Women’s Cycling Interview

I was recently interviewed by the Sacramento Bee newspaper. Here is the full article to read through where the author discusses the issue of how “Women’s professional cyclists pursue parity with men’s sport”:

http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/the-conversation/article19978011.html

I would like to expound on the things I said in the interview here. First, my primary thought is that “I want to be paid fairly, not equally.”  Currently there is a serious gap in the level and depth of competition between the men’s and women’s pro fields.  In most races our fields are half the size of the Men’s race, not to mention the amateur ranks have an even more dramatic difference. This means the quality is spread thin as well and so there are very few riders capable of winning a race in the women’s events. That gap IS getting closer all the time as more women get into the sport and take it more seriously. I believe that when the level of competition and exposure rises, so will our pay.  The competition will grow over time through support and viability. I have seen it grow a lot even in my short career so far. The question of what money will do to competition is a complex sociology debate that I’m not prepared to undertake! The exposure part is difficult. We as women cyclists are providing a lot of the same product as the men, an exciting race with personal elements and stories. We have to get media and sponsors to respect us as being equal to men in that regard. That we are interesting to their ‘customers’ or good for their brand image as the case may be.  That’s where the money comes from anyway. The media provides coverage that the sponsors see as a good investment.  When that happens there will be equal pay. At the Tour of California NBCSN is covering the men’s race fully every day. Sponsors want that exposure. For NBCSN to cover some highlights of the women’s races is NOT as big of a draw and that is a perfect example of why there is less money in women’s cycling.

Things Don’t Always Go As Planned

For the last few years I have raced quite a bit of cross on the local scene. With nationals taking place in Texas I decided this was the year to expand my cross season. I had managed to get a couple of LivGiant cross bikes and some wheels from Reynolds to get me all set to race. The ultimate goal was to race at nationals in Austin but first I needed to hit up some of the national calendar to secure a decent starting position. When the road season ended my cross season plans seemed to quickly fade as I attended track camp after track camp with the National Team.

track

By December I began to feel a bit guilty that my brand new cross equipment was getting very little use. That guilt quickly faded when I went to London with the National Team for the Track World Cup and snagged a silver medal in the scratch race. Even though my cross racing on the national scène didn’t work out this year my bikes got to see quite a few races here in Texas.

cross

In mid-December I learned that my team would definitely attend Tour Femenino de San Luis. I was very excited to get to do such an early season race but when I realized the dates conflicted with CX Nationals I was pretty bummed. Like most Texas cyclists I was stoked to have CX Nationals so close to home. I put my disappointment aside and decided to make the best of San Luis. I came back with a win in the TT and with the help of my team a second in GC.

getting ready

Next up New Zealand.

Not Quite Off Season (Part 2)

One week after returning from Europe I was in Colorado Springs to stay at the Olympic Training Center (OTC) for a two week long women’s team pursuit camp. I was super excited to be going to this camp. Team USA has been putting on a series of women’s team pursuit camps to begin their prep for Rio 2016. I missed out on the first camp because it conflicted with Cascade Stage Race. The second camp was going to conflict with my Europe trip so I was invited to come a few days early to get some one on one practice time in and then attend a few days of the second camp before heading off to Europe. This third camp was perfect for me, I could focus on the camp and not be worried about the training time I need to get in to maintain my road fitness. So what is a typical day at team pursuit camp?

IMG_0630IMG_0617

5:30am wake-up

5:45am eat some yogurt and cereal you snatched from the cafeteria the night before

5:55am walk over in the below freezing temperatures to the gym

6:00am start some warm-up and stretching drills

6:15am let boot camp begin (box jumps, burpees, push-ups and more… but don’t forget the 3 minute minimum plank-off at the end)

7:30am breakfast

9:00am sport psychology

10:00am ride to the track

10:15am ultrasound on quads and calves to check glycogen levels pre-workout

10:45am warm-up

11:00am track session

Sample session

20 minute warm-up

2x half lap team starts

3x 3k team pursuit efforts

1:00pm ultrasound on quads and calves to check glycogen levels post-workout

1:15pm ride back to the OTC

1:30pm lunch

3:30pm afternoon spin

6:30pm dinner

9:00pm get in bed to do it all again

Some times you wonder where did the day go. To be continued…

Not Quite Off Season (Part 1)

StateRR1My schedule has been anything but normal since I returned from Europe in late September. Rather than starting my off-season the minute I stepped off the plane like most of my teammates, I headed down to Fort Hood for the Texas State Road Race. It was great to come home and race and see all the friends that have watched me develop into the rider I am today. Some seemed surprised to see me make the trip to Fort Hood to race. But my response is, racing is racing, weather there are 10 people in your race or 100. When there are 10 you just have to play the game a little different!  And come on, when they put $1000 for the win of a hilly 100k road race and a prime at the top of one of the hills for $250, how could I be in town and not come race.

StateRR2It was an exciting race on many levels.  To win a race is difficult no matter what the level of competition and with the small fields, I like to think of it as starting the race already in the breakaway. With my short recovery time returning from Europe Wednesday evening to racing Saturday afternoon I was not feeling my best. Around 70k in I started to cramp. My original plan of attacking over and over in the last 20k until I was solo had to be set aside. Now I had to focus on getting to the finish line in a position to win. I was nervous coming into the finish knowing I was bringing two other strong women to line with me one I had raced many time, Mandy Heintz, and the other I was seeing for the first time, Meredith Bunkers. Like many of you know the worst thing about cramping is you never know when it will start or end again. For the last 20k I had focused on every pedal stroke trying to reduce the stress on the muscles that were cramping all while trying keep my competitors from realizing the pain I was in. As we came into the last mile of the race I was third wheel. It was right where I wanted to be. With about one kilometer to go Meredith began to pick up the pace and at about 500 meters, Meredith kicked again.  This was perfect; the pace was high and it was way too far for Meredith to hold it all the way. I dropped off of Mandy’s wheel a bit, and as soon as Meredith began to fade, I jumped. It was still 200m to go but I had timed my acceleration just right. There is no magic number of when to jump for the win, you just feel it.

Once I was done with the state road race I would have started my off-season but I had the incredible opportunity to head to Colorado Springs and spend two week at the Olympic Training Center and train at the Velodrome for the team pursuit. To be continued….

The Sweden Transfer

After Norway we headed to Vara, Sweden to spend a few days before the Sweden World Cup. We are just under 60k by bike to our next hotel so we are going to make this transfer by bike it’ll be nice to be on the bike instead of sitting in the car.

before transfer

We ran into some unexpected obstacles along the way. A couple dirt roads in the rain and one road closure because of flooding (it seems to always be raining here so no surprise) that forced to ride on the highway for about 7k.

transfer

Safe and dry in our hotel now. 

Tour of Norway Update

Well the Prologue did not stay dry. At least it rains here all the time so in theory the roads shouldn’t be as slick🙂 At least that’s what I told my self. But I still found my self sprinting out of every turn to get back up to speed. 

Prologue Start

Jo and I just before the start of stage 1 of Ladies Tour of Norway.

 Stage 1 start