Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 56
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    1,915

    Is lack of sponsorship the reason?

    Why is it that there are so few women racing XC in Socal? The fields are super small accross the board! After seeing such shallow fields accross the board at the US Cup Unification race at Bonelli Park I feel that IF there is anything we can do, we need to do it NOW. The few women that show up don't have any competition and that is just not fun.

    I have hypothesized that it is simply due to the fact that as the price of racing goes up, and the level of support available goes down, women are the first racers to get squeezed out. (I really don't want to go into the socio-political reasons I feel back up this theory, or my hypothesis that this trend will continue into the men's fields.) Support for the Elite riders is pretty scarce so I assume it isn't any better for the lower categories.

    If I am incorrect with my hypothesis and women have the bikes/funds to race, is there anything that other racers can do to help? I know my wife Allison would love to help encourage more women to participate, and I would love to support that effort as well.

    Maybe some open discussion can get things moving in the right direction. Have at it....



    As a side note, Allison will be speaking at an upcoming RockNRoad Dirt Divas gathering. We aren't quite sure what to expect as this is her first time trying to do something like this. We are hoping that maybe some other women will be energized by the idea that some focused training and a bit of discipline can yeild some pretty cool results, even for someone with no athletic history whatsoever.

  2. #2
    It's about showing up.
    Reputation: Berkeley Mike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    10,614

    Good results come from good foundations

    Building women racer fields will only succeed if we build girl riders at a young age. Building from adults makes for a small yield as, by that time in life, dedications to other sports by girls who started young are strong, and dedication to life paths are already largely determined. If you see High School Girl's Soccer, Basketball, Volleyball, and Softball it becomes so very clear.

    People seem to believe if you sound the bugle call or throw money at the problem it will be solved. That doesn't mean that we should give up on adult women getting into racing, or mtb in general for that matter, but that we can recognized that if we draw from a historically small community of women riders with relatively short histories in the sport the yield will be small. Build a community of girl mountain bikers and you will have young women mountain bikers in numbers and a larger consequent yield of women racers. The advent of High School racing is the best thing to happen to women in mountain biking. Expect results in 10 years or so.

    No one wants to hear this.

  3. #3
    CB2
    CB2 is offline
    Jam Econo
    Reputation: CB2's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    4,212
    I think it's more than lack of sponsorship. Our local series, the Root 66 Race Series, has a low women's turn out across the board. Yesterday's Pro race had only two women. The Cat1 35+ the same. The lower classes were not any better.
    I think an interest needs to be sparked with girls and young women so there are more Cat3, 2 and 1's developing an interest, skills, and strength.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    1,915
    Thanks for the responses guys.

    @Mike... I agree, but there are a great deal of women that ride MTB and the fields just a couple years ago were much bigger.

    High school racing is cool, but I find it hard to believe that is the only answer. I guess maybe the real root of the problem does lay in the socio-economic garbage...



    Something I did notice yesterday was that a lot of people were reluctant to stick around to wait for the raffle/awards ceremony on a Sunday afternoon. I wonder if there is a way to improve the post-race experience that would promote the fun atmosphere of racing... after all we aren't all world cup racers.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    256
    I know that the women's fields weren't very big yesterday, but none were really. I fought tooth and nail all spring in the kenda cup, but just couldn't get excited for this race. It fall and I'm burnt as I'm sure many people are. Also its supposed to be a east vs. west "unification race" but it was just another So. Cal race at a venue that we have already done this year. I saw very few competitors with anything but a California address. You and Allison did awesome in your Cats, I just think it was a bit of a hollow race to begin with.

  6. #6
    LMN
    LMN is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    3,392
    I think it is just a percentage game. Maybe 1% of racers hold an elite licence, 5% of mountain bikers race, and 10% of mountain bikers are female. The numbers are going to be low. The only way in which you will see an increase in elite female racers is if number who ride increases.

    You also get that "negative feedback loop". Small fields lead to smaller fields.

    Also because women's categories are often combined when beginners enter the sport they race against women who are much, much quicker.

