more than just another bike blog

Thursday, August 23, 2007

why women are bitches

I teach women how to race bicycles. I've been doing it since 2002. I currently coach a six-week road racing development program. During this six-week period, the women in the program receive 30+ hours of on-bike instruction in both individual bike handling and also group riding skills. We also teach them basic tactics. When they've completed the program, they have the tools to be darn good bike racers and we've shortened the learning curve of bike racing for them.

Many of the women I've taught how to race have gone on to win lots of races and are now CAT 1 an CAT2 racers, competing at the national and international level. But it all starts with that first race.

Last week, one of the women in my current program participated in the Dunnigan Hills Road Race. She's a tiny little girl with a tiny little bike (with only one bottle cage capable of holding a short bottle). Since this is a longer race in a hot climate with a questionable feed zone, I suggested she race with a hydration pack. I warned her that some women might be judgemental about this.

Alas, judgemental was an understatement. Waiting at the line, one of the women from another team looked at her, noticed her Camelbak, and then loudly proclaimed "that's scary!" Her response, being a kind and sensitive girl, was tears.

Grow up ladies! If a racer, especially a new racer, utilizes tools that will help her race in a safe manner, why do we have to be such freaking critics! You should be thrilled that someone wants to learn to race and wants to be safe during races.

Get over yourselves, okay? We say we want to see more women racing bikes. If that's true, then we should try to be welcoming and friendly. We should mentor new riders, not ridicule them.

So, if you see someone at a race who dares march to a different drummer.....someone with a mirror or a camelbak or something traditionally frowned upon by the road racing crowd, don't give 'em shit -- give 'em a cheer for being a unique individual.

Snobs!

Don't be a hater!

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25 Comments:

At 8/23/2007 2:17 PM, Blogger Flandria said...

my first road race ever...I raced with my helmet visor...i was frowned upon and I was told to take it off - didn't know why but to me it was kinda nice to have the sun off my face when I race...

it's not nice to look down on beginners...that turns them away...

that's a bummer...really sorry to hear and hope she is okay...

 
At 8/23/2007 2:20 PM, Blogger Velo Bella said...

Maybe the camelback didn't match the TFVG kit and the other rider was just saying it was scary in a fashion clash kind of way?

Was this in a 4 field for real? Sheesh.

 
At 8/23/2007 2:24 PM, Blogger Velo Bella said...

The visor I get. When you are racing in an aero road position, the visor can block your view of what might be important things down the road.

But there's no need to be mean about it..someone should have explained it nicely to you.

 
At 8/23/2007 3:25 PM, Blogger CyclistRick said...

Yea, she talked to me right after it happened, a bit of needing to get it out to a third party I think. I thought it was pretty nasty thing to say. And by using the hydration pack she did not have the 'dropping the bottle' syndrome that seemed to have happened to a few in that field. I think she handled it well at the time and went on to ride a darned good race. And I hope she goes ahead and uses the pack again this weekend.

 
At 8/23/2007 3:27 PM, Blogger madisongrrl said...

And that is why I race mountain bikes....

-madisongrrl

 
At 8/23/2007 3:34 PM, Blogger velogirl said...

oh, Rick! I just got an email off-blog from a male racer who suggested that using a camelbak was a safety issue. can you imagine? he hasn't responded to my question of why it's a safety issue. maybe he thinks you could hook a bar through a strap or something?

I agree with you. afterall, how many crashes have been caused by dropping your camelbak? but I've seen lots of bobbles caused by dropping a bottle.

Madisongirl, I'm with you! but I race mtn bike with a camelbak and I've actually gotten some flack for it. heck, I'm a hyper-sweater and need lots of fluids and I don't like dusty bottles, not to mention the fact that I wouldn't drink as much on bumpy courses.

VB, yes, this was in the pro cat 4 women's field!

I think I'll race in a skort on Saturday and see if anyone gives me shit. anybody dare me?

 
At 8/23/2007 3:40 PM, Blogger Flandria said...

vb...no one explained the visor reason the way you did - so now I know after racing for like over two years - cool!

i thought it just made me look like a dork...but heck I use that visor mountain biking...i loved it!

bladder...i wish i had one at Dunnigan

vb and vg - are there rules againsts using bladders in a road race? i often wondered about that...

