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-   -   How Do You Improve Women's Racing? (http://www.bikeforums.net/33-road-bike-racing/937277-how-do-you-improve-womens-racing.html)

echappist 03-08-14 09:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by furiousferret (Post 16561302)
I don't mind that the sport is growing, and if it is Gran Fondo's so be it. Its funny that people enter these events under the perception that they are somehow safer than actual racing.

+1

Quote:

Originally Posted by UmneyDurak (Post 16561389)
It takes certain mentality and "aggressiveness" to race road bikes. Because it is direct competition against other people, and is relatively dangerous. Most women just not interested in such a thing, and/or have that mentality. Those that do usually end up in other sports. I think that is why a lot of women who cycle and want to compete end up in triathlons. They can still "compete", but it is more against themselves rather then other people. I think there should be a bigger drive to get women in to cycling in general, and if they want to race groovy.

As stated by someone else above, that's called CX. You get some running, which is already familiar to most. It's a race against yourself. You have people heckling/cheering you every lap. It feels like a running sort of race and has no trouble attracting female participants.

hammy56 03-08-14 09:57 PM

Im not sure thats an accurate analogy of a cross race. Surely not the ones I've done.

Dave Cutter 03-08-14 10:07 PM

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.

bitingduck 03-08-14 10:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EventServices (Post 16560222)
Athletic women with any ambition in their twenties are in grad school pursuing advanced degrees.
Athletic women in their 40s are usually the primary caregiver for a family and don't want to risk getting hurt.

My GF and I both started racing during grad school. It's a good way to get away from the pressure of grad school, and you get instant results, unlike science research. We both stopped racing for a while after grad school, but both started again later in our mid/late 30s, though she mostly is into ultra stuff that's really a long TT while I prefer track...

gsteinb 03-09-14 04:59 AM

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

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 ;)
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.

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.

gsteinb 03-09-14 06:01 AM

I should add that the women's track scene in this area is pretty good, producing national champions.

valygrl 03-09-14 07:16 AM

I'll chime in later, I'm getting ready to go race today.

rbart4506 03-09-14 07:24 AM

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 :)

EventServices 03-09-14 08:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by grolby (Post 16561059)
I know that there are folks in the 33 that like to deride that formula, but which one is more successful in getting mass participation by both men and women? Which one is more successful in getting people interested in setting fitness goals?

They're two wholly different sports that both happen to use a bike. I don't know if we deride the formula as much as point out the obvious differences.

Quote:

Originally Posted by gsteinb (Post 16561075)
And bike racing is moving in the direction for the masses….gran fondo. More and more each year. Fight for your straight up races folks, because they're going to go away.

Quote:

Originally Posted by furiousferret (Post 16561302)
I don't mind that the sport is growing, and if it is Gran Fondo's so be it. Its funny that people enter these events under the perception that they are somehow safer than actual racing.

Gran Fondo is going to be the winning formula because they make a ton of money and are relatively easy to manage. And they appeal to the "do-the-best-you-can" mentality that makes MTB and CX and running and triathlon so popular. Serious road cyclists are going to snicker up their sleeve at the idea of those types of events because we 'get' the synergy and interconnectedness of the peloton. It appeals to us.

And furiousferret is right: how safe is the Five Borough ride?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Cutter (Post 16561544)
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.

I agree with this notion, but have you ever tried talking to a H.S. ADs about starting a cycling club? My experience is: they're complete idiots.

Quote:

Originally Posted by rbart4506 (Post 16562007)
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 :)

The 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.

Ygduf 03-09-14 09:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EventServices (Post 16562159)
Serious road cyclists are going to snicker up their sleeve at the idea of those types of events because we 'get' the synergy and interconnectedness of the peloton. It appeals to us.

You ought to look up Ego Trap and try to check that thinking if you want to promote events and draw in a new crowd. All the disparaging I hear about "roadies" is reflection of the few who really believe that bike racing is somehow "better" than the other types.

It's different. I​ enjoy it more. It doesn't make it better.

kindablue 03-09-14 09:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gsteinb (Post 16561075)
And bike racing is moving in the direction for the masses….gran fondo. More and more each year. Fight for your straight up races folks, because they're going to go away. Promoters make more money on Fondos and bring in a lot more bodies.

I saw a flyer for the US grand fondo nat champs, made me laugh.

Some people just don't understand the beauty of competition. Its sad.

Dave Cutter 03-09-14 12:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Cutter (Post 16561544)
............. If we in America want to see cycling sports..... need cycling sports in our schools.