    I remember being at a BC cup road race and it was a Cat 1-4 womens field. In the race was Catharine, Alyson Sydor, Erin Willock, Wendy Simms, Gina Grain, Leah Goldstien, and girls doing their first bike race ever.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Poncharelli's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    2,147
    In our Utah local series, it seemed like a better year than usual for women. Range listed below are the lowest and highest number for the 14 race series:

    Cat Range of participants
    Pro 2 - 6
    Exp 4 - 9
    Sport 4 - 19
    35+ 3 - 12

    So some races had as little as 13 total women, but as many as 46 at the bigger ones. Pretty good for a local series.

    Three of the major local teams field lots of women, and supplies some deals for it's members (pro deals on bikes, accessories, tires, etc.)

    If a large racing team/club is formed, it seems that getting deals are attainable. Some of these teams have 30-50 members. This definitely has helped our women, I believe. And the sponsors believe it really helps their marketing and sales.
    Head Coach, Ben Lomond HS MTB Team
    www.utahmtb.org
    Cycling Team and local Club:
    http://www.roostersbikersedge.com/

  8. #8
    It's about showing up.
    Reputation: Berkeley Mike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    10,614

    What kind of numbers are we talking about here?

    Quote Originally Posted by whybotherme
    I agree, but there are a great deal of women that ride MTB and the fields just a couple years ago were much bigger.

    High school racing is cool, but I find it hard to believe that is the only answer.
    I'm not sure what kind of numbers you are really talking about.also you questions may be about short-term performance. However I cannot let your comment "High school racing is cool.." just pass as the numbers are pretty substantial. I'll share some thoughts with you on this. I can point to nearly 100 teen girl racers in Northern California racing at the High school level. There are approximately 65 more who have graduated and moved along since 2006.

    High school racing has moved to SoCal and their league has 90 athletes in their first year. The NorCal organization is going national under the title of National Interscholastic Cycling Association with Colorado and Washington on board and backing from Easton and Specialized.

    The real effect of High School racing is in the kids who are looking forward to being involved in the culture it creates; racer siblings, friends and such who ride well before they arrive at the High School level. In many communities that is just not such a common event and mtb communities, cultures,, and traditions have to be developed. The Marin County Schools, for example, produced amazing teams as the culture already exists there. The Drake team in Fairfax has about 60 kids and the guys and gals who coach them are awesome. You can't throw a dead cat in downtown Fairfax without hitting a mountain biker or a family riding together. Many of the other teams in Marin enjoy that same benefit and the sport is becoming a "place to be" for girls sharing many of the social attributes of the traditional girls sports such as volleyball, softball, basketball and soccer.

    In many cases high school coaches are converting athletes from other sports and have to teach mountain biking and mountain bike racing and it puts their teams a bit low on the curve. That said the finest high school racer in NorCal history was from El Cerrito, an urban setting without an mtb community; a great athlete converted from baseball and swimming, developed and kept healthy just started winning races here and there as an underclassmen. Once we got him past his growth spurt we got him advanced coaching and he then took the Varsity 2 years in a row and raced at the Worlds at Val de Sol. His little brother hopped aboard before he was of age. He's a very competitive racer and already has his victories.

    When kids show up with a few years of experience under their belts they are well ahead of the game. It takes at least 2 seasons to get new riders up to speed. Every year these kids become more competent and prepared when they show up on day one. You are starting to see little sisters show up without having to be recruited supported by families that already know what is needed. This is a very different paradigm than just having girls end up racing somehow, had someone who believed in them, or simply had the jones to race.

    So a quick crunch of the numbers.... a conservative guess 10 years down the road, 25 states with 50 girls a piece is over a thousand girl racers. That is a pretty nice pool of talent. Do we have that lying around anywhere that anyone knows of? Did the magnificent women racers we have now come from a pool like that or just sprout up like mushrooms after a rain of sponsorship?

    I don't think so. Enriching and growing the presence of women in this sport is about building the culture and developing girl riders at a younger age and into a larger sample.

  9. #9
    Don't be a sheep
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    3,331
    I think "racing" of any kind is a difficult sell for most women. The reason there are huge participation numbers by women in running and triathlons is that they aren't really competing against each other it's more about going for your best time. I just don't think most women are wired for head to head competition, preferring personal goals instead. Even in the hey day of the early 90's womens pro fields weren't very big and they were getting HUGE money thrown at them.

