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  1. #376
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Great stuff from you too, Sara.

    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    Victoria Pendleton is a rock star over there. She's essentially Danika Patrick with more talent.
    Danica's time will come. She's on the pole for the Daytona 500. Yeah I know it's two laps on any given day, but you had to have watched qualifying to get the full picture (I did). Sure, she beat a lot of guys with pure under the hood power, except the guy next to her on the front row, a multiple Cup champion. He had the same engine under the hood. She beat him with talent.

    Which brings me to the media. Without getting to close to P&R, every media outlet has a bias and an agenda. They cater their output to the audience that they covet. It's a business. So how much coverage this Danica's history making achievement get outside of ESPN and Speed? Maybe a passing mention. You may or may not like NASCAR but it is not curling, it is arguably the #4 sport in this country by viewers. Did Danica deserve a little more praise for her achievement? I think so. But remember who runs the media. Back to RacerEx's point - men, mostly white men. If the story doesn't fit their agenda, then it blips then gets buried.

    Back to USAC. There's no doubt in my mind that USAC could promote grassroots cycling if they wanted to. Instead, they are taking the trickle down approach. Fund and support the top with the hope that popularity will grow at the bottom. It has worked in the past. There was a huge boom in racing in the 7-Eleven and Lemond era. Us guys populate the Masters fields today. Masters (called Veterans back then) fields in the 80's were small, not unlike what the Women's 3/4 fields are like today. So that tactic can work. Is it the best way that I think USAC can spend the money I send them? No way. I would much rather see more targeted programs, even if they targeted the smallest fields first, i.e. Women, and the inequality that ensues.

  2. #377
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    I've always been a fan of Danika. I thought she had become distracted even disinterested for a while, but I never questioned her raw talent. I DID hear she'd made the pole for the 500, and was I pleasantly surprised - but only for a second!

    Ex mentioned Inga Thompson, and honestly, I did not know of her until he sent me a link to an interview she did recently. She's a like mind to me (but she has the talent to back it up). If you guys haven't heard what she has to say, perhaps you should.

    Shovel - thank you!
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  3. #378
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Here you go ladies - the other Sarah. There is a lot to like in this pic. Fastest qualifying time at Worlds by 3 seconds in pursuit. Sarah and her husband live in Mallorca and train at the indoor velodrome there.

    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  4. #379
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarals View Post
    Ex, is it our American culture that holds the gals back? I wonder, but I kinda think it does..
    I think we have a lot of different cultures, from very progressive when it comes to gender to a lot of "shut up and make babies" holdover.

    Great segment on Real Sports currently airing about Rhonda Rousy. She's the real deal as an athlete, Olympic medalist in judo...worth noting that her Mom was a top Judo competitor in her day so she grew up with a support system for her sporting endeavors.
    Last edited by Racer Ex; 02-20-13 at 10:53 AM.

  5. #380
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    I'm a feminist (have been called a 'feminazi' more than once), and Sara I believe what you describe qualifies as well. IMO, feminism is about women being exactly what they choose to be, unfettered by the expectations of society, and not held back by antiquated laws and norms.

    There is a disconnect in many olympic sports between what funds the organizations, and how the money is spent. Having parented a female volleyball player, this was so apparent that I analyzed USA Volleyball tax returns to point out how much of the money came from girls club volleyball, and how very little was spent promoting and supporting that activity. We were a cash cow used to support the olympic team and its feeders, pure and simple. It was/is so bad in volleyball that a competing organization sprang up that was more oriented towards the mainstream player population: the girls not likely to end up on the olympic squad. Grassroots efforts. And to put in the gender context, boys volleyball is a dribble, girls is a flood, but of course the men's team got at least as much of that as the women's. Title IX in reverse? Anyway,it sounds like USAC is similar, and I'm not surprised by that.

    So, from my perspective, the responsibility is shared. National organizations have a responsibility to not just "go where the money points", but to do what is right for the sport itself, and for the population pursuing that sport. That includes gender equality, even to the point of "affirmative action", if you will, in making the sport accessible to everyone who wants to participate. And that broadening of the base is what is needed to be competitive, not just in cycling, but in other sports as well. One of the advantages America has is the size of the pool from which our athletes are drawn. We tend, however, to voluntarily narrow that pool, to our detriment.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  6. #381
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    I was with you right up until you mentioned affirmative action. I don't believe that should be a part of the equation. However, if they targeted the lowest participating fields first, I'd be fine with that.

