Friday, March 07, 2008

Women's racing in MN: looking forward

There's lots of encouraging news for women's racing in Minnesota, but there hasn't been a lot of publicity around it. I think these changes are deserving of some celebration and optimism! To wit:

New ROY category for Master's women: there will be a new category for ROY this year according to the last MCF meeting, consisting of Master's women 40+. This will not only encourage women who've been racing to keep racing after 40, but also to encourage new women to start racing without the intimidation of racing against younger women. It's also encouraging that there appear to be enough Master's women to warrant their own category!

New women's racing team: Verve Racing have kept themselves on the down low but I have no idea why. I think it's awesome that there's enough momentum in the women's racing scene to make room for a new women's only team! It also makes women's racing more interesting for everyone, as it will add more color to the women's peloton in addition to blue. Good luck next year!

Reinforcements for Teresa: The Flanders women's contingent will be reinforced with some strong racers to support Teresa Moriarty. Linda Sone and Cam Schmitz are both strong racers with lots of untapped potential, and with Teresa's experience I expect great things from Flanders next year! We've also watched Paula Bohte grow as racer, keep an eye on her too!

Women's Prestige Series and the NVGP: Many people's first exposure to the excitement of bike racing is the NVGP. The NVGP will be part of the Women's Prestige Series again this year, along with Redlands, Tour de Toona and Charlotte. Hopefully cheering for the winningings, smilingest local racer this year will get some women thinking about bike racing! It certainly puts women's racing in Minnesota on the map.

MWCMR: I almost forgot probably the biggest initiative in the recent past for women's cycling: Midwest Women's Cycling Made Real! Among other accomplishments, they took on the formidable task of breaking the cycle of intimidating women from starting racing because of the lack of options for racing with other new women, which in turn prevented race organizers from offering such options due to lack of numbers. MWCMR continues this year with separate Cat 4 races for women, prizes, beginner clinics and more!

Momentum: Women in MN have the efforts by Birchwood/GIS, Gopher Wheelmen, MNJRC and Velo Bella to thank for the progress so far over the years, and they will continue to represent next year. Other teams continue to welcome women as well, including Silver Cycling, Peace Coffee, SPBRC, LGR, Speedfix and more. It can only get better, and I think everyone that has worked to advance women's cycling in Minnesota deserves some credit!