Women's racin' - the cat 4/5/t-shirt dilemna

Casey wrote in response to this
Quote:The reality is though that there are few open women's races in this area any more. Based on looking at the results last year I get the following numbers. Yes in some cases categories may have been run together but placed separately

Cat 4 only women's races 43 races
Cat 3/4 races 14 races
Cat 3 only races 25 races
Cat 1/2/3 races 27 races
Cat 1/2 races 23
Open women races 7

I hear ya, Casey. But, how many men's cat 1-5 races did we have last year? Or ever? Now, we all know there are race-day realities that promoters HAVE to deal with. And, one of those is having a women's field of 9 show up. It sucks. But, it sucks equally to be an intro cat 4 woman showing up to a race and have to compete against {insert any of our local cat 1/2 super-vet strong women here}.

... especially if it's in a field of 9!

So again, what my original comment was about = the return of the category 5 field for women. In my opinion, most of our local racing merits having, at the least, two women's fields per race ... and honestly, what we're talking about here are crits.

For the safety and enjoyment of all involved, one idea would be to have a cat 1,2,3 field and a separate cat 4,5 field. You might even include 1,2,3,4's in one field and 3,4,5's in another ... I absolutely guarantee that you will have 3's and 4's doubling up in those fields and entering both events. Just like the men do (which = more revenue for promoters, more fun for cyclists). Of course there are certain events that historically draw much larger fields of women and would merit having multiple fields for their events (again, see Snelling, Wente, etc...).

But, you say, 'what about those 4's getting blown out of the higher category race? Well, that's why we need the return of the newbie 5 category for women. There needs to be an introductory category for newbie women so that they feel safe to try out races, especially crits. As with the men, it can be up to the discretion of the rider to decide if they should enter in a 1/2/3/4 race, etc ... but, at least they would have the opportunity to race in a 4/5 event ... just like the men often times do.

Road Races are getting the numbers - McLane, 'Senlling', Wente, Winters, etc... But, crits are an intimidating beast to new riders and if we had a more entry level category, I really do think (over time) we would increase our membership, participation, enjoyment. As the promoting structure currently exists, I really don't think we can consider the category 4 an entry-level category.

but, i could just be influenced by seeing a number of these early season events with higher than normal women's entries. maybe it's just a blurp in the historo-graph and women should be treated exactly as they have been these past years.

On the other hand, as someone who dabbles in marketing a bit ... it sure seems a waste to shoot in the foot a potentially huge revenue source for promoters, cycling equipment producers, and local bike shops.

Check out the numbers of entry level women knocking on the doors of cyclocross these past couple years. They are all looking to buy cross bikes, cross equipment, and need cross wrenching from local bike shops.


don't have the answers, but i definitely do see a bit of a problem that should be addressed. Want new racers in the sport? Older cat 4/5 men and all ages women. That's the place to generate revenue and participation. And, they'll be funding & procreatin' your next Lances/Floyds/Georgey's.

We seem to be addressing the master entry level racing quite well in this region, let's keep working on helping out the women ... that's my vote and i think that the return of the cat 5 field for la femmes is worth examining.


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