  7. #382
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Back to Sara. I think Ex has encouraged you to focus on age group racing when it comes to results. I concur with this advice. Do the other races for training without any great concern on outcome. Finishing is fine. I know that can get expensive, so maybe a local weekly training race would work. It would get you experience and fitness. Then focus on the Senior Games, Nationals, state championships, stuff like that for results. There has to be enough of those events to build a set of "A" races for a season.

    Somehow, though, I think you are going to end up on the track. I bet there's a nice group of 60+ women in your area that ride track.

  8. #383
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    I was with you right up until you mentioned affirmative action. I don't believe that should be a part of the equation. However, if they targeted the lowest participating fields first, I'd be fine with that.
    That's why I put it in quotes - I'm not talking about quotas or anything like that. Targeting is probably a good way to describe it. If an objective analysis shows you are underrepresented in an area, then you should look for ways to do something about it.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  9. #384
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Last year, Hellyer initiated a women's team pursuit program run by Michael Hernandez and Beth Newell. Beth was the 2011 Elite Track National Omnium Champion and raced professionally as a domestic for Norvartis. The goal is to develop women for the 2016 Olympics. The short term goal was to podium at Elite Nationals in 2012. The program commenced in July with the championship in September.

    The first couple of sessions drew 48 women into the program. Some had not been on the track before. Most showed up for team pursuit practice with drop bars versus aerobars. Bikes and bike fit were all over the map. Only three of the women, ever raced on or was certified at Carson on the 250 track with 45 degree banking. However, enthusiasm was off the charts. Michael is a natural promoter / announcer and a Cat 1 road and trackie.

    My wife wanted to participate in the program so I volunteered to help and became sponsorship, mechanic, holder and videographer.

    No one was cut or discouraged from participation. Our goal was to take as many teams to Nationals as possible. The women self selected their participation and many dropped out. This was especially true when we started to hold team pursuit races.

    In the end, we had five teams with 3 women on a team, sponsors and 3 of the five teams identified as sponsored teams which meant they received partial reimbursement for expenses.

    The task now was to go to Carson, CA and learn the 250 track. So on a weekend in August 15 women went to Carson and practiced on the track. Now everyone had aerobars, bike fit was improved but not perfect (for many reasons) and enthusiasm was beyond anything I could imagine.

    I did video and photography for the sessions and posted the videos at the end of the session for critique.

    Since this is a program and not a team, USA cycling, allowed the club members to register under their team name and wear a special jersey that we designed and provided. In fact, I talked with Tom Mahoney, race director at Nationals and USAC was ecstatic with our program. As a side note, he wished MEA luck and USAC was routing for her. The key thing we got from them was the right to race teams together as a program.

    So how did it workout? Beth's team (Quads and Dots) came in second and Team Tibco II was 4th. So we had two teams on the podium. Exergy, a pro team, won by a couple of seconds. The women also raced in other events and won other medals. The two women on MEA's pursuit team as shown in the video, came in second in team sprint. Our fast 45 team set a national record for 45+ and MEA had the race and time of her life.

    Beth's team was invited to the USAC training camp and did 10 days of practice with other women at Velo Sports Center last month. Beth was selected to be on the team to represent the USA in the Pan Am games this year in Mexico City. She won gold in the scratch race.

    Do I think Beth et al are going to the Olympics in 2016 - absolutely. Will they beat the Brits. Why not. We threw the tea overboard didn't we?

    Here is a video I made for the women. It is from the practice 3k team pursuits on the second day of training at VSC with a couple of pics at the end of the pursuit finals and the women who made the podium. My wife was on the Soul Sistahs.

    The program restarts this Sunday at Hellyer.

    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  10. #385
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    I think there are plenty of women who want to be competitive with others instead of just themselves. Look at soccer for example.

    One of my friends is in his mid 20s and recently became a doctor. In both his graduate studies and undergrad he was on or ran the college road racing and MTB teams, and as an undergrad at Stanford he helped promote and run the nor cal high school MTB racing program. All of those have significantly more female participation than USAC races. It could be just from the age distribution- young women have the free time and lack of responsibility that allows them to race. Or perhaps the team aspect appeals to women- in both HS MTB and collegiate racing there's some sort of points system that takes finishing position of multiple riders in the tea into account. And I think there is a requirement for a certain number of women on the team.

    I see the Stanford teams out training often and there's a bunch of women in there, like 50%.

    Perhaps USAC could encourage collegiate women to also do USAC races.

