First take a look here:
If you haven't seen/done this already, please read the short petition below for equal prize money in UCI races for top 5 women and men and please sign.
Petition was started by mountain bike racer Georgia Gould and there is an interview with her in VeloNews you can read more about this:
Be sure to read the Velonews article before coming to your conclusion!
I was not going to blog about this. That is until I started reading some of the biggest dumb ass comments on various message boards. So because I'm stupid, I'm going to stick my foot in the fray.
I think that prize money for local races is a bad idea. Races cost a tremendous amount of money to put on, and its the prize money that a lot of times kills races. I can think of many road races that just don't happen because they loose money. Who the hell wants to work like a dog, only to be yelled at by Lycra wearing skinny GUYS who think that because they were 3rd in a Cat 4 race that the world owes them homage? To top it off, at the end of the day, all you have to show for your effort is that you lost money! If I redid this system, I'd take a page out of the tri book and only award prize money to "elites."
And yes, I'd award equal prize money, at least thru the top five places.
Now I'll tell you why. Running used to be a male oriented sport. The guys were very happy to keep it that way, too. Most running races now have as many or more women in them than men. Cycling? We girls have a saying, the only reason why guys let us race is so that we'll do all the work. Ouch. That one hurt, didn't it. Go to most crits and count how many races for guys there are, how many races for juniors there are, and how many races for women there are. Want to know why more women don't race? Lets take your local cat 5 guy, at his first race, and put him in a crit field with a bunch of cat 1 guys. Think he's coming back?
So when the guys are belly aching that more women don't race, lets be honest about it. More women don't race because the system is stacked against them. I know. I've been the new cat 4 woman racing those awesome cat 1 girls. I've seen bad crashes because of it, too. I've seen a lot of women say that they won't race crits anymore because of that stuff. And, to make it worse, since there are so few road races, they can't race there, either. That leaves time trials.
Down here in Virginia, we have lots of time trials. They are very, very well attended by women. Fact is, we get deeper women's fields than those precious cat 1-2 mens fields.
Women will race if given a good chance, are treated well, and encouraged to come back. Sponsors are trying to reach that women's market, look at Specialized and their great efforts to give women bikes and apparel that actually fit. But guys, if you think that any sponsors are giving prize money because they think that someone wants to watch YOU race... you need better drugs. On our local level, few people are watching ANYONE race. Most sponsors are doing their stuff for community service. Lets get real here.
I came from running and I remember super talented Vickie Huber who lived with her infant daughter in her coach's shed so that she could train. I know lots of women racers who don't live much better. Lets not begrudge the best of each sex the opportunity to not starve. If we all have to cut out the paydays for the 50 year old men, and the master's women to do so, I'm for it.
That's just my opinion. Talk amongst yourselves.