 
At 8/23/2007 3:44 PM, Blogger bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

That really sucks. Maybe, though, the other girl didn't have a lot of experience and genuinely was scared because she didn't think she herself would be able to race with a camelbak? Maybe, just maybe it wasn't meant in a nasty way? I have to hope...

And she was on a team? Can someone on that team be emailed?...wait, maybe don't listen to me, my big mouth gets me in trouble sometimes...

 
At 8/23/2007 3:50 PM, Blogger velogirl said...

flandria -- there is no rule against using a bladder in a road race. I know some racers who wear them under their jersey. I guess it makes them more aero and less prone to getting hooked (and maybe snobby cat 4 girls won't notice them). metromint actually has them to match their kit and Lori Simonson told me that if they win a race wearing their metromint hydrapack they get a cash incentive!!!

I wear a visor mtn biking, along with clear lenses. but mtn biking you're in a more upright position so you can see beyond the edge of the visor. on the road a visor can impair your vision (as vb said).

 
At 8/23/2007 3:54 PM, Blogger CyclistRick said...

OK VG, I take the bait. I dare you to wear the skort on Saturday!

Which reminds me, one of the Minties was wearing baggie shorts; I suspect she forgot the kit shorts. I don't think anyone gave her real crap about it, just some teasing about looking a little 'street'.

 
At 8/23/2007 4:21 PM, Blogger velogirl said...

Rick, I wish I could! I gave all my skorts to a client who was doing the AIDS ride. but I've still got a pair of silver lame shorts from my crazy-days. I wonder if the chamois is race-worthy? hmmmm.

 
At 8/23/2007 5:01 PM, Blogger T. Marie said...

I feel a little bad because in one of my recent posts I mentioned a rider in our field who was wearing sneakers and a camelbak.

BUT, that was more a reflection on how silly it is to throw all women together (it was a cat 1-4 field).

I can't imagine someone saying a mean thing about the person and within earshot at that! And in a cat 4 field. Sheesh. What a monster.

I hope your client knows that not all racing women are like that, and when her competitors are all parched and dried up at the end of the race I guess she can have the last laugh.

 
At 8/23/2007 7:07 PM, Blogger Chris said...

That is just shitty. There is nothing wrong with a noobie racer using a pack or wearing a helmet with a visor.

 
At 8/23/2007 7:13 PM, Blogger Kimberly (aka. DrKim) said...

At Sea Otter this year, at the start of the torrential downpour womens cat 4 RR, the ANNOUNCER said "my, we actually have a fender in the women's 4 field!" and "oh, look, a mirror, too!". And this was the ANNOUNCER poking fun....

Let's all be nice this weekend!!! Encourage the newbies, on and off the racecourse!

 
At 8/23/2007 7:41 PM, Blogger velogirl said...

Kim, I bet the fender and mirror were Alice Fawzi. she was one of our Tri-Flow racers earlier this season. her very first race was Bariani/Zamora. she won it. with a mirror.

 
At 8/23/2007 9:55 PM, Blogger dblrider said...

VG - I was in the 2nd feed zone at Dunnigan and I applaud your rider for being smart and carrying sufficient hydration. So many riders (both women and men, even the Pro/1/2's!) were having trouble grabbing bottles and with just two neutral feeders (and only a total of 10 of us in the zone), there was no way to get water to everyone, even when we were all handing up bottles! I race with a set of tri cages under my seat and I'll be racing with 4 bottles on Saturday at San Ardo so I don't have to rely on the neutral feed (and can avoid the chaos that results!). I'll bet your rider finished in much better shape than some of her compatriots and hopefully her antagonist. You put on a great program - keep up the fine work!

 
At 8/24/2007 8:55 AM, Blogger Emily said...

What a bummer, especially since we should be doing everything possible to encourage, not discourage women racers. The officials lectured some poor tri racer in her first W 3/4 road race at Orosi for wearing a sleeveless jersey!

It's a big commitment to buy all the stuff needed to race, especially those starting out who aren't even sure if they are going to like it. I think hat people need to give them some slack and as you stated, be supportive and encouraging no matte what they are wearing or how they are getting their hydration.

