to do to insure that their end of the sport grows no change is going to happen. To posit that we all share some collective interest or responsibility is a bit too self righteous. My only interest in this sport is my own 60 minutes of race time. My interest is participatory. I don't care if some guy's kid has an event, or his wife. I have my own interests in life (like the vast majority of people involved in cycling) and they take the overwhelming majority of my time and energy. This is bowling. Knitting. A hobby for most of us.
So if you feel strongly about something get out there and make it happen. But save the jewish guilt for when your kids leave you in the nursing home.
Last edited by gsteinb; 03-26-14 at 08:38 AM.
If women dislike road racing then perhaps we should consider the possibility that road racing is stupid....
As I've said before, my wife races. She races a lot, and I try to support her..
And my team puts on races, and I agree with everything Gstein said about putting on a race. We do it to make money to support out charitable efforts.
In 2013, we added a women's open race to our winter race series. The first year, we had a women's team that my wife managed, provide the pot for that event. We had about 8 women show up, three from that team.
This year, despite my wife's desire to support the event, the team decided it didn't want to do it. They thought it was too cold to race, too early in the season, and they didn't want to put any money on the line. So we put up the money ourselves. And we offered separate payouts for the 1/2/3 and 4s to encourage more participation. We had 9 women the first week (two 1/2/3s, meaning they were guaranteed payout) and about 15 women the second week (four 1/2/3s). It was a pretty pathetic turnout.
[QUOTE=gsteinb;16612739I think rather than dictating what the right thing for others to do is Grolby should put his money where his mouth is and promote some races.[/QUOTE]
And that's fair enough. I want to emphasize again that I don't think it's easy. And yeah, it's not fair to tell promoters to throw money down a well. But the thing is - the world is not fair to women every single damn day. So I think there's some burden on us to try and do something, even if it costs us something. Don't agree with me? It's a free country, isn't it? I'm under no impression that it's simple. The economics are a real obstacle. I'm saying to the extent that it's economically feasible, we should do what we can. I'm not going to get bent out of shape if you have a different opinion. We're both probably having equal effect on the situation, that is to say, **** all.
Then there's the fact that we know a number of things about socialization and male and female children and personality formation. Boys are encouraged toward and rewarded toward more masculine behaviors and discouraged from and punished for more feminine behaviors. The reverse is true for girls. We know that this molds behavior in powerful ways. It's certainly reasonable to suggest that hormone differences have an effect in the population on personality characteristics, but the social component clearly has enormous explanatory power that can't be handwaved away. I suppose you could dismiss this argument if you don't think strong enforcement of gender roles is a cultural problem, so maybe you just don't care. But I do.
Honestly, I think this is a bit of a rabbit hole, because I don't actually see how whether or not "women" (as some sort of, I don't know, Platonic construction of a group of humans who actually vary quite a bit in interests and needs) like bike racing is terribly relevant to the question of how to make the experience better for women racers. Which is a different question from how to get more women involved, which is something that probably has to happen to make the experience better.
I have one more thought on this - one of the biggest challenges here is the format of road racing. Underrepresented categories are going to be much harder to still serve effectively compared to other disciplines. It's a lot easier to give a small number of women racers an equal experience to their male colleagues on, say, the velodrome, where the races are shorter and smaller for everyone. And as we've already discussed, same goes to some extent for MTB, 'cross, and so on. It isn't necessarily just because it's less overtly competitive. So maybe resources are better spent on programs to increase participation there and then the road can start to benefit from some crossover. But I just don't know.
Anyway, that's pretty much all I have to say about that.
I get where Gary is coming from. People think I'm crazy to do what I do for the sport beyond racing. It's just something that I need to do. It is as enjoyable, sometimes more so, than the racing itself. But there is only so much to go around. I turned down a request to be on a race committee because there is just too much going on this year.
My wife and I were talking last night, and we think we came up with a theory.
It's not that women are not competitive enough to race, rather it is that they are too competitive.
Think about it. Women tend to naturally be catty and judgmental toward other women. It's like there is a quiet competition all the time over everything - what shoes they are wearing, hair styles, jewelry, jobs, tv shows... It's a constant competition. But, it's an internal competition. There is no defined winner.