    EDIT; By the way did you see the number of DNF's at Bonelli? Wow. Gotta admit I thought about it a few times the last lap, instead I just cruised around for training even stopping at the bathroom to fill up with water as I was out.
    "Do not touch the trim"

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    1,915
    Mike...

    well thought out and convincing argument. thanks for that.

    i still think there are many MTB riding females out there that are not participating. i guess i am hoping to address a more short term issue. i am not necessarily looking to recruit elite athletes, just to get more women involved and participating. i would be the guy who shows up early for my race and cheers on the women i know in the cat2 race. it isn't a selfish thing as i gain nothing (not a promoter or in the industry at all). i simply like to see competitors, pushing themselves and each other, enjoying the competition.

    just a curiosity, do you know the statistics on your female racers post graduation? out of 50 do 1 or 2 keep racing (or even riding)? i guess now i am pushing back into the socio-political argument... change of subject....

    in any case i think it is awesome that high school racing is getting sanctioned/legitimized. it can only be a good thing in the long run. as a quick question, are there any schools that have hired a pro as a coach/leader for the teams? once that happens i think that it shows that there is a healthy system. until it transitions from "donated time" to paid professionals it really isn't quite there.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    1,915
    Quote Originally Posted by Rivet
    I think "racing" of any kind is a difficult sell for most women. The reason there are huge participation numbers by women in running and triathlons is that they aren't really competing against each other it's more about going for your best time. I just don't think most women are wired for head to head competition, preferring personal goals instead. Even in the hey day of the early 90's womens pro fields weren't very big and they were getting HUGE money thrown at them.

    EDIT; By the way did you see the number of DNF's at Bonelli? Wow. Gotta admit I thought about it a few times the last lap, instead I just cruised around for training even stopping at the bathroom to fill up with water as I was out.
    just as an example.... i would guess that just getting "extended" support in the form of bikes/parts etc would make a huge difference for Allison (letting her devote time to training as opposed to working). i don't have any delusions of her making money racing. allison is very fortunate though and i don't think there are all that many women with as much support for their "play time". my hypothesis stems from the fact that i know how much racing costs, and i think when weighed against other things in life, racing just doesn't hold priority. i guess there is really no answer to my question... it certainly appears to me that the negative feedback loop is in full death spiral. i hope there are still female classes for Mike's girls down the road!

    RE: DNF's.... i was a rolling DNF. completely shut down on the last lap. might have been motivated to suffer had i known where i was at (was in 3rd and then dropped back). i was so confused when 2 guys in my class went by acting like they were racing for podium spots on the last lap... at that point i couldn't get the engine fired back up to ask them what was going on.


    EDIT: I wanted to make sure that i did note that Allison did get some help this year from a couple places (primarily RockNRoad Cyclery, ShoAir and Ergon), but her out of pocket expense was also well over $25k this year (i have yet to total it and am honestly not looking forward to doing so).
    Last edited by whybotherme; 09-21-2009 at 09:17 PM.

  12. #12
    It's about showing up.
    Reputation: Berkeley Mike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    10,614

    "Pro" coaches. Hmmmm.

    Well, my friend, I'll have to redirect your thought process a bit. It took a while for the USAC to learn that we had the handle on this thing and not they. A large number of us wen t through the training but when push came to shove it lacked heart and a comprehensive understanding of working with this special population. We abandoned it and developed our own system which is constantly evolving through synergy and expert input from many fields. NorCal has the richest fund of experience and information about this process anywhere. The workings of such athletes is far to complicated in the nature of support needed and so far "Pros" aren't good at that. Very few people are. The "Pros" who can do this have yet to be invented. Our meatheaded volunteers have accumulated hundreds of years of experience about this very special slice of coaching. And it is, as I said, going national.

    You have to develop Pro coaches who know how to handle High School racers. By handle I mean discover at a primitive level, transition, develop and train an athlete in the context of adolescent life at a High School in the particular culture in which it exists. They must also know how to develop the families and support systems, emotional and financial. What we have learned it that very few people know how to do that better than we do and stay sane.

