We recently ran the ACA press release about the women's mentoring program. We thought we should ask one of the mentors a few questions about the program.
[303Cycling] Tell us about the mentoring program.
[Renee Eastman] The Women’s Mentoring Program is an initiative by the American Cycling Association to aid in the development of women cyclists during that transition from rider to racer. Entering those first few races is both intimidating and nerve wracking for almost anyone who decides to start racing. For this reason, the ACA has decided to designate several races each year as mentoring races, in order to ease this transition for women new to racing in several Category 4 criterium events.
In each mentoring race one or two experienced Category 1 and 2 women riders are available prior to the race, during the race, and after the race to answer questions, guide in tactics and skills, and provide an encouraging environment for riders to learn the new skills of racing. During these races the experienced racers ride along with the Category 4 racers as “mentors” and guide the women, during the races, on skills, such as, pack riding, taking turns at speed, and drafting. These mentors are also available after the race to answer questions and provide positive feedback for the new racers.
[303Cycling] What is the goal of the program?
[Renee Eastman] Our goal with this program is to provide an open, encouraging, learning environment for women who are interested in trying racing for the first time and for those who want to progress in their racing and learn more skills.
[303Cycling] How do you sign up and what is the fee?
[Renee Eastman] There are currently 3 ACA criterium races designated as mentoring races.
Athletes that want to participate in the mentoring program need only to register for the Cat 4 Women’s race as they would normally. There is a race registration fee, but there is no extra fee for the mentoring program. This is a free program offered by the ACA.