By request

Aug. 28th, 2008 07:46 am
ninevirtues: (Default)
For [personal profile] threadwalker, who asked for more bike stuff.... hope you like it!

Yesterday's intervals were 2x12 min uphill in zone 4 (translation: Think you're gonna die, be pleasantly surprised when that does not happen.)

Start late
Ride to Montebello Rd
Eat clif bar on the way

(This is not the part that's meant to be inspiring.... just so you know. That part comes next.)

Interval 1:
Minute 2: HR 166
"No, harder! Move it! You can!"

Minute 4: HR 170
"Better!"

Minute 8: HR 172
"Keep going!"

Minute 9: HR 170
(I think I'm gonna die. No I'm not, it only feels like it. Time for the cheering section in my head to kick in. With apologies for the shouting...)

"Come ON. This is the LAST THREE MINUTES of your interval. YOU CAN DO IT. You have THREE MINUTES to make yourself a better bike racer and they happen RIGHT NOW. USE THEM. Come ON. DO IT! GO!"

Minute 9:15 to 12:00:
HR 172

Minute 12:01:

"Good job! Way to stick with it! I told you that you could do it!"
ninevirtues: (Default)

I've been a bad, bad girl.

Today I was supposed to do hill repeats, 3x10 minutes, zone 4, with 2x200meter attacks in zone 5 per hill repeat.

I got to the Montebello turnoff and ... it's getting dark. I don't wanna. I think I'll do my one hour loop instead. That has some good climbs right?

Sigh. I really should do what I ought to be doing, and I really ought not to fart around like this. Still, okay. I will hill repeat tomorrow morning.

Up Stevens Canyon.
Pass a slow guy.
Pass a slightly less slow but still furry-legged guy in a blue jersey. (Leg hair is a telltale sign of a recreational rider. They just are not serious enough to break out the razor.)

Climb climb climb.
Out of the corner of my eye I see a faintly blue shadow. Oh it's like that huh? Getting passed by a girl, ah the humiliation. 

The same part of my brain that once busted out with "Yeah, Ms. Manager, I'd like to take a month off and tour Europe," without bothering to consult me first, decides it's GAME ON and I'm flying up the hill without rational thought.

When the inevitable snapback happens, and rationality tries to intervene, the rest of me decides that yes it is GAME ON.

Up. Down. Curve. Drop Mr. Blue Jersey, scrub some speed around a sharp corner, hear behind me the faint creak of unmaintained bicycle gears.

I accelerate on (Pierce?). Curve. Curve. Hey I can take this curve faster than I thought. (pant) I sure need some more HILL REPEATS though. Hint, hint. Drop my outside leg and power through another curve.

When I hit the stoplight, it takes a full five minutes for Reverse Wabbit to roll up to the line. I thank him for his excellent role as bait and ride away. 

So you'd like to see the YouTube version of the title?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mjhm-8kMtzg
ninevirtues: (mermaid)
Executive summary: I'm home with the stomach flu, and have been thinking. (This may be dangerous.) Regular readers can skip if not interested.

So, it's starting to dawn on me that encouraging cat 4 women to race is not a problem I can fix once and have it stay fixed. Even producing a race series is not a 'fix once, stay fixed' proposition; race series like that have been known to stop after a few years, as organizers go on to bigger, better, or just plain other things.

If we series organizers do our jobs right, and race series work as I expect them to, women who are cat 4 racers will upgrade (and we'll have to find new cat 4 racers to replace them).

Here are some things to think about, when considering this problem:

Overall, my idea is this: At least in my regional USCF association, I'd like to create a thriving community of racing opportunities for cat 3 and cat 4 women, in which these women can be successful (e.g. cat 3 bonuses, 3/4 races, cat 4 races, and cat 4 bonuses), and I'd like to see a good number of cat 3 and 4 women attending these races.

The point is to create an environment where women who may have 10 hours per week to train (not 20 hours), or who are never going to be cat 2 racers because of their physiology, still have plenty of opportunities to train and race as cat 3 or 4 women.

Having said that...

I think that cycling, as a sport, could improve the way it presents and markets racing to women. (Women own about 50% of the bikes in the US, but make up 10% of the racers. If you're a scientist, you'd say that's statistically improbable; if you're a marketing pro, you say it's a marketing opportunity.)

Here are things we might consider:

- Women's psychology is different than men's; I think we women tend to be naturally cooperative. We all know that, but maybe we've neglected to think about the way that plays out in a team sport like cycling. For example... In basketball, a women's team will come into the gym before practice, set up in a group, and engage in cooperative, organized drills. A men's team will come into the team before practice and engage in informal, competitive scrimmaging. A good coach will make the women's team scrimmage (after explaining why it's important) and make the men's team drill during practice.

So what does that mean for us? I think it means that it may be most productive to market racing to women by presenting it as part of a team, and a social sport.

- I think that women are more drawn to a sport when they won't have to compete alongside men, or be considered a lesser counterpart to the men's side of the sport. For example, an average coed triathlon draws some women, not a lot. A Danskin women's triathlon, on the other hand, can draw over a thousand women (and these races routinely sell out). In most (if not all) bike races, there are fewer women's races, the races are shorter, and the payouts are lower.

- Wouldn't it be a good idea to figure out what Danskin staff is doing, and why it works, then adapt their strategy for our own use?

- For bike races that attract a lot of women, wouldn't it be smart to figure out why?

In the same vein, an organizer of a coed race can attract women or drive them away, through explicit or implicit statements. Here are some examples:

-When the male overall winner and the male masters overall winner of a race get cool glass sculptures, but the female overall winner gets a medal? That's a way of saying "you don't count".

-When women hear comments like "You won the prime? Okay, take the training tires. Don't take the racing tires-- those are for the men's race," We hear "You are worth less than men."

Those remarks leave us steamed. It doesn't take too many comments like that for women to decide (if they are experienced racers) that their entry fees are better spent elsewhere, or (if they are new) that triathlon or disease rides are better ways to spend their time.

I'm asking for equality. I understand, though, that promoters can't necessarily afford to offer a big prize pool hoping that women will show up. (I wish that strategy worked consistently, but promoters tell me it doesn't; sometimes they offer a big prize pool but very few women show up to race for it.) So, I wonder what payout scheme I can suggest that will be equal, but will also be economically feasible for race promoters?

Questions to ponder:

- What drives women to a race? (What makes some races well attended and not others? Time of year, weather on the day, presence or absence of nearby races, difficulty of course, presence or absence of teammates, 'intimidation factor' of other likely racers (the Tina Pic factor), payout, reputation of promoter, whether race is included in race series?)

- How do women get into racing to begin with? Women who MTB, ride the disease rides, or race triathlon are all likely candidates who already have bikes and ride them regularly. How can we attract these women to bike racing?

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