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A woman in a man's race

Old 06-30-15, 01:30 PM
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A woman in a man's race

Top women' pro racer Carmen Small raced the North Star Grand Prix as an invited guest member of the Elbowz team. This is not a women' race, and she was the only non-male racer. Just a one-off experiment, the team had a last minute dropout and invited Small who did it just to see what it would be like. Small finished at the tail end of the pack most stages, but was never lanterne rouge, a creditable result considering the length of the stages and her gender. She said she was happy to have tried it, but doesn't intend to do it again. Fun story, I think.

North Star Grand Prix 2015: Results & News | Cyclingnews.com
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Old 06-30-15, 01:48 PM
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I read the interview in VeloNews Carmen Small Journal: Three questions about racing with the men - VeloNews.com Pretty cool! Funny her talking of the men peeing! When I raced, it was the dark ages. We had little for "amenities". No Porta Potties or dressing rooms. The women suited up for races just like the men. In back of their car with the trunk open.

There were very few women's races and there were a small number of women who regularly rode the men's races. (Then, many years later, I got to watch CX racer Katie Compton win her first two women's Nationals titles in Portland. She raced near exclusively with men in her local races to get her world class speed because she could not acquire UCI points and still captain her para-olympics tandem.)

Women in a man's field makes us men better people and the race a better place. They get quality speed work. All good.

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Old 06-30-15, 02:01 PM
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I saw the Sunday Race in Stillwater. She got lapped after about 8 laps but she was not the first to get lapped. She performed well and certainly got the crowd's respect. The finish line hill banks up to 18% - it is a tough race.
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Old 06-30-15, 02:21 PM
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I occasionally race against pro and Cat 1 women in Cat 3 races here in NorCal. But it would be a quantum leap to go to a P12 race.
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Old 07-02-15, 12:04 AM
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Brit Beryl Burton is famous for getting invited to the '67 Grand Prix des Nations TT. Can't seem to search out what place she actually won there though it was some minutes off the leaders. Last year I saw the womens' race at the USAF Cycling Classic criterium & was favorably impressed by the strength & depth of ladies' field. Back in the 70's the womens' fields were usually a couple of stars with most of the rest struggling to keep up & few attacks; many clumsy accidents too.

Saw the Womens' FIFA Germany vs USA match & it was awesome. Excellent skills & amazing competitveness.
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Old 07-02-15, 10:19 AM
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Title IX (1972 law which applies only to US institutions receiving federal funds) has done a lot to provide American women the same access to sports opportunities that were once only available to men. Title IX has increased American women's participation and successes in sports since 1972.

Not all men can run, cycle, jump, swim, or run faster than all women. (When you take the population of cyclists as a whole, I would imagine the overlap in performance is far greater than the differences at the extremes.) Thank you modelmartin for pointing out that Carmen was not the first to get lapped at this year's North Star Grand Prix, nor was she the only one to get lapped. Elite male athletes participating in sports which require a lot of physical strength or endurance will (almost certainly) outperform most of us, men and women included. It was great of the Elbowz team to invited Carmen Small to join them, and it sounds like Carmen's addition to the team was a crowd-pleaser!

I for one would like to see more mixed sports in major competitions, such as velodrome team pursuit, mixed doubles tennis, relay, team races, etc. It would give us all (men and women) many more sporting events to watch, participate, and enjoy!
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Old 07-03-15, 12:12 PM
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I'd like to see more women's cycling.
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Old 07-03-15, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl
I'd like to see more women's cycling.
Especially since it tends to be more action packed than UCI Men's ProTour, which is a veritable snoozefest 95% of the time.

OTOH, I've heard people state that lots of pro women's teams don't get a salary-and most get their sponsor kit and hotels comped for races and that is it. And most pros also don't get health insurance. And those are actual licensed active UCI women's pro teams.


As bad as things may be sponsor and pay wise for the men's teams...the gals have it a hell of a lot worse.
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Old 07-03-15, 12:56 PM
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That's what I've read too. Many of the top women pro racers are barely paid, sometimes hardly more than expenses. They are riding for the love of the sport.
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Old 07-03-15, 01:13 PM
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.. it like M.Wie playing in the PGA Tour.. its dumb
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Old 07-05-15, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl
I'd like to see more women's cycling.
100% agree. I think it would take a major sponsor like Apple/Microsoft/Google to fully fund all the teams for the women to have a legitimate tour and for TV to pick up the coverage. Right now, there is no sponsorship for them to have a grand tour. What I would be afraid of is the women would be marketed based on looks, rather then actual talent.

