Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A little local news mixed with a little opinion...

So there is this epic, legendary regional race called Cat`s Hill.
Here is a little detail from www.catshill.org about the infamous climb:
The Nicholson Avenue hill (Cat's Hill) is a gut-wrenching 23% climb. A "wall" in bikie parlance. Being in the right gear and exactly in gear are critical. Once you are onto the hill, there is no chance to correct a sloppy shift. The hill is so steep that it's nearly impossible to change gears once you've started climbing. When you hit the hill, you are committed to climb in whatever gear you're in. You'll find several riders stopping each lap because of missed shifts or thrown chains on this hill. Even if the riders don't have problems with the shift, they still have to make it to the top, 100 meters away. Knowing that they have to do it many more times doesn't help.

How tough is it? Not bad if you only have to do it once. And if you take just the right line of approach, at speed. And if you shift into exactly the right gear, and don't have to avoid anybody on the way up. Unfortunately, the riders typically have to do it 12, 15, or 35 times. The field isn't exactly cooperative, and sometimes you're not in exactly the right gear, and somebody in front of you falls and you have to maneuver around. Then it's lung-searing misery. In the 1979 race, Jeff Stevenson ripped the head tube from his Schwinn Paramount in a final lunge at the Hill. The grade is sufficiently steep that the riders have to distribute their weight perfectly over the front and rear wheels. If there's not enough weight over the front, it will lift off the ground. Lean too far forward, and the rear wheel slips out. It's only about 25 pedal strokes, but each gets tougher than the last.

Hers is the story that`s making news on all sorts of women`s blogs and such:
The race organizer has decided not to offer a women`s category 4 event. There will be however, a Cat 1/2/3 race for women. The organizer claims that the event is becoming too expensive, and some categories needed to be cut. Evidently, the masters categories bring in more entries and more dollars. Not only is there a regular Pro 1/2 race, there are the usual Cat3 and Cat4 and Cat5 events for guys, then there are three different masters events to choose from for the men as well. All compared to one, count again...ONE race option for women. Hmmmm... sounds a little lopsided to me. In all fairness, I understand that the almighty dollar speaks volumes when it comes to planning a race event....but come on.... are we going backwards in time here. This is supposed to be Northern California, the land of the liberal and the free.... ahem. And besides, all money issues aside.....isn`t there something called the principle of the matter?

Anyway, I will not pass judgement on this guy, or the board that made this kind of decison -- I do feel sorry for the women who are Cat4 this year though, because I bet they feel regarded as unimportant in the race world and that just sucks --no matter how you slice it or dice it.
My suggestion to the women cat 4 racers --- sign-up for the men`s race an show the organizer that you want to race, no matter what. Who cares if you get dropped... your point will be made.

4 comments:

alicat said...

THANK YOU! for recognizing the issue. It's nice to see that a pro woman is willing to address it, and I appreciate your perspective.

I met you at the BAWC awards thing. I'm a Metromint rider. The issue is so frustrating as it was a priority race for us. The issue with racing with men (or for me, as a new 3, with racing in the W1-2-3s) at a race with such a monster hill is that the risk of being pulled within the first 10min. is somewhat high. And the 1hr. drive each way + entry fee to be pulled within 10min. makes motivating for it hard. I'm all for racing with the boys, but hanging in long enough to make it worth the trip is my worry...

bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

I like the positive spin & proactivity of your idea. My fear is that having a lot of women enter a men's/open race will encourage the idea that always comes up, that women CAN race with men and therefore they SHOULD race with men & don't need their own category. Then again, not showing up doesn't exactly support the fact that women want to race with women, either. I just hope it's not damned if you do, damned if you don't.

I'll spare you my thoughts on the whole "women should have to bring their own sponsors" thing...

Ann A. Nimity said...

ORGANIZE THE SISTERHOOD

It is thoughtful to show the promoters that you want to race, but all your doing is lining LGBRC pockets. Talk to the other women(cat1's,2's,3's)well before the event and boycott LGBRC events(they hold a couple races a year) unless they promote womens racing. Yes the Masters race brings in money, but they also have an obligation for the future of womens racing. Hell, don't they have a womens program?

b-luv said...

here`s my take -- by not being present (boycotting), you will gladly be forgotten in this sport. trust me.....it`s better to go and race, showing that you deserve to be there. you will forget about the $30 bucks but the experience will be empowering and the message will speak volumes.
and on the subject of promoters not offering women`s categories because they think women should race with men --- well i can assure that won`t happen. please understand that there are a million issues for women in this sport and the last thing we should do is boycott events. for instance, as pro-women racers, we often have to race for peanuts compared to our male counterparts, and the best thing we can do is race the race, make it exciting, and then get on the podium and speak intelligently to the issue. that`s how you get places here.....not by disappearing.