Quote:

Originally Posted by EventServices (Post 16562159)
........ I agree with this notion, but have you ever tried talking to a H.S. ADs about starting a cycling club? My experience is: they're complete idiots.

I'd bet.... it would be a "hard sell"... if that is even close to the correct terminology. I don't think we could ever build high school cycling... one school at a time ether.

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.

grolby 03-09-14 03:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Cutter (Post 16562564)
I'd bet.... it would be a "hard sell"... if that is even close to the correct terminology. I don't think we could ever build high school cycling... one school at a time ether.

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.

Sports-oriented cyclists and transportation-oriented cyclists in the USA have worked pretty hard to alienate their cultures from each other. And they've been fantastically successful. Too bad it was a terrible idea - roadies stand to benefit a lot from improved cycling infrastructure, because more people out on the roads on bikes will normalize what we do. And bike racing could be a great billboard for advocacy goals, not to mention a sneaky way to get people onto bicycles and have them realize that they could ride a bike for lots of things, not just competition. So I think directing anger at advocacy orgs isn't a productive approach.

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.

nacler22 03-09-14 03:56 PM

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.

furiousferret 03-09-14 04:12 PM

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.

echappist 03-09-14 04:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by furiousferret (Post 16563057)
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.

This is what's done at RvV, Fleche Wallonne, etc.

that said, i'm not so sure if media coverage is the issue here. Running and triathlon (any event, not just women's) get even less coverage than women's cycling

Dave Cutter 03-09-14 04:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by grolby (Post 16562919)
Sports-oriented cyclists and transportation-oriented cyclists in the USA have worked pretty hard to alienate their cultures from each other. And they've been fantastically successful. Too bad it was a terrible idea - roadies stand to benefit a lot from improved cycling infrastructure, because more people out on the roads on bikes will normalize what we do. And bike racing could be a great billboard for advocacy goals, not to mention a sneaky way to get people onto bicycles and have them realize that they could ride a bike for lots of things, not just competition. So I think directing anger at advocacy orgs isn't a productive approach.

Please.... I directed no anger anywhere. But truth is truth... many of those advocacy groups (AKA lobbyist) only benefit themselves. I am pro cycling... NOT pro lobbyist. Lance Armstrong was [at one time] a great attraction to bicycling. We've lost MILLIONS of active cyclist since he's popularity.... evaporated. The millions [in tax dollars] thrown away.... in tax dollars to cycling lobbyist.... just hasn't proved to be at all productive.

topflightpro 03-10-14 07:35 AM

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.

grolby 03-10-14 08:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Cutter (Post 16563119)
Please.... I directed no anger anywhere. But truth is truth... many of those advocacy groups (AKA lobbyist) only benefit themselves. I am pro cycling... NOT pro lobbyist. Lance Armstrong was [at one time] a great attraction to bicycling. We've lost MILLIONS of active cyclist since he's popularity.... evaporated. The millions [in tax dollars] thrown away.... in tax dollars to cycling lobbyist.... just hasn't proved to be at all productive.

1. Use fewer ellipses.
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.

rkwaki 03-10-14 10:02 AM

I don't feel that I can be helpful or honest in this thread...
Though I do have a few opinions... :)

MDcatV 03-10-14 10:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Cutter (Post 16562564)
I'd bet.... it would be a "hard sell"... if that is even close to the correct terminology. I don't think we could ever build high school cycling... one school at a time ether.

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.

these guys have, but they are not a public school:http://millerschoolofalbemarle.org/endurance-team/

Brian Ratliff 03-10-14 11:00 AM

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.

Dave Cutter 03-10-14 11:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by grolby (Post 16564661)
1. Use fewer ellipses......
....... 4. Seriously, you need to stop using ellipses. Just stick to single periods, they work great.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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!

rideaz 03-10-14 01:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff (Post 16565102)
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.

LOL. I crashed last Fall and went to work on the Monday with stitches on my face, a black eye and some road rash. I'm a teacher. The kids thought it was cool, my coworkers thought I was crazy! It was also my annual review by the District and parent conference week. I felt the need to tell everyone that I wasn't in a fight. Explaining how my face hit the ground at 25mph wasn't much better!

rideaz 03-10-14 01:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rkwaki (Post 16564902)
I don't feel that I can be helpful or honest in this thread...
Though I do have a few opinions... :)

Seriously??? I'm so disappointed!


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