    The most advanced coaches we support who are "Pros" only get our kids after we have done all the fundamental work. They are great with the cream of the crop and would rather not deal with families, thank you very much, except to get paid. They get the talent after most of the hurdles are handled. They get what I call "afters" and want nothing to do with the "befores". By that time they get the kids they are dedicated, focused, have quality bikes and families who know how best to support them. It is kinda like that old line about Republicans who wake up on 3rd base and think they hit a triple. These are the kinds of athletes they are accustomed to handling and they learn in spite of themselves that they don't appear out of nowhere and are getting a far larger number of them all of a sudden when they hook up with us. It is a pretty interesting awakening.

    Pros, especially the large majority who really have most of their experience with adults, just don't know how to manage the wide range of behaviors of the adolescent athlete. The ambiguities of dedication, the distractions, the uneven attention, the hormones, the physical growth issues, the special fitting programs, career planning, university stuff; it's along list. Give these kids to the "Pros" too soon and they get broken in any number of ways. Or the "Pros" walk away.

    I don't share your opinion about Pros validating what we do. I don't understand why you come to that conclusion but you sound like an intelligent man and athlete. Perhaps you have an entire block of experience with this issue of which I am not aware. I'd love to hear about it. I'm all for anything that makes this work better. Yet it is very hard to ignore my own experience stuck between my ears.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    252
    Well, we're a long way from SoCal (about as far as you can get, almost) but here in Canberra Australia in the last 12 months, our club ran 67 races, with 9700 rider-entries and 13% were women. I'm not saying 13% is good, but its better than 12...

    We do get reasonable numbers in XC at national level competition in Australia, but a lot of that is spinoff from a Government Sports initiative (Dirt Roads to London) which is aimed at being competitive in MTB at the London Olympics. A lot of those Women came over from other sports.

    But, as has already been said, get them early. One of the events we run is the ACT (our "State") Schools MTB Champs, which is a 4 hour Enduro race for teams of 3 and 4. This has about 60 Schools and 550 riders. It is aimed at fun and participation, and the team nature allows a not-so-good rider to be "hidden" in a team, so they don't get discouraged, and it also means that a School with a top level rider doesn't have an automatic advantage.

    What we have found is that at schools, it really comes down to having some teachers who are keen on the sport. You need that if the programs are to survive in the face of the more traditional school sports like football.

    At the 2009 World MTB Champs in Canberra, there were 62 riders in the Australian MTB Team. 12 of them had raced in the ACT Schools MTB Champs on their way up, including these two. Five years between them as a pair of 12 year olds having fun at a club race to them as National U19 XC Champs and Australian Team members at the Offenburg World Cup this year - and then on to 22nd/71 and 7th/30 in the World Champs. See what happens when you feed them
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by le Matelot; 10-01-2009 at 03:32 PM.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    295
    To me, the question should also force us to look at the general population of our sport. Our state series and the handful of races that I attended outside of the state all have one thing in common.....lots of guys (and a few ladies) over 30years old. We all need to be concerned about growing the youth of our sport. With few 20-30yr olds racing what will happen in the future?

    BTW - Take a Kid MTBing day is 10/3, see the IMBA site for info in your area. I know that you will take your kids out, but I challenge you to grab 1-2 of their friends and take them along as well.

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    1,915
    mike...

    i think you took my comment wrong, or you spun it into something that was unintended. by a professional coach i mean a trained professional that earns a living working with the kids. if you make a living doing it then the question is answered. if you and the other coaches/leaders donate your time then there is still a ways to go.

    it seems as though you took my comment that an elite rider or coach is needed.... that is NOT what i was suggesting. i have seen first hand the transition of someone to Elite training and they no longer seem to slow down enough to ride with regular people.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    1,915
    Quote Originally Posted by Iowagriz
    To me, the question should also force us to look at the general population of our sport. Our state series and the handful of races that I attended outside of the state all have one thing in common.....lots of guys (and a few ladies) over 30years old. We all need to be concerned about growing the youth of our sport. With few 20-30yr olds racing what will happen in the future?
    20-30yr olds... i won't pretend to know about all 20-30 yr olds, but in my experience that period in my life was when i was poorest financially. my guess is the number of 20-30 yr olds with enough disposable income to spend $25k/year to race a mountain bike with nearly zero hope of anything coming back to them for their efforts is right around 0. this is leaving out entirely the time constraints/discipline required which would preclude parties and even the studying that will get them degree(s) required to get to the next paragraph.


