Margaret Thatcher once said, “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.”
This past Sunday, we launched the Women’s+ Bike Racing Initiative with a Women+ Bike Night, at none other than Launch Espresso in Golden. This initiative is the culmination of self-identifying women getting together to get shit done.
Our first event to bring women+ social riders and racers together was an informal gathering with a professional cycling panel: Meredith Miller, Jennifer Sharp, Katie F’n Compton, Margot Clyne, and Cari Higgins. The spread of experience among these successful women inspired the 50+ folks in attendance.
We talked about the different disciplines from road to track to cross to mountain. And as the women passed around the mic, I watched the audience: fixated on their words, nodding in agreement between sips of wine.
We only had two brave women join for the number-pinning contest while Margot commentated as they raced to pin. Both of them walked away with sweet prizes and everyone learned how and why to properly pin a number because of it.
Jen Sharp, an ALP Cycles Coach, explained the importance of mental toughness and consistency when racing.
I first noticed the lack of women at bike races two years ago among the sea of Lycra-clad men nearly bursting at the seams with old-school bike-racing philosophy and sweaty testosterone. “Where are the women?” I wondered.
There were women on bikes. There were entire production lines of women-specific bikes.
So why weren’t more racing?
I remember when I started racing – not knowing anything about it. I didn’t know what category to sign up for, licenses I needed, or what was required for racing. I wanted to find a way to make it less intimidating for a woman to try bike racing. I wanted to make it exciting and fun; to give women confidence to take beyond bike racing and to eliminate the barriers that prevent women from trying racing.
It starts with women supporting women. We saw it in the room with Katie Macarelli keeping the conversation going with the panel. We saw it when Katie Compton turned to the panel and everyone burst out laughing. It was there when women from the audience had the courage to ask questions. We recognized it when women left that night with each other’s contact information so they can ride bikes together.
It doesn’t stop here. We’ll keep the wheels spinning as we introduce more events and clinics to help self-identifying women learn to race confidently without spending all of your paychecks.