Im not sure thats an accurate analogy of a cross race. Surely not the ones I've done.
Women's, men's, bicycle racing.... or any other sport. If you want greater participation and a higher level of talent.... it has to be an education sponsored sport. If we in America want to see cycling sports be greater than just the reoccurring fad we've seen in recent decades we need cycling sports in our schools.
Grant's tomb had 3 women's races today
4- 22 riders
3/4 - 28 riders
1,2,3 - 26 riders
So a pretty good showing.
There was this anonymous comment on the local cycling board though
I think one of the issues that was briefly mentioned above is that most races have limits to the number of races they can run. NYC park races have 90 minutes to race. Three races on the course at the same time. Pack up and go home. Cat 5 race sells out. So what do you get rid of? There they combine the women with the masters, and the women end a lap after the masters.Quote:
The women's race was one level above a game of two hand touch in the park. Save yourself the race fee and pretend to bike race at a group ride... Then at least you can't complain about not hearing the bell lap ;)
Same with a lot of crits where the promoter is burning dollars for each race.
I think Grant's shows that there can be a decent showing, but one of the things I realize is that women want (and maybe should have) the same amount of opportunities to race here, and it's perhaps impractical. There's a few hundred races a year within 3 hours of my house. A couple hundred inside of 2 hours. Like other areas of the country they may need to drive for more sporadic opportunities if they want cat specific stand alone races.
I should add that the women's track scene in this area is pretty good, producing national champions.
I'll chime in later, I'm getting ready to go race today.
That is really what the women's racing needs, is women to take the bull by the horn and take it where it needs to go. Really when have men been successful in knowing what women truly want :)
And furiousferret is right: how safe is the Five Borough ride?
WCA is trying. Their long term goals sound noble at first blush:
1. Increase the number of professional races that include a women’s field.
2. Increase the breadth and depth of media coverage of pro women’s cycling.
3. Improve earnings for women’s fields, both through the establishment of a salary and through gender-equal prize purses.
4. Improve the return-on-investment for supporters of women’s cycling.
5. Support the development of amateur women by partnering with grassroots programs and facilitating mentorship for junior and developing riders.
6. Provide a unified voice for women’s cycling to communicate with the media and governing bodies.
7. Collaborate with governing bodies of the sport to work towards equality in cycling.
All of these things have been done at certain times in the past by the merry men of USAC.
It's different. I enjoy it more. It doesn't make it better.
Unfortunately... the nations cycling org's are only concerned with highway tax funding of cycling infrastructure. Of course.. that is because of how they then apply for [and receive] federal lobbyist funding [paid from our treasury]. They're involvement.... is income generation... period.
Cycling has no public advocates because of the this. It would probably have to be an in mass effort at the cycling industry level. I don't see that happening ether. But I am not big on just throwing up my hands in the air and saying Oh My.
Overall, I agree - high school and college athletics programs are HUGE when it comes to generating interest and involvement in sports. But there needs to be some kind of push, like the influx of Title IX money to women's collegiate rowing programs across the country. The result of that push was very high participation in rowing by women, and also the development of a massive talent pool for international competition. It's not a coincidence that American women are among the best in the world in the eight person sweep boats that are the most popular in collegiate rowing programs. How to make this work for cycling, I don't know, but there's a lesson here. It's also worth acknowledging that there was more to it than the rowing community simply being encouraging.
Fwiw, Utah and California (others?) have very successful HS racing programs, with impressive female participation ...............................in MTB.
Might want to tickle their google's, and see what the're doing.
I just looked at the womens results for our last crit in Orange County and that had close to 100 women racers across 4 fields, but good showings here and at NYC aren't really great indicators since that race covers a populace of 16 million and Grant's Tomb about 18 million. They should be selling out.
Upon further thought, I think its not just an American issue but an International one. There is zero coverage of the sport, so why would there be interest. In major Triathlon and Running Events the women's edition is covered equally and sometimes is a better watch. In cycling, its just the Men's races, and while we had Lemond and Armstrong, women have to dig pretty deep into the media archives to find anyone to aspire to.
Maybe this is done already but if the race coordinators could send off the women riders a few hours earlier and cover the finish during a lull in the Men's race, it would help both Women's cycling and the networks.
I'll see if I can get my wife to write up a response and post it here.
She is a cat 4 who races road and cross. She is a multi-time stat RR champion (largely because no one else signed up) and podiumed in the state crit championship (again, only three people in her field). She has her coaching license and helps a few of the new collegiate women in the area, and is one of the coaches for a local high school team. She serves as one of the members of the Women's Development Committee created this year by our local cycling association to promote women's cycling. And, if you look hard enough, you can find her pic and bio on Specialized's website.
From my perspective, as someone who wants to support my wife and see her do well, and as someone who has put on races and added a women's field (to accommodate her and her team) and then not have any one show up, I can see both sides of it.
2. Cite please on "millions of active cyclists" since Lance Armstrong got popped.
3. The massive growth in cycling infrastructure projects and public/gov't interest in improving bicycling safety in cities across the nation belies the claim that cycling advocacy hasn't been effective.
4. Seriously, you need to stop using ellipses. Just stick to single periods, they work great.
Given all of this, I still think anyone who wants to promote racing and more equal participation in racing should really consider looking into partnering with local advocacy organizations and figuring out how we can help each other. It's the tiniest piece of this puzzle, but baby steps are all we can take.
I don't feel that I can be helpful or honest in this thread...
Though I do have a few opinions... :)
Crashing. I believe this is what keeps women away from road racing. Guys have to go to work the next day, sure... but girls feel like they need to look good the next day. I have scars on both knees, both hips, both elbows, both shoulders, my hands, and for a while, my face. I don't think I'm in the minority. This state of affairs is not acceptable to most women, I think. This is why women are more drawn to cyclocross, fondo and triathlon. There are crashes, yes, but they tend to be more the single-person variety than the half-the-field-at-30mph variety.
Then on top of that, you have the critical mass problem for those women who are wanting to mass-start race. You frequently get the situation where there are Cat4 women mixed with Cat1/2/3; even if they are scored separately, I can imagine it kinda sucks. Changes the whole nature of the race. You either never win anything, or you spend more time looking around at numbers wondering who your competitors are than you do racing.
I've always heard that on the Internet when presented with a flawless point (different from you're own).... an attack on the posters grammar or spelling is the last/only rebuttal.
I am pleased to see such heart warming support of my ideas!