 
At 8/24/2007 9:27 AM, Blogger Kimberly (aka. DrKim) said...

I WISH i had a hydration pack I could use for san ardo tomorrow! I know i'll be hurting for 63 miles without one...

We all started at some point (me this year in fact) and although some of you have been around a long time, some things aren't as obvious to the new people! We should be as nice as we can! We might be racing with these people for a LOOONG time!

On another note--I'll be in the 3s race in San Ardo tomorrow--so if you're there, say hi! I love to meet fellow bloggers. I'm in an echelon santa barbara kit (lime green and navy).

and VG: That probably was the girl in Sea Otter....

 
At 8/24/2007 12:30 PM, Blogger Holly Roberts said...

That's really sad. I'm so sorry your girl got her feelings hurt, and I hope she did place ahead of the mean girl (payback's a beeeeeyatch).
I'd always thought roadies were snobby, but I actually overheard some girls talking smack about another girl in the field at a mtb race! In the beginner field, for crissakes. I wanted sooooo bad to say, "With that attitude, I sure hope you won. By the way, upgrade to Sport so us Beginners can have our fun."
The camelback is my savior offroad. Although, it keeps me from getting into my jersey pocket, and I actually jammed my GU flask up my arm warmer at Sea Otter, then lost the danged thing. What a drag. From now on: camelback UNDER the jersey so I have access to my jersey pockets.

 
At 8/24/2007 3:11 PM, Blogger Dan said...

(this thread was pointed out to me by a friend...)

I also used a Camelbak at Dunnigan, in the M35 1-2-3 race, at least until I flatted out. Nobody gave me a hard time about it. With two laps in the heat, there was no way I was going to put my race at the mercy of a neutral feed. But for road races, I recommending getting a small one that fits under the jersey -- it's lighter, more aerodynamic (important!), and doesn't cover up your team jersey. I have an Aerobak, an old "road" model. If it's really hot, you can add ice to the water, which helps keep the back cool.

For shorter races, a good option is to put an extra water bottle (or two!) in your pockets.

Safety issue??? Actually, Camelbaks are safer: if you go over the bars and land on your back, you're cushioned :).

 
At 8/24/2007 6:32 PM, Blogger le petit lutin said...

I remember seeing the girl with a camelback and thought that I could be using one too.

If you are different, people will judge you. I've been through that quite a lot because of my accent.

One girl was a total bitch at Dunnigan. I tried to talk to her before the race because I like to introduce myself. She looked at me up and down and never said a word.

Maybe her mama taught her not to speak to stranger!!!

 
At 8/25/2007 8:35 PM, Blogger Nome Agusta said...

Maybe she meant it was scary because she thought that it was going to be so hot that a Camelbak was needed.

You never know.

As a person who has always marched to his own beat, just be yourself and always assume that others are jealous, envious, or laughing with you instead of at you.
When you do this life tends to give you an opportunity to rub it back in their face later.
Like when it's the end of the race and they are cramping and out of water. "Ha, bet you wished you had a Camelbak...yum nice fresh cold water...want some? SIKE! Die Beoch!"

 
At 8/29/2007 8:40 PM, Blogger Katie Kelly said...

I saw someone wear a Camelback at Copperopolis a couple of years ago, and the only thing that came to my mind was, "That woman is SMART."

 
At 8/31/2007 7:48 AM, Blogger Rye said...

man that's not right...

Here's the Mechanic in me... has she tried the Elite water bottle cages? We had to use them on Michelle's road bike because she so tiny too. It allows her to pull the bottle out to the side no just up, we have an extra one if you wanna try it...

 
At 9/01/2007 9:50 PM, Blogger TreBone said...

If the comments were intended to be a "hater-ism", then she just managed to show how low class she is.

But I can also see that maybe the context was lost somewhere. Truth is, we don't know why she said it.

Using bladders in hot races is smart! I think you gave great advice.

And as for the visor, I can undersstand the possible danger due to reduced field of vision in an aero position. However, I don't think it is any different than wearing a hat under your helmet, with the bill down. I see that a lot, especially in the early season races. If it helps in some way, use it.

 

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