  11. #386
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Gentlemen, great thoughts, ideas, all.

    Hermes, I'm considering coming back to try the track again, but remember that I sold my track bike last year? That was stupid. The link you sent me about the upcoming events at Hellyer is very appealing! You do some fine work on the board, I have to hand it to you.

    AzT, I've never considered myself a feminist, mainly because I'm not one to get on a soapbox or "support a cause" in the traditional sense. I'm more of an ally, I guess.

    Shovel, Ex has been encouraging me to participate on the senior level. He has indeed told me not to worry about results in the USAC races. But, at my current "state of readiness", I get all frothy at the mouth when I'm in race and all logic just goes out the window! I'll come around.

    Eric, you're on to something, I think.

    Ex, Frank Zappa once said something about a "vast wasteland" when it came to our culture with reference to being other than sheep and open minded. Something like "the area between the left and right coast". A lot of people live in there, and they seem to define who we are as a culture. It's kind of funny I never fit that mold, being an Army brat and all, but then my parents were two open minded people. They taught us to "think before you act". But, even so, there are societal expectations in play, and Valygrl really did a great job in talking about that. I am encouraged that the younger gals do seem to like to compete, and not just in individual sports (one of my nieces was a FIERCE soccer player in high school). Maybe when I get into the senior games, I'll see a different perspective on MY generation. Right now I feel very alone!
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  12. #387
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarals View Post
    Cleave got me thinking.
    Oh man, what did I do now?

    I tried to read through this with some care because it IS an important topic. I hope that I don't quote anyone out of context as I respond.

    Quote Originally Posted by sarals View Post
    I've got one for the NCNCA and USAC. Simply, how are they (sic) going to attract more women, of all ages, but especially older gals, to competition when the fields are routinely lumped together? To be a new, wide-eyed, and not sure of either what is going on nor of your skills/strength, racer, and then to be tossed into a field with Cat 2's, 3's Masters, etc, and then get thoroughly lambasted is NOT fun nor does it serve to make competition attractive. Sure, there are a few (me among them) who have enough of a desire to "come back for more", but most do not.
    Regardless of which organizing body or promoters do it, I think there really needs to be an answer to sarals' question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    Here are the NCNCA Demographics http://www.ncnca.org/content/ncnca-demographics for 2010. I doubt that they have changed much. If I were a race promoter, I would certainly look at those numbers when designing races.

    BTW, you are allowed to race with the 65+ men, if there was a 65+ field.
    There was some "big" drama earlier this year when one promoter ELIMINATED the Women Pro/1/2/3 race from his monthly race series. There was a lot of Facebook hand wringing but the bottom line for him was that on average, there were less than 20 women showing up for that race. He has been vocal (and this guy is very vocal) for many years about the size of that women's field and how if more women didn't show up he was going to do a different (men's) race that would easily attract many more men. In all of the name calling and missives on his Facebook pages, someone quoted some numbers that I haven't been able to confirm as Hermes has. Someone pointed out that there were almost 500(!) Pro/1/2/3 women in the Southern California / Southern Nevada district. Yet on most any given Sunday, I'd be hard-pressed to see 40 Pro/1/2/3 women in a race. There are just a few exceptions each year, such as NRC races, where there are big (50 or more) women's fields.

    Also, another promoter who puts on a race each month also ELIMINATED the women's Pro/1/2/3 race from his series with almost zero "fanfare."

    Even if the real number is half of what I remember (the threads have been deleted from Facebook), there is something really wrong because by the time someone is a Cat 2 or higher, I believe that they've made some kind of commitment to the sport. Despite that, these more accomplished women are not showing up. Another example, the Roger Millikan Memorial Criterium offered a reasonable purse for the Pro/1/2/3 women and there were 38 women on the start line. Decent turnout but where were the rest of them? One would think that with far fewer races for these women that the races that were left would be very well attended.

    BTW, what was incredibly ironic and completely non-productive (IMHO) was an effort by some Pro/1/2 women to get the Cat 3/4 women to boycott the vocal promoter's races. Someone still needs to explain that logic to me but thankfully the boycott efforts have failed and there were 26 Cat 3/4 women at his race last Sunday.

    Also, FYI regarding Masters women, from the USAC Rule Book:

    (h) Master women may compete in menís masters races as follows:
    (i) category 1 and 2 master women may enter menís events for riders up to 10 years above their racing ages;
    (ii) category 3 and 4 master women may enter menís events for riders up to 20 years above their racing ages.

    This may or may not be of use to the women who read this.

