Women's Wednesday - Why Don’t More Colorado Women Race?

Author: Cheri Felix
(Photo Credit: 303Photo)

Today is going to be one of those days where I posit the question that we may not be able to answer. Why don’t more women race?

I’ve always wondered about this but racing the Big Mountain Enduro really brought it home. Why aren’t there just as many girls racing (period) and why aren’t there just as many girls racing enduro. Why is it that we have women physicists, women senators and women urologists but we can’t match the boys out at short track? Now don’t tell me it’s because girls aren’t as strong or as aggressive. Let’s see…it’s not because we can’t drive ourselves to the venue nor is it because we don’t have a bike. So what is it?

I really don’t know. I mean I can’t figure it out. They gave us the vote (after we demanded it) so we vote. We can drive unlike women in Saudi Arabia. I mean can it be that women just aren’t cut out for it. That we are intimidated? That we aren’t aggressive? That we don’t care about all that silly stuff like winning and losing. That we don’t want to break a sweat. Or is that we don’t do a good enough job bringing women up in racing? Or that what? That we just don’t care?

Now I know some women who don’t want to race. I get it. It’s not for everyone. It’s not for every guy either. I totally get it. I really do. But what if more of us try it. What if a few more of us try a short track race? What if I told you that you won’t die. That it might hurt a bit but that you won’t die. That yes it’s hard but not nearly as hard as burying a parent. Not nearly as hard as having a miscarriage. What if I told you that you’ll probably never win. Never come close to it but that that’s okay. That there can only be one winner.

And what if I told you that Enduro racing is no joke but that some of you should still try it. That even if you can’t ride part of it you can run it. That the whole point is not winning or losing (because there is only one winner) but in the trying. In the risk taking. In the representing all of us women and girls. Especially the girls who are craving good role models. Role models that aren’t judged by what they are wearing or their BMI or how sexy they are.

Racing is a habit. Just like flossing. Just like a training ride. Just like your yearly pap. Try a short track. It’s 20 minutes. Boulder’s is on Wednesday. Fort Collins has one on Tuesdays. I want you to feel what it’s like to do something you never thought you’d do. You never thought you wanted to do. Test your mettle. Show everyone that women deserve to be marketed to. Deserve to be sought after. Race promoters are waiting for you. What are you waiting for?


News Item: 


Tons of women

James, thanks for taking the time to comment. I agree that it is odd to see so many women out on trails and not at ST or enduros (although admittedly those can be intimidating to both men and women), I don't get it. And although I know racing isn't for everyone (for various reasons) for those that are curious, I wish they'd take the risk. I don't agree about the women only events. In my experience (which is totally supported by numbers of women racing), women only clinics get some women in the door that might not have tried it otherwise. And I know for a fact that the Beti AllRide Clinic that occurred in June in WP birthed some women who then did the Enduro in Crested Butte. So I'd say that the women's only concept works. But the next step is of course doing the ST or the CX race or the enduro. One thing I loved about the enduro is that everyone races the same course. Same rocks, same logs, same loose dirt. And it's not genitals that separates the men and the women. It all comes down to time. And we all race against the same clock. Thanks for playing!


I think you hit a few nails on the head. In June before the Beti Bike Bash I took some of my friends out for a casual/easy ride just so we could talk about racing and passing and etiquette and all that. They were racing in the nev ev category so it seemed to make sense. I know there are mentoring programs in other disciplines (CX and road). Maybe we need to come up with something. Feel free to shoot me an email. I am happy to help you if I can. cheri@303cycling.com

As a woman mountain biker who

As a woman mountain biker who does not race, I agree that having more womens "mentoring" would most likely motivate me race. Nothing against the men out there, we love you, but under certain circumstances I just prefer a woman. Is this rational?...no...but it's just the way it is. Mentoring I think can come in many different forms...an actual race day mentor getting you through the course, women's group rides geard toward the race curious, or women's specific races that have a training component that comes with the race fee. I find that many of my friend who race have a strict training schedule and I never get to ride with them, so I am not around people who could push, mentor, and motivate me to race. If there were more opportunities to surround myself with other women who raced I would jump on it!

I find it odd that it is up

I find it odd that it is up to someone else to motivate you to race. I think that fact alone is the biggest difference between men and women. In general, men don't have someone else tell them they should go out and race. They go on a few bike rides, get faster, join a few bike rides, and decide to give it a whirl to see how they stack up. Most realize they're not as fast as the thought and either go back to club riding or give training a go.

From all of the comments I've read on this topic, it sounds like the women have no interest in seeing how they stack up and don't really have a competitive need to inflate their egos by racing. And, also from the comments, it seems like the women that do race feel that they are so "special and unique" that they don't want anyone else participating anyway.

point being, it doesn't seem like much needs to change. everyone is doing what they want to be doing. every year 303 cycling throws up this discusion and article. leave it alone already.