    30+ yr olds have disposable income and need the physical outlet to clear their heads after dealing with the retardation of the real world every day. in my experience mountain bike racing and all it's costs is still cheaper than therapy and/or divorce.

    women in their late 20's and 30's can still excel at endurance sports. men... not quite so much.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    295
    why - agree with your thoughts, but excluding the financial obligations of pro, I still don't see much growth even at the beginner ranks (thus less pros). By the time we have the income to race at a high level (training or travel), then the family clock is ticking (both both sexes).

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    324
    I think LMN's breakdown on the % of racers vs. riders vs female riders holds pretty true. I've been back riding in BC for a few months now and done a couple races. The number of female riders and racers that I have seen is actually quite refreshing, it seems like the numbers are up a lot from what I remember from 5 yrs ago. Our local cross series saw about 10% women last week. Though not remarkable, it's still something, and I think it is proportional to the % of men you see out racing vs. riding

    Quoting $25k to race for a season seems high. If you are doing a national series, it may be on the mark. But some quick math shows that including a reasonable XC bike, kit, and traveling (gas, ferry, hotel, food /2 provided someone goes with you) every other weekend for 4mo comes in under $5k. This is without any support. I don't know anyone who races at a level above sport that doesn't get support in some form, be it kit, prodeal on parts/bikes, etc. Really though, how many people race at an elite level? I doubt I will ever get there now, but $5k/yr for a hobby that I really enjoy seems reasonable relative to golf, motorbikes, diving, off roading, etc.
    Canuck in the homeland

  19. #19
    It's about showing up.
    Reputation: Berkeley Mike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    10,614

    I heard what you said. No worries.

    What you got was my mind dumping and sorting ideas that feed into the mix of this issue which I feel is complex and undervalued.

    To clarify, my response is that the "Pros" haven't been developed yet because the actual matriculation of managing and developing teens is still under development. The current model for handling these talents is only useful once we get the kids to a certain level of development. It is like the racing we see in the Tour; the payload model. The athlete is nursed within the Peleton to preserve energy and be safe until things get to a point where the hardest racing is and then they are launched off the front. At that point the kids are too fast for the rest of the group, are pretty highly skilled and disciplined, and need special coaching and much less support from people like me who need to manage an overall team.

    Much of this development is done within the Team framework which embraces the social dynamics of teens. One doesn't just assign rides and send them off. Samples being what they are such methods are very supervision-intensive as ability levels range widely and safety margins are critical within public institutions. The Rider/Ride Leader ratio is maxed at 6/1. A Team of 24 needs 4-5 such leaders and sweeps, depending upon the nature of the group. A large team ride can have 8 adults in support, especially if travel to more fun and varied places to ride is in the mix.

    Coaches are trained within the League in Wilderness First Aid, sports physiology and sports psychology, teaching teens, reaching and teaching girls, riding and racing techniques, running teams, race production, bike fitting, handling special athletes, safety, mechanics, all by people who specialize in these things. These instructors come way enriched by our fund of knowledge too, as our experience cannot be denied, and this synergy benefits us all.

    This is a pretty new model and develops all sorts of talents. Sometimes in there you find great racers. Sometimes you just find gems who will not go on to race. Yet what is effective separate from producing a few great racers is that through outreach, support, and development we build a lot of great mountain bikers and imbed them into the community. These are the seeds of future mountain bikers and racers. And the cycling community grows.

