more than just another bike blog

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

everybody's buzzing about women's racing

There's a fun discussion about women's cyclocross and mountain bike racing in the US going on at the Team Estrogen forum.

This morning, Sabine posted some thoughts about women's beginner cyclocross and it's been the hot blog topic of the day.

And yesterday there was another little blip on the radar from one of the men on the NCNCA forum who thinks he knows what women racers want.

Lots of interesting thoughts all around. I guess thinking is the first part of doing and that's what gets more women into the sport, right?


At 10/24/2006 2:49 PM, Blogger bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

Hm, didn't see the NCNCA one yet, but I just posted a reply. I had very positive feedback about the mentoring (then again, I spent about 75% of the race with a group including two first-time racers), but that prize structure didn't make any friends.

Neither did the diretor's required photo ops with the lady mentors, I'm sure.

At 10/24/2006 2:57 PM, Blogger velogirl said...

The greatest challenge, imo, is that CAT4 women have a huge diversity of experience, fitness, and skills. There are some women who are skilled, experienced racers who will be career cat4s. And there are newbies who have no support from a club or team and have never attended a clinic (and no skills). And then there are the shooting stars who breeze through cat 4 on the way to becoming pros. It's a challenging category when you lump these three groups together.

I just take issue with blanket statements like Jess made, especially since the reality is that there weren't any comments on the survey from newbie women about Albany. He's trying to validate his decision.

He and I chatted a lot before his race and also after his race. He thinks he's doing the CAT4 women a favor by offering mentoring, when the reality is that most of the CAT4 women could care less or don't want the mentoring.

And yes, the "miss congeniality" prizes were bogus and insulting.

At 10/24/2006 3:36 PM, Blogger bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

I agree. My reasons for mentoring that particular race were specific and personal; I'm glad that I did it but I'm not sure I'd do it again for such a late race...for the early birds perhaps.

The "help the little ladies" thing is definitely awkward for me. When I was a cat 4 (& a 3 for that matter) I did several mentored races, and there wasn't a single one where the mentors made any difference in my race; some I was at the front, some I was at the back, and in both cases I was in the wrong spot for the help. I definitely remember being miffed about one member who would "mentor" by coaching her little coachees all race & ignoring the rest of the field...

I personally think that if we want to encourage women to come out and race then we do need to offer incentives to get new faces coming out all year long. For sure I think mentoring can help with that, but I also think that there is a way to offer mentoring without offending the more experienced W4s, like staggered starts. Maybe that's not going to work on a short course like Albany, but neither is telling women to get over wanting to have legitimate races "or upgrade..." Unfortunately I don't think one particular thing will make everyone happy, but I suppose I should step out of the ring at this point so I don't look like someone else putting words in W4's mouths.

At 10/24/2006 3:42 PM, Blogger velogirl said...

Your comments were fine, Elis (I just realized it's only one L). I don't think anything that anyone says will change this particular person's opinion about what helps CAT4 women. Notice I didn't say novice women?

Email me off-line -- I've got a couple of new projects for next year that Sarah and I will be coaching and you might be interested.

At 10/24/2006 7:50 PM, Blogger Nancy Farzan said...

Hey Lorri - did you get an invite to Kristin Dieffenbach's USAC women and Coaching Yahoo group? That should be an intersting frum that I'm sure you will have a lot to contribute to.

At 10/24/2006 8:00 PM, Blogger velogirl said...

Yeah, I did. Not sure what she's doing with it, but I'm interested to see. I don't think they'll be focusing as much on development as coaching issues. As I look through the list on the group, many of the women are former or current pros who are now coaching -- different ball of wax.

At 10/26/2006 8:16 PM, Blogger X Bunny said...

i admit the mentoring was one of the reasons i didn't do this race

that and the fact that i woulda had to get up at 4am to get there in time

At 10/26/2006 8:19 PM, Blogger velogirl said...

You should weigh in on the NCNCA forum, X-Bun. I still don't think he realizes that no every woman who's a CAT4 wants mentoring.


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