(Elite) "women's racing in Colorado just stepped back 5-10 years"

The story

Letter to BRAC from women's representatives

BRAC Board members,
Thank you for taking the time to listen to our concerns.
On behalf of the Colorado racing community we are requesting a change in the timing of the current cyclocross schedule to adjust the women’s open category from it’s current location at 9:00 AM daylight savings and post daylight savings to immediately before the open men’s race at 3:20 PM DST and 2:25 PM post DST per the following reasons:

#1 The elite men and women’s races are traditionally held back to back because of the similar quality of racing and consequently, exposure. Aside from accommodating the racers, the objective of the race promoter is to highlight the sport and attract interest. Presenting the elite women in conjunction with the elite men provides twice the excitement for individuals spectating without having to spend over seven hours at the race venue.

#2 Women have achieved large gains within the sport of cycling over the past years regarding equality. A main objective of racing is to do well and progress. The elite women’s field is the pinnacle of this progression and a showcase of what the best women can do. This deserves a broad viewership and is essential to demonstrating that an elite race is a showcase of skill, fitness, and perseverance that provides excitement for spectators regardless of an athlete’s sex.

#3 Women in this field rely on sponsorship to race. Low coverage and viewership equates to low sponsorship, which in turn equates to less support and less racers and support of women’s racing. Social media, photographer presence, and social interaction with spectators during the race all contribute significantly to sponsor exposure. Allotting the elite women’s field equal exposure sends the right message to the racing community while providing the opportunity for the women to give back to companies that support them.

#4 The elite women’s field provides motivation and inspiration to so many incredible junior girls and beginner women that are just starting to participate. To further promote this presence and encourage these women to continue to pursue cycling as a competitive sport, we must provide the opportunity to watch the elite women's race highlighted in the same fashion as the elite men. The women coming up in the sport look up to riders in the elite field for inspiration and if they are not seen, there is less inspiration.

We would like to request a revisit of the current schedule and consequently a change in the schedule for the remainder of the season. Please see below for proposed solutions.
Thank you for taking the time to address this issue.
Sincerely,

Proposed solution:
OPTION ONE
This would require a time slot swap with the senior men 3’s and 35+ 3’s. This change should prove minimal since the race duration for both categories is essentially the same.
DST
Move SWO down to the 35+3’s at 3:20
SM 55+ and 45+ 4’s move up to 9:00
SM 3’s and 35+ 3’s move to 9:50
Each race has at least a ten min. gap between
Post DST
Swap SM3’s and 35+ 3’s with SWO at 9:05 and 2:25
The duration and time gaps between races remains the same.

OPTION TWO
Place the SWO in the SM3’s and 35+ time slot while moving all categories up a slot starting at 9:00
This allows for a less severe change of the SMO 3’s and 35+ category if that is a concern.


From BRAC

Last week, a petition was delivered to the BRAC Board of Directors to change the race day schedule for the 2013 Colorado Cross Cup.

The 2013 Cross Cup Policy, which includes the race day schedules, was published on our website on July 23, 2013, the day after it was approved by the Board of Directors.

The Board has declined to make changes to the 2013 race day schedules, and racing will follow the schedules that were published in July.

As you know, the task of building race day schedules for our cross racing is a significant process. We have 24 distinct racing groups (ie categories) in our Cross Cup, and juggling the start times so that all athletes can race on a given day is, to say the least, challenging.

The Board makes every attempt to create a fair, balanced race day schedule every year, and also works to provide different groups with different start times from year to year (so the same groups are not always first, or always last, on cross race days). A significant consideration for scheduling is to put those groups who have children near to the junior start times. In this year's scheduling, the Board also considered requests from our SW 4 athletes to race near the SW Open, so that all the womens' racing is in the same part of the race day.

The changes that were suggested by the petition are positive, and will be considered for the 2014 race day schedules. The Board wishes to thank all those who contribute information for the creation of BRAC policy.

Elite Women’s cycling is taking a backseat as some might say or an early wake up call-up given the new 2013 BRAC racing schedule. This year unlike any year known to the most racers in Colorado or most place in the USA, Elite women go over 7 hours before the Elite men. The time slot usually used by the women (before the men’s which goes at 4:20pm) is assigned to the SM 35+ cat 3. Nicole Duke, a pro cyclocross racer says, “women's racing in CO just stepped back 5-10 years”. Moving the Elite women’s field will limit women’s racing exposure to the masses (few will be there at 9am to cheer them on) but more importantly the accessibility to photographers and other media outlets will be greatly limited due to the large separation from the Elite men’s field. This could limit sponsorships exposure and reduce the value of the Elite women’s field as a whole

How did this happen?

Back in June (exact time not known) BRAC sent out the proposed Cyclocross racing schedule for 2013, notice on their homepage was made, clubs were contacted and feedback was requested. Pretty much a typical process for changes like this but it wasn’t noticed until flyers started getting created and racers started planning out the early season and that's when some had that “oh Sh$t” moment.

What was done about it.

A request/petition was made requesting the schedule be changed and their reasons why it should

Problem is, the train had left the station. Promoters, racers, and all racing categories, were already settling into the new 2013 schedule. BRAC did respond saying in short, “The changes that were suggested by the petition are positive, and will be considered for the 2014 race day schedules. The Board wishes to thank all those who contribute information for the creation of BRAC policy.”

What can be learned

Participate. Maybe you don’t care about this issue but next year it might be about moving 35+ to 40+ so don’t be surprised, stay engaged even when your head is in another season, but even we at 303cycling missed this schedule change so you aren’t alone and maybe the channels used to communicate the change weren’t the right ones or the timing, maybe core changes to a discipline should be done during that season for the next year helping make certain participates are engaged.

One thing that is VERY clear here at 303cycling.com is that categories are a VERY, VERY passionate topic. I would say next to bike accidents they rank #2. In the game to place categories at least one group is always upset by their start time. It’s not easy and choosing which philosophy to stand behind will most likely always be controversial.

I support the request for a post daylight savings change to keep the categories in line with typical race day layout with the elite women and elite men next to each other, being awesome with all to watch.

News Item: 

60 Comments

The community here is

The community here is educated enough to see through a cover job. Kris you've provided the community with so much value over the years and we thank you for that. Obviously you're taking some much deserved heat on this story, but you don't need to cover for a racer who was willing to go public with her letter.

To the men who are

To the men who are complaining - don't get your lycra all in bunch about this article. It is clear to everyone more men are involved in cycling and not many women are involved in this crazy love and passion for cyclocross - yet. There will always be more men in sports, until women evolve to the same level as men. Women like the spotlight, fame, and media just as much as men do. If the ladies knew they would get media coverage, WAY more women would be out there. Plain and simple.

Vain

I'm a guy and are you seriously suggesting the women racing in all the categories are that vain in that they are out there to be 'watched' and hoping to get coverage by the media?! My guess is that it's b/c it's fun, they are competitive, athletic and wish to apply those attributes versus going dormant in the Fall. What shallow comment full of hubris. Are you a guy or a woman proposing it's all a glamour show for them?

Storm the Castle

Get all your women to show up Saturday, race in prime time under the lights, and we'll see what the numbers are. You have a golden opportunity in front of you, now seize the day. I race mid day, but I'll be there drinking away at night. ps. I'd also pick a new representative than Nicole Duke when trying to enact change.

And the censorship begins.

And the censorship begins. Never been as disappointed in Kris and 303 as I have been today. In the end we'll race our bikes, we'll drink a bunch of beer, we'll have a good time, and a handful of women will find something new to complain about next week.

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