As far as them being with the men on a Grand Tour, they would have nothing to offer the team. They probably could finish at the end of the peloton in each race and perhaps be within the 15% on time trials. Maybe a wild card team could take the chance, just to get sponsorship money.
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Old 07-06-15, 01:02 PM
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Unless there's a specific "mixed" format (e.g. Mixed Doubles in Pro Tennis tournaments), it makes no sense for a woman or two to try to compete in a man's race. They could try creating a cycling event where each team had to have the same number of men as women, then use the time of the first two men and women from each team...or something like that...or just leave it the hell alone! I would much prefer to see women's cycling have more money and broadcast time put behind it but not sure how that's really gonna happen.

I support women's equality but when it comes to physical attributes of height, mass, strength and speed, women are not equal. A woman I ride with (she kicks my ass most days) was talking about equality in sport but didn't realize that: Pro women golfers play shorter courses; Pro women basketball use a smaller ball (but the same size hoop); Pro women tennis plays best 2 of 3, versus 3 or 5 for men. For those sports where the courses are the same (track & field), women's numbers are 10% or more off the men's. Celebrate the difference instead of trying to force some type of false equality!
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Old 07-06-15, 05:23 PM
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Yeah, Small's guest ride was just an experiment, a publicity thing as it were. I don't think men and women should normally compete against each other in road racing. But if this helped get women more attention, I'm all for it.
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Old 07-07-15, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Catinella
Title IX (1972 law which applies only to US institutions receiving federal funds) has done a lot to provide American women the same access to sports opportunities that were once only available to men. Title IX has increased American women's participation and successes in sports since 1972.

Not all men can run, cycle, jump, swim, or run faster than all women.
First off, on topic, I think it's impressive when women compete in men's races.

However, title IX is a bunch of bullcrap. Title IX almost got my college XC and Track teams cancelled because they didn't have enough women's sports. Even though there were plenty of men who wanted to compete (we were a division I team.) Our (indoor) track and XC team were the best on campus, finishing in the top 3 of our division every year for the past 10 years, and no, we weren't in an easy division either. We competed against much larger schools than we were. Yes, there should be equal opportunity, but don't handicap men's sports because there aren't enough women to compete. It's stupid. I would say, on average, more men want to play sports than women. I say this because every team I've ever been on that has had an accompanying women's team has had more people on the men's team. Men play more sports, men's sports bring in more money. Why? Because the vast majority of people who watch sports are men. In sports where fitness is tested (track/cycling/cross country running) watching men vs. women is very similar. I love to watch both men and women running in the Olympics. However, in skill based sports (football/basketball/baseball/softball) women are boring to watch. I'm sorry, they just are. Sometimes the a**hole personalities that the men have are interesting to watch. Sure, there are subtleties that an experienced watcher could enjoy, but to the majority of people, watching men's basketball is more interesting than women's basketball (for example.)

Title IX is very stupid. (My opinion of course (one that's shared with many male college athletes that have been affected in similar ways.))
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Old 07-07-15, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33
First off, on topic, I think it's impressive when women compete in men's races.

However, title IX is a bunch of bullcrap. Title IX almost got my college XC and Track teams cancelled because they didn't have enough women's sports. Even though there were plenty of men who wanted to compete (we were a division I team.) Our (indoor) track and XC team were the best on campus, finishing in the top 3 of our division every year for the past 10 years, and no, we weren't in an easy division either. We competed against much larger schools than we were. Yes, there should be equal opportunity, but don't handicap men's sports because there aren't enough women to compete. It's stupid. I would say, on average, more men want to play sports than women. I say this because every team I've ever been on that has had an accompanying women's team has had more people on the men's team. Men play more sports, men's sports bring in more money. Why? Because the vast majority of people who watch sports are men. In sports where fitness is tested (track/cycling/cross country running) watching men vs. women is very similar. I love to watch both men and women running in the Olympics. However, in skill based sports (football/basketball/baseball/softball) women are boring to watch. I'm sorry, they just are. Sometimes the a**hole personalities that the men have are interesting to watch. Sure, there are subtleties that an experienced watcher could enjoy, but to the majority of people, watching men's basketball is more interesting than women's basketball (for example.)