    As for being paid? In a nascent, not-for-profit endeavor, money is a chimera. We are fortunate to live in an area where adult riding talent is at a fairly high level, more at some schools than others. The nature of this work and the large amount of support staff needed makes paying people a challenge. Still, Head coaches can get paid, though less than traditional high school coaches. Everyone down the line, in a sport not funded by California high school athletic departments, does have some opportunity for compensation. Financial support comes in the form of sponsorships, standardized donations from families, and gifts. As such few coaches opt to take money for their work. In some cases the coaches are forced to take a stipend which generally gets laid on the counter of the local bike shop and everyone is happy. It is akin to fighting with a friend over the dinner check at a restaurant.

    Much like other sports the families lend a hand and cooperate with transportation and Race Day production, fundraising and such. At a time when kids would rather not be around their parents they don't mind being around other talented and helpful adults. This provides a fertile soup of mtb culture and the community grows again.

    In the end we have a much broader base from which to draw future riders and a sport which achieves an ever widening recognition in the general community. An expression of this is the emergence of the YMCA MTB program I have lead for the last 4 years. It took the exposure of our sport in the community for 5 years to develop the critical inertia to support a program in such a traditional institution as the Y. It failed to field enough participants in its first year to support a class. That says something about the community and mountain biking. In the next year we had 6 kids, then 7, then 10. The first successful class brought out nascent mtb talent I was ware of and fed through the mtb community. 4 of the 6 have gone on to race and two of them spend time on the Podium. Subsequent classes have been gathered from a more general community and yielded 2 racers, 1 girl, though her involvement in softball......arg!!!!

    Next year we will introduce MTB 1, to bridge the gap between what is needed to ride around your neighborhood to what is needed to ride a mountain bike; a very different and more demanding thing. MTB2 will be harder riding, plain and simple. This brings the toe of the ramp-up down to age 11.

    My original point was that developing talent to fill race rosters has to start early. Moms and dads who ride give their kids the bug. These kids and adventurous types have filled race rosters to this point. We have seen the limits of this method and I have heard people talk about it for the last 5 years on this forum and they keep saying that that beating the bushes, more money, and special support for adult women is the answer. And I have to say that these solutions do have merit but it is extremely limited. The last man standing, survival of the fittest method has tapped out. What is needed is to increase the sample of available talent through outreach, opportunity and development.

    I have read with interest about the programs in Australia and Canada and they point to the effect of systematic support of racers. Government financing doesn't hurt, either. In the absence of either we have developed the undeniable fact of NorCal High School Racing. In the process of that we have matriculated hundreds of young riders. Currently The NorCal League alone had 487 racers last year and a whopping 22% of those riders were girls. Each year their ranks swell at the Freshman level and the fields continue to grow. Will they race into their adult life: who knows? I do know that being a great racer takes more than being a great mountain biker and something unique between the ears. I do know that they race at the Collegiate level, are key in administrating such programs, return to support their high school teams, start riding groups, and go on to create mtb workshops for women. And that grows and enriches the mtb community yet again.

    Let me offer a model from my own athletic life. Dad played Baseball and established himself as a pitcher of considerable skill. I have a photo of me throwing a ball at the age of 3 and a half and it is a bit unnerving as this little kid has great form already. When it was time for me to play in high school at 14, 8 years of baseball later, I showed up to the early camp for pitchers. I had my Rocky Colavito 32 bat, my Rawlings Lou Burdette glove, my kangaroo leather spikes with a pitchers plate on the right great toe and my Athletics hat from Babe Ruth League. I ran with the other guys and we threw every day. Some guys were throwing hard but I knew to toss for a week. Their arms were hanging off of their bodies by Thursday and they were barely able to throw the next week. About Wednesday I started throwing hard. It was really cool. Dad had trained me well. He was the best coach I ever had.

    In my 9 years of coaching over 100 riders I can count on one hand the freshman kids who show up on day one on-time, in full kit, bike clean and tuned, helmet straight, gloves, camelback, with a snack in their belly and spd shoes. When you see it you just marvel at that kind of presence and count yourself lucky. It doesn't matter that I knew of them before they ever showed up. What matters is that these athletes don't happen by accident but by intention and understanding. Expressing this sort of intention is the key to the future growth and success of mountain biking in our country.