    Quote Originally Posted by sarals View Post
    Title Nine does play in that it attracted women to sports. The true benefits of Title Nine are just starting to show themselves. Like most societal changes, it has shown itself to be generational. I was trying to draw a comparison to pre Title Nine and women's cycling now. They're very similar, at least on the surface. The door may be open for women to really start to become engrossed in the sport, and the junior ranks seem to show that.

    I'd like to find a way to attract older women to the sport. Track and field and triathlon do, and one of my points was, what is it about those sports that makes them attractive? Can't competitive cycling learn something from the popularity there and apply it to our sport? And if the sanctioning body isn't the answer for promotion, then who is? Velo Club Monterey or Monterey Bay Racing Team?
    I agree that Title IX is relevant to this conversation and I agree with your question of who and how. Someone needs to do something different. Title IX was a way to get more "girls" involved in sports but the "if you build it, he [they] will come" approach isn't working for women's bike racing. Just putting an event on the calendar isn't enough incentive. I wish I had an answer or even a reasonable suggestion to try. This is something that I need to think about.

    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    I'm 47, have been racing for one year, which I never thought I would do, and have been riding forever. I consider myself a feminist -- I'm old enough to say that and think back with respect for my mom, rather than with scorn that many men and women heap on that term.

    Anyway, I don't know that I would have started racing without the social motivation that my friends were doing it.

    Apart from that, one definite factor in me trying crit racing was that we have a local weeknight series here, that is targeted at women and junior development. The promoter made it FREE for juniors and Cat 4 women and $5 for other category women, it's $18 for men. So, this is speaking against my premise, and showing that yes, if there are more races targeted at women, maybe more will try it... however.... most of those races I did have fewer than 5 women. Five. Free racing. In Boulder CO.

    Anyway, I don't where exactly I'm going with this..... other than I don't think you can lay the lack of women racers right at the feet of the promoters or the governing body.
    It's unfortunate that the term 'feminist' has such a stigma associated with it. I have been and still am a big proponent of women's rights and I believe that initially, affirmative action is necessary to break existing societal norms.

    The previously mentioned vocal promoter used to let women compete in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc races for free. It didn't help. (I get the privilege of paying for all of my extra races. )

    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    Yep. Like a lot of "federations" you're looking at an organization run by men. Mostly old, mostly white. Not that I have anything against white people. I married a white girl.

    Title Nine, Virginia Slims...these are all good examples of inequities being corrected and playing fields being leveled. The trickle down is enormous over time. Will that happen in cycling where we hit a 50/50 ratio? Doubtful for the simple reason, riffing off of Valygrl's point, that there's a danger factor in our sport that isn't present in tennis or triathalons. But I do think that the ratio now that's reflected in the USAC demographic is not reflective of the actual market.

    It doesn't take a very long look to see across the pond...how many women are in the GB track program drawing from a much smaller population base while Sara Hammer is our sole rep at Worlds?

    That's simply inexcusable.

    Victoria Pendleton is a rock star over there. She's essentially Danika Patrick with more talent. How many girls are going to look (or have looked) at her in some magazine or on Youtube and think "yeah right, that's what I want to be when I grow up". We have this amazing list of female talent (cripes, I sound like Romney and his binder of women) that no one knows about.
    It seemed like in the 1980s when Connie Paraskevin and Rebecca Twigg were "cover girls" in mainstream sports media, there were large fields for women's races. Besides those two, Sheila Young, Beth Heiden, Connie Carpenter, Inga Thompson, and others were winning Olympic and World Championship medals. While I agree with with the danger factor, I think the role model factor is a greater draw than danger being a deterrent. Currently, for some reason, women like Kristin Armstrong and Sarah Hammer are not creating the same kind of draw as past US champions. Celebrity is a strange attribute.

    (BTW, I'm a big Danica fan. I've followed her progress ever since seeing her race in Formula Atlantic in Long Beach over a decade ago. She may not be as talented as some other top male drivers but she is (arguably) the most talented woman driver out there and she is talented enough to deserve to be on good teams. Her male teammates with the same cars didn't win the pole position for the Daytona 500.)

    My club's demographics definitely fall in the age groups north of 50. There are a number of women who have an interest in racing and despite my encouragement when I was the club's Race Director, I had little success in getting them to race regularly. A criterium, a mid-week training race, a road race, and a TT here and there but nothing consistent except for our 70+ Master who races as much as she can in her age group. As I've mentioned earlier she was thrilled that there was a full podium (5 racers) at the 2012 Masters National TT Championship. Our current Race Director is a 50+ woman.