Racing, on the other hand, is a very visible competition in which someone distinctly wins and loses. And on the road, this is most apparent as spectators and other riders easily know who is dropped, who is last... Cross, mtb, triathlon, those are more individual performances. Tri is a competition against time. And in cross and mtb, the race usually gets so spread out so quickly, it's hard to tell who is in the lead.
Maybe that is the issue.
usacycling mission and vision statements:
The vision of USA Cycling is to make the United States of America the most successful country in the world of competitive cycling.
The mission of USA Cycling is to achieve sustained success in international cycling competition and grow competitive cycling in America while delivering an exceptional customer experience.
Based on that business model, females just don't fit the model and aren't a target interest.
Not saying they can't become one but why reinvent the wheel? Time and money aren't worth it.
sounds harsh but just presenting the logic
If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
First big NJ crit of the season next weekend. Here's the message from the promoter on the FB page:
Ladies - Tom and I have doubled the prize list for the Open Women's field at Cherry Blossom. In addition, if we have good field sizes, we'll be more than happy to add some primes during the race.
That's the carrot. Here's the stick:
If we don't have a decent turnout for the race, there's a good chance we won't be able to offer women's fields in 2015. We have a limited time we're allowed to be in the park and each field needs to justify its slot on the schedule. So please, come out and support women's racing.
Gary, I think that is entirely fair.
At the same time, I don't think Women's Open events do much to promote the sport for women.
My wife raced in an open event yesterday. She finished off the back. There was a lead group of three women: One currently racing on a USAC Elite women's team (she also raced in the Men's P/1/2 event) and two former professional triathletes, one of whom previously raced on a USAC Elite women's team. The first chase group consisted of two women on a local elite women's team, one of whom is a cat 1 in cross. After that, it was five riders, including my wife, who were some times together and sometimes racing alone.
After the race, one woman who is new to bicycle racing started talking to my wife and commented how demoralizing it was to be racing against such high caliber women. My wife agreed and pointed out that there will be some Womens 4 fields in a few upcoming races.
I wonder how many Cat 5s would stick around for 10 races if they had to race against the 1/2/3s on a regular basis?
I will say though, the race promoter did a great job of spreading out the primes, giving all the women in the race a shot at one.
I read the thread title and immediately thought lingerie, oil, and trophy girls kissing the winners. But that's a spectator's opinion.
Seriously, improving women's racing has to come from the women. The biggest success I've seen have come from women making up the core of the recruitment, education, and organizational elements. It wasn't men that started the ground swell for Title 9, and USA Cycling isn't going to be a mover or shaker here.
Probably the biggest problem is our top level women racers have zero profile in the media. Part of that is our sports somewhat lower profile but it's not like we're lawn bowling. Everyone knows Lance Armstrong. No one knows Sarah Hammer. This is not the case in the UK, where track cyclists like Victoria Pendelton are tabloid material.
A bike racing equivalent of Danica Patrick or Rhonda Rousey would be a huge boost. While both of them trade on their looks, that's just part of the game. But I will bet there are more than a few girls who are thinking of racing cars or kicking someone in the face that weren't before they emerged.
They may trade on their looks, but all three of them are very experienced and talented in their respective sports. The difference with Danica is that she has to compete in the same field as men in a cuthroat sport where there's a new cowboy killer every race.
If every elite woman mentored one development rider, the W3/4 races would not have issues with field sizes.
wait a minute, Jews have guilt too? I thought Catholics had a monopoly on that.
One of the major stage races in the area apparently has not included a women's field. There were 20+ racers in the women's open race last year. Thus may be popcorn worthy
it just got popcorn worthy
Last edited by gwchem; 04-03-14 at 11:33 AM. Reason: edited: nm. name change led to my confusion
Finishers in the RR, which will be # of ppl who paid.
many don't finish stage races
I also don't understand why they didn't offer a road race only option like they did with the men's 35+ 3/4, 55+ and 65+, especially considering that if you're a 45+ cat3 racer you have a choice of 3 Stage Race categories.
Honestly, if anything it has fired up the women in the MABRA area (which is a good thing). The important thing is to get out there and register/participate in races. Looks like ToPC could benefit from this.
Last edited by sijray21; 04-03-14 at 12:27 PM.