    I amazed at the admirable and powerful women I see racing at all levels. Perhaps this is because I have an inkling of what it takes to get there. I, too, see the small ladies fields. Short term solutions focusing on extant adult female talent are marginally effective. What I am saying is that by growing the mtb community through the development and enrichment of programs for kids and there will be a whole a lot more more of those ladies out there.

    My IMBA Kids ride, through the Bicycle Trails Counsil of the East Bay will be on October 3 at Pt. Pinole at 10 am. Training wheels and push bikes welcome. Oh yeah, and free Race Plates.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  20. #20
    Formerly of Kent
    Reputation: Le Duke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    2,230
    Quote Originally Posted by whybotherme
    20-30yr olds... i won't pretend to know about all 20-30 yr olds, but in my experience that period in my life was when i was poorest financially. my guess is the number of 20-30 yr olds with enough disposable income to spend $25k/year to race a mountain bike with nearly zero hope of anything coming back to them for their efforts is right around 0. this is leaving out entirely the time constraints/discipline required which would preclude parties and even the studying that will get them degree(s) required to get to the next paragraph.


    30+ yr olds have disposable income and need the physical outlet to clear their heads after dealing with the retardation of the real world every day. in my experience mountain bike racing and all it's costs is still cheaper than therapy and/or divorce.

    women in their late 20's and 30's can still excel at endurance sports. men... not quite so much.
    I have to disagree with you here. Take a look at any big Pro/1/2 crit during the summer time, the ones with 150+ guys, and I'd be willing to bet that half or more of the guys in the race are between the ages of 18 and 30.

    And yeah, it costs some money to get into the sport; a bike, entry fees, kit. But if you're a pretty decent Cat2 (road), you can join up with an elite squad, and get a lot of your stuff paid for by them. As a 23 year old, I raced and had entry fees paid ~40 times last year, wearing free team clothing, on a free team bike. The only costs I had were food and sometimes, gas.

    Now, road vs. MTB sponsorship is another argument entirely. And there are plenty of good reasons why domestic MTB racing doesn't get the money people think it deserves. Most of those are due to the demands of the racers themselves, who want "epic", single lap courses which by necessity are usually located in extremely rural areas. Unfortunately, that makes it pretty damn hard for the general public to find out about the event, let alone make it out to watch it. What sponsor would want any part of that? None that I can of, really.

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    1,915
    Quote Originally Posted by transient
    Quoting $25k to race for a season seems high. If you are doing a national series, it may be on the mark. But some quick math shows that including a reasonable XC bike, kit, and traveling (gas, ferry, hotel, food /2 provided someone goes with you) every other weekend for 4mo comes in under $5k. This is without any support. I don't know anyone who races at a level above sport that doesn't get support in some form, be it kit, prodeal on parts/bikes, etc. Really though, how many people race at an elite level? I doubt I will ever get there now, but $5k/yr for a hobby that I really enjoy seems reasonable relative to golf, motorbikes, diving, off roading, etc.
    $5k????? My HT cost me that much (off the shelf bike), I am a CAT1 racer, and I get on the podium in 30-34AG sometimes (even at national level races). Specialized Sworks Epic = $8800. I am not saying you have to get that bike to race, but that is the bike that Allison races on, and even with a "bro deal" that bike will cost you nearly $7k new (if you were able to get one at all). I have pictures of the check.

    Kits are easy to come by, all you need to do is shell out approx 100 dollars to join whatever "team" you want to.

    Trip to VT and NY for the Pro XCT races cost more than $5K (especially when the airline screwed us on the return trip and cost us another day unpaid from work).

    Basically one bike (no spare parts, tires, etc) and one trip to make it to National Level races doubles your budget. Now factor in the rest of the races this year (10 or so) and you get to over $25k pretty darn fast, even when doing what you can to stay in seedy motels. (camping doesn't work well for her, something about not having a bathroom... women )

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    1,915
    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke
    Now, road vs. MTB sponsorship is another argument entirely. And there are plenty of good reasons why domestic MTB racing doesn't get the money people think it deserves. Most of those are due to the demands of the racers themselves, who want "epic", single lap courses which by necessity are usually located in extremely rural areas. Unfortunately, that makes it pretty damn hard for the general public to find out about the event, let alone make it out to watch it. What sponsor would want any part of that? None that I can of, really.
    This isn't RBR.