Title IX is very stupid. (My opinion of course (one that's shared with many male college athletes that have been affected in similar ways.))
Well it's a valid point about mens' collegiate programs cancelled due to title IX, OTOH I suppose title IX instated at the same time when sports became more popular for females anyway. & sometimes universities cancel some mens' programs for non-title IX reasons. Sure, for many sports men are "better" but often part of the enjoyment of sports is the competition & not always the absolute level of skill. For instance, I always liked auto racing but I used to look down on NASCAR; I figured only rednecks liked it 'cause they were too ignorant to know about 'superior' F1 & Indycars. Later I realized that unlimited technology can produce boring racing where the top-funded teams simply march away to win everything.

Some folks consider the WNBA to be a joke--I went to a game once & it was pretty entertaining; not as skilled as NBA of course but still they're talented & competitive athletes. & as I mentioned, some of the womens' World Cup matches were durn impressive both in skill & aggressiveness.

Cycling AFAIK never benefited from title IX but # of & strength of women participating much more than in the past. I'd imagine there would even be more women into cycle racing if not for legitimate fear of hassles or outright attacks while training.
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Old 07-08-15, 12:52 PM
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I agree about watching women's cycling being more fun, when you see a chase down to the finish and the sprinter out front runs out of gas... that's a human being racing... and the facial expressions are agony and excitement rather than "appendectomy surgery #4 this morning"
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Old 07-08-15, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by gpsblake
100% agree. I think it would take a major sponsor like Apple/Microsoft/Google to fully fund all the teams for the women to have a legitimate tour and for TV to pick up the coverage. Right now, there is no sponsorship for them to have a grand tour. What I would be afraid of is the women would be marketed based on looks, rather then actual talent.

As far as them being with the men on a Grand Tour, they would have nothing to offer the team. They probably could finish at the end of the peloton in each race and perhaps be within the 15% on time trials. Maybe a wild card team could take the chance, just to get sponsorship money.
Grand tours aren't needed. Grand tours are frankly long-term snooze fests because more often than not all the big names are racing to not loose. IMHO.

Tour of California had a 3-day women's event this year, US Pro Challenge is having a couple day event this year for the women. There's the Giro Rosa (Women's Giro Italia basically) every year, as well as all the other races on the calendar. But none get live broadcasting/streaming treatment or any real attention from sports channels, which considering the absolute lack of any kind of sport competitions this time of year is really sad.
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Old 07-08-15, 01:18 PM
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mens racing is a lot more action packed and fun to watch. Classics, crits, grand tours, smaller stage races- there are always a serious bunch of riders that have a real shot of winning.

I dont see any problem with women in mens races. I see it all the time in local races.
Womens racing can be fun to watch. The best race I have ever seen was a womens short track xc where Allison Dunlap won. That was SO fun to watch.
We were screaming our heads off.

Womens pro road is ok, but the longer races are boring since it's always the same few.
In any one day race, there are at least a half dozen men or more that can win.

Part of that is the underfunded, underpromoted and undersupported womens racing scene.
I would love to see more of it, and see it develop.
The mistake is to duplicate the mens races- it will always be seen as second fiddle to the mens.

The HP womens tour was a great step, but that fell by the wayside.

Last edited by cruiserhead; 07-08-15 at 02:59 PM.
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Old 07-08-15, 01:42 PM
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I've been in local P1/2/3 crits with Laura Van Gilder, she is small and provides no draft I have no problem with women in men's races or in men's sorts in general as long as the rules are the same.
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Old 07-09-15, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeyBoyAz
I agree about watching women's cycling being more fun, when you see a chase down to the finish and the sprinter out front runs out of gas... that's a human being racing... and the facial expressions are agony and excitement rather than "appendectomy surgery #4 this morning"
Was at a quieter but uphill bit of the Philly womens' course once--only about 3 spectators at the spot--I figured the women were already working super-hard & needed to relax for upcoming Manayunk Wall so I refrained from hollering & stuff...one racer chided me for being too quiet heh. Female racers exemplify the old amateur spirit of riding for the love of cycling vs chance of making money.
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