    I guess I need to think some more and try some more to figure out how encourage women of all ages to race regularly.
    Thanks.
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  13. #388
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    26 W3/4 is a nice field for out here. We have had less than ten on many occasions. You cannot blame the promoter for combining fields when they are that small.

    You forgot Jeannie Longo.

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    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    You forgot Jeannie Longo.
    Tainted meat.

  15. #390
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    And the others were not?

  16. #391
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    I'm going to see where this discussion goes before I weigh in again. It got very personal for me and took quite a bit out of me. Don't mind me if I'm quiet.
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  17. #392
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    I think Danica is great, and her willingness to use her looks commercially in no way diminishes my respect for her achievements.

    The field sizes here in AZ results in strangely combined fields, which then splinter, making it almost impossible to sort out who is where, and it really reduces the enjoyment of the races for spectators and athletes alike. Here are the numbers from a recent crit:

    1-3: 18
    4: 17
    M35+ 6

    M35+ was combined with Juniors 10-12 and 13-14 in a 20 minute race
    All the other categories raced together, with 1-3 scored separately from 4

    Combining masters women with juniors means you are providing a time slot, but not really a race. I mean, who wants to do that? But I'm sure the promotors would love to have enough participants to do it differently. It's one of those circular momentum things. Something needs to generate enough interest to generate the races, to increase the interest, etc. etc.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  18. #393
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarals View Post
    took quite a bit out of me
    Nah, that was the X2's.

  19. #394
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    I'm still trying to understand why, other than the social stigma, older women won't race. The social part is BIG with us (despite me trying to ignore it), but there's more to it than that. Racing, in order to be competitive, is a commitment, one that a lot of people in general don't want to make. Maybe that's more true with us older gals? We have our lives, with all the richness and complexities that they bring us, and I wonder if it's asking too much to give some of that up or alter it? Having said that, I know plenty of gals who are committed gym rats, runners, cyclists, seamstresses, chefs, realtors, business owners - what have you - and those are also "outside commitments". I don't know....
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  20. #395
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    Nah, that was the X2's.
    Oh - those.
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  21. #396
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarals View Post
    I'm still trying to understand why, other than the social stigma, older women won't race. The social part is BIG with us (despite me trying to ignore it), but there's more to it than that. Racing, in order to be competitive, is a commitment, one that a lot of people in general don't want to make. Maybe that's more true with us older gals? We have our lives, with all the richness and complexities that they bring us, and I wonder if it's asking too much to give some of that up or alter it? Having said that, I know plenty of gals who are committed gym rats, runners, cyclists, seamstresses, chefs, realtors, business owners - what have you - and those are also "outside commitments". I don't know....
    I couldn't tell you for sure if this is a women's issue, but I see similar things on the men's side. M45+ seems to be the breaking point, at least out here in the Northeast. There is a lot of teamwork and commitment with large fields. As you move up to M50+, the fields are of a similar size, maybe a little smaller, but there are only a few strong teams. Riders come and go every season. Guys get stronger and race more, some show up midseason for a few then disappear. There is a lot less commitment. When you move up to the M55+, the fields shrink dramatically. There is only one team with significant M55+ presence, the one I used to race for in the 1980's. They also do not typically race as a team. So it is pretty much individual racing. Good racing, though. From what I have seen of the M60+, the fields are 10-12 at the most, often only a handful. No teams, just strong guys. The same ones usually win.

    So I guess my point is that as the age group increases the commitment decreases. At least that is what I see.

  22. #397
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    It's similar here in AZ to what Shovel describes. We only have one real team in 55+.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  23. #398
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    What's the turnout usually like at the senior games?
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  24. #399
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    Here you go ladies - the other Sarah. There is a lot to like in this pic. Fastest qualifying time at Worlds by 3 seconds in pursuit. Sarah and her husband live in Mallorca and train at the indoor velodrome there.

    What's not to like? She's got it all - youth, beauty (looks), vigor, she's an exceptional athlete with incredible natural talent, she has a great ethic, she has support, and she's made it her life (so far). Oh, and I like her bike, too!
    Last edited by sarals; 02-21-13 at 11:14 AM.
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  25. #400
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Cleave - you threw a lot out there. Very, very thoughtful. Like I said earlier, though, I'm a bit worn from all this - and I need to save some emotion for the weekend (plus, I've been sick). I want to thank you, though!
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

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