    Some of the best courses of the year were NY, VT, and Fontana. NOT epic one lap courses.

    Amazing thing is...

    The venue that was originally scheduled for this race is 30min from Vegas, during Ibike, and has the ability to put together a short course with awesome terrain.

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    324
    Quote Originally Posted by whybotherme
    $5k????? My HT cost me that much (off the shelf bike), I am a CAT1 racer, and I get on the podium in 30-34AG sometimes (even at national level races). Specialized Sworks Epic = $8800. I am not saying you have to get that bike to race, but that is the bike that Allison races on, and even with a "bro deal" that bike will cost you nearly $7k new (if you were able to get one at all). I have pictures of the check.

    Kits are easy to come by, all you need to do is shell out approx 100 dollars to join whatever "team" you want to.

    Trip to VT and NY for the Pro XCT races cost more than $5K (especially when the airline screwed us on the return trip and cost us another day unpaid from work).

    Basically one bike (no spare parts, tires, etc) and one trip to make it to National Level races doubles your budget. Now factor in the rest of the races this year (10 or so) and you get to over $25k pretty darn fast, even when doing what you can to stay in seedy motels. (camping doesn't work well for her, something about not having a bathroom... women )
    Come on now, you can be just as competitive on a $2k hard tail as a $5k one. Minute performance gains start to increase the price exponentially above this level. $7k for a bike that retails for $8.8k isn't much of a bro deal, let alone prodeal (which is typically cost less 10%). Even at that, with prodeal on a bike, you can usually sell it at the end of the season and break even. For both men and women, there is a very small percentage of racers that are flying across the country regularly.

    I guess what I am saying is that there are very few riders that race at an elite level, and by the time the get to that point, they are all in. Racing locally, or provincially (state for you US types), is a rather reasonable endeavour. Many of these racers either don't want to, can't or don't have time time to commit to racing at an elite level. I doubt this will ever change. If it was easy to succeed at an elite level, everyone would do it.

    I applaud you guys for making the commitment to race all over the continent, but everyone doing the same is in the same boat, and many are able to do it without such a large bill.
    Canuck in the homeland

  24. #24
    CB2
    CB2 is offline
    Jam Econo
    Reputation: CB2's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    4,212
    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke
    I have to disagree with you here. Take a look at any big Pro/1/2 crit during the summer time, the ones with 150+ guys, and I'd be willing to bet that half or more of the guys in the race are between the ages of 18 and 30.

    And yeah, it costs some money to get into the sport; a bike, entry fees, kit. But if you're a pretty decent Cat2 (road), you can join up with an elite squad, and get a lot of your stuff paid for by them. As a 23 year old, I raced and had entry fees paid ~40 times last year, wearing free team clothing, on a free team bike. The only costs I had were food and sometimes, gas.

    Now, road vs. MTB sponsorship is another argument entirely. And there are plenty of good reasons why domestic MTB racing doesn't get the money people think it deserves. Most of those are due to the demands of the racers themselves, who want "epic", single lap courses which by necessity are usually located in extremely rural areas. Unfortunately, that makes it pretty damn hard for the general public to find out about the event, let alone make it out to watch it. What sponsor would want any part of that? None that I can of, really.
    The question was about women's mountain biking racing not men's road racing.
    In road racing one age group will be the size of all our Cat 1 mtb age groups combined.
    Apples and oranges.

  25. #25
    Formerly of Kent
    Reputation: Le Duke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    2,230
    Quote Originally Posted by CB2
    The question was about women's mountain biking racing not men's road racing.
    In road racing one age group will be the size of all our Cat 1 mtb age groups combined.
    Apples and oranges.
    Agreed. I'm simply saying that sponsorship isn't there, and it's not exactly a mystery why it isn't.

    1) Remote courses
    2) Boring, one-lap courses
    3) As a result of Nos. 1 and 2, no fans.

    Now, compare that with your local crit, and guess who the local shops, restaurants, etc. are going to throw their money at.

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •