Thursday, November 13, 2014

SoCal & #womenscycling

Racing LoCal in SoCal & Thoughts on #womenscycling

Local Racing Recap:
          #socalcross O’Melveny Park Weekend ~Recap
          #socalcross Cross at the Beach – Long Beach ~Recap
          #SPYclocross Chino ~Recap
          #socalcross #SPOOKYcross Weeekend ~Recap
          #SPYclocross #UdoCross
                  & USAC SCNCA District Championships ~Recap

          After racing the Trek CXC Cup, I was sidelined on the West Coast and stuck racing at home. Stuck? Unfortunately, yes.

          Don’t get me wrong… I absolutely love racing at home. The O’Melveny Park weekend felt like homecoming and it was so good to see everyone in the SoCal ‘cross scene back together again, racing their bikes around a taped off park on the side of some hill.

          But as awesome as it was to see friends and familiar faces on bikes again, I really really wanted to be racing my bike on the pro CX tour with the best in the country. I had quite a few people ask me why I was home and not on the east coast when the New England Holy Week of Cyclocross kicked off and it was hard to explain to people that I simply can’t afford it.

          So I wasn’t “stuck” in the sense that I wasn’t able or not allowed to go race with the big dogs… I was stuck financially because I didn’t want to go in the red in my own bank account from racing. I don’t have the team support that some have and I want so badly to have the opportunity to race my bike and not worry about the stress that comes along with the rest of the logistics. David has been an amazing help and when it comes down to it, I would be absolutely nowhere without him. It would be impossible to try and be a one-man show cyclocross racer. Cyclocross is a team sport on so many levels and I appreciate everything David does to help and push me to be the best I can. Racing bikes isn’t cheap and cyclocross especially requires so much support to tackle appropriately

          I think aspiring professional female racers are in an interesting place in the cycling world right now.  We are here. We exist. We want to race. We want the opportunity to be the absolute best we can be and race against the best in the country and rest of the world. And we want to do it without taking money from our savings accounts to do it.

          Let’s take Erica Zaveta as a shining example of this scenario. Last year she had some support but not a full team support like she has this year. She raced decently, traveled when she could, and had a pretty good year. But there was nothing unbelievable/astonishing about her year… she didn’t win a race or get on the cover of Cyclocross Magazine. But look at her now! She was given an opportunity to race with one of the best teams in the country, represent the Amy D Foundation, and worry about one thing only: racing fast and throwing down everything she’s got on the cx track. She’s since won a UCI race, had an amazing display of finishes in the Pro CX tour so far, and has completely proven that if you give a strong woman the support and tools she needs to excel, she will! Courtenay McFadden is another example of how to take the bull by the horns, create your own opportunities, and do your own damn thing. Read more on her blog.

          I’ve had a handful of great finishes at UCI races, I’m well-known and I do well in my local ‘cross scene. I’d like to consider myself a good ambassador for anyone who sponsors my team or me personally. I’m so proud of all of those things and I’m extremely happy with where I’m at right now. But I guess the question comes down to wondering at what point it no longer becomes worth chasing points and looking for a good overall finish in the Pro CX standings. When does the scale tip from more money going out than in to actually making money or even netting zero?

          There are more people talking about Equal Pay for men and women, there are more opportunities for women to race (i.e. AmyD Foundation!), the bike industry realizes the potential market growth from the female customer… and the fact that women are being talked about in every cycling discipline is awesome. The discussion is far from over, but it’s happening and we’re in a good place to see potential change. Yeah, there are going to be bumps in the road like the flesh-colored kits, but if they lead to more thoughtful discussions like that article, then we'll head in a more positive direction.

          If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for taking the time to read my rambling thoughts on the real struggle of racing cyclocross and raising awareness for the aspiring professional female racers who just want a chance to race fast and not worry.

Check out the Notes section of our #SDGteam Facebook page for more individual race recaps from the past couple months... Click here >> NOTES

1 comment:

  1. Women cycling should be encouraged, they are free to enjoy and pursue their dreams, they are not here to do house work and all, it is great to see women out there enjoying their lives.