A step in the right direction

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HOLLA! This is awesome. People are talking. And some are doing.

CrossVegas has joined the list of particularly cyclo-cross races moving to narrow the prize money gap between the elite men’s and women’s field. Organiser Brook Watts has announced a ‘podium bonus’ for the top three finishers in this year’s women’s race, with each rider to receive an additional $500USD on top of the prize money nominated by the International Cycling Union’s management committee.

“Would I prefer to be announcing 100 per cent equality in women’s and men’s prizes? Absolutely I would,” said Watts. “However despite our current economic climate, I’m pleased to be able to move the bar up a notch in recognition of the equal effort put in by the Elite Women’s field at CrossVegas.

More here.

Thanks to Ryan for sending me the link.

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About Judi

Bicycles are my salvation. They are my way of life. If you don't like it, then you can go straight to hell. Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

29 Replies to “A step in the right direction”

  1. As is always the case in topics like this the “leaders” fall on one side or the other of a simple line.
    The old guard says, I’d love to provide equality for women but we just can’t afford it. Maybe later, maybe if the women show up in numbers even though we give them shit.
    The new order. Fuck it. Close the gap where you can. Make it closer where you can’t and let women know you value them in the sport.
    It’s frustrating but the new order always ends up winning in the long run.
    Kudo’s to the Vegas organizers for stepping in the right direction instead of moaning about how it can’t be done.

  2. Organizers are stepping up all over the nation. Now it’s time for the ladies to step up. Adam Myerson’s cross event. Friend him on Facebook for an interesting discussion on the topic.

    Adam Myerson “So at the Nor’easter, we’re paying equal money for 15 places to the Elite Women, and not a single one has registered.” http://bit.ly/dpohiP

  3. SoNoMas race this weekend is paying 10 deep for Pro Men, 10 Deep for Pro Women. Equal prizes, equal courses.
    Maybe the hardest 35 miles you will race.
    Race temp in the 70’s, free beer and a meal for finishers, free camping for all.
    Lake Sonoma, Sonoma County CA.
    Get some…

    Some people are doing it without being asked, so what’s this talk about a New World Order? This is just how it is.

  4. How about you just let the women race in the men’s cat if they want to. If you want to compete for the same prize money. You want the same coarse, same prize money, well how about the whole thing is the same. Same Same, but different!

  5. Think there will ever be a chick in the TdF?

    Or the Giro?

    Vuelta, mebbe?

    Cobbled classics, possibly?

    Just askin’. I’d be all for it.

  6. There is a women’s tour and there are women’s cobbled classics. Unfortunately, they just aren’t advertised like the men’s. Like all things worthwhile, it takes a little longer to come about. Equitable payouts for the Elite’s is great.

    When the women begin to field the other categories n the numbers the men do, then those payouts should also be equitable. I’ve only raced one road race where the field was 50. I was thrilled and hopeful that our fields will continue to grow.

  7. On some level doesn’t this come down to the amount of value that the respective fields generate for the event sponsors?

  8. Fdub, is that the same promoter that’s been doing races out there for 15years? Really cool events. Used to be sponsored by Bear Republic Brewing Company. Hard course. The heat can be brutal. I did an 8hr race out the about 12 years ago. Glad that’s still going. I think he was trying to get equal purses back then. Paola Pezzo showed up a time or two…

  9. John is right— sponsor marketing dollars drive sports, especially marginal ones like cycling. There are billions of dollars of women-oriented marketing out there, why aren’t they spent on cycling? Probably because it doesn’t pay.

    Back to the same chicken/egg— if more ladies raced, more marketing dollars would be channeled into their events.

  10. dirty biker:
    “1.9.2 Unauthorized Refreshments (UCI Rule 5.1.038)
    In the event of warm weather conditions (above 20 °C/ 68F??) the commissaires’ panel may decide to allow feeding
    in the pit lane. Under those conditions, feeding is not allowed during the first 2 and the last 2 laps.
    Accepting hand-ups from spectators – including bottles, cans or money – is not permitted and will
    result in disqualification.. ”

    not an out and out ban, one would have to hit pits to get tasty snacks from the snack bar, but yes, a spectator cannot go and dose the riders with a tray full of ice cold Lone Star(s) (the National Beer Of Texas, i might add).

    still I’d call Cross Vegas a legit race.
    BTW is 68degrees F hot?

  11. Jefe, not the same promoters, Bikemonkey took over the races when the other guy dissappeared. This course has about 12miles of ST that is usually no bikes and has never had a race on it. It should be awesome, last year there were some top level pros that came out, hopefully some more women pros will be drawn by the LARGE purses.
    $750 for winner, down to $50 for 10th place.

  12. When the women who podium at the womens’ version of the Giro and the womens’ cobbled classics REGULARLY make the front cover of VeloNews, perhaps we’ll see a little more parity in professional racing. Remember that visibility sells products, and sponsors want to invest in commodities that will promote their brands the most.

    I hate to be so crass, but as long as we’re being real, let’s be real all the way.

  13. @erik, thanks buddy, its already saved in a draft for a post here on DC. thats my hometown and i race those races. thanks for the heads up tho!

  14. @Judi I’m Cincinnati, too. Had some racers showering in my house and staging ahead of time for the Blast. I’m too fat and slow to race right now. I can’t say how excited I am to have this level of racing and UCI Worlds coming to our neck of the woods.

  15. yup, the OVCX series have some BIG time races. louisville will hold worlds CX in 2013 – the 1st time its been in the states. :)

  16. Fine. I’ll be crass.

    Professional bicycle racers, like all other professional athletes, are COMMODITIES. They are rolling billboards for sponsors who may — or may not — have anything at all to do with cycling.

    We (those of us who are NOT paid to ride our bikes) love to read all about our favorite cycling stars, and while they do get to have personal lives and families, they are, in effect, “owned” by the sponsors who pay them to race.
    (For a not dissimilar scenario, refer to free agency in baseball. Ballplayers can switch teams but they still have to kiss ass to whomever is paying their salary. Don’t believe me? Ask Manny Ramirez, who has paid for his pouting in L.A.; and Big Papi, whose bat is drying up in Boston and whom may soon be out of a job. But I digress.)

    The reason that men get paid more to race than women do is complex and has several facet:

    1. History. Women weren’t even allowed to ride bikes in public for several years after the men started doing it; and in many towns and cities across the westernized world they were subject to derision and ostracism in their communities. The first World cycling championships which allowed women to compete for road and track titles did not happen until 1958 (!!), while men had been contesting world bicycling titles for many decades prior. Given our late arrival to the party, our progress in bicycling has been nothing short of astounding.

    2. Money. The fact is that sponsors have always been willing to pour more money into mens’ sports than into womens’, which is part of why Title XI was created. The other reality is that the paying public still prefers to watch men compete in feats of strength and agility many times more than women. I have no statistics to prove this but empirical experience seems to bear this out. Go to any large newstand in any major American city, and look at the covers of sports-oriented magazines. How many show women, and how many show men? Sponsors aren’t stupid and they will invest in the sports that bring the most exposure, and presumably the greatest return on their advertising dollars.

    3. Social mores, gender roles and expectations. How many women over the age of 45 today had to fight — with a coach or family member — for the opportunity to try a sport when they were young? Some of us are old enough to remember when the first GIRL was allowed to play Little League baseball — HARDBALL — with the boys, and we also remember the harassment and threats she and her family received during the legal battle that led to the court ruling. Add to that centuries-old mindset about womens’ roles and what are considered “appropriate” behavior and hobbies for girls and women, a mindest that STILL colors our perceptions and expectations today on both macro and micro levels, even on subterranean levels we aren’t conscious of, and you have a complex world in which women are encouraged to excell at sports, but only so far. Any woman who exceeds those expectations, who dares to beat the men at “their” own game, becomes subject to all sorts of questions about her sexuality and even her gender.

    Think I’m making this stuff up? An interview of champion mountain bike racer Willow Koerber in the latest issue of VeloNews devotes multiple column inches to her modeling career and her projections of femininity; bless her for daring to speak to the reality that women must uphold certain MALE-determined standards of femininity while excelling at sports in order not to be perceived as somehow dangerous or threatening. But still, the overarching tone of the article bothered me, especially since the first sentence calls her a “sex symbol” BEFORE mentioning her accomplishments as a bike racer — in a bike racing magazine.

    Anyone out there want to call me an uppity anything? Sure, fine, feel free. I’m cool with it, and have heard it all before. But don’t tell women they’re full of sour grapes over the inequities in bike racing and other sports. They’re calling it like they see it, even if they don’t know all the history behind it.

  17. And in a separate vein, Cross Crusade DOES allow beer hand-DOWNS.
    You have not lived until you’ve watched Ryan Trebon reach into his jersey pocket and hand a beer to a shocked spectator as he rolls by on his singlespeed.

  18. beth, thanks again for taking the time to post. im with you on that article on willow. BUT she is hot.

    have you seen this? what are your thoughts? i think sex sells.

  19. What do I think of the video?
    It’s well-made; production values are pretty high and it grabs attention quickly.
    Socially speaking, I think it walks a fine line, even if the women did enjoy modeling for it.

    It doesn’t really matter what I think of it on a personal level, since it’s not geared to my brain — or my wallet. What will matter, to the advertisers and the designers of the video, is if it gets the target market — middle-aged men with disposable income and athletic pursuits or even fantasies — to part with their money to buy whatever it is that the producers are selling.

    Considerations of art are secondary to the producer’s intent, and that is as a component of commerce.