As part of our mission to develop and grow grassroots cycling in Colorado, the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado is committed to supporting women racers. As many women are fairly new to the sport, we suggest that all new racers consider joining a club to find support, training tips, carpooling to races, and options for coaching, equipment and improvement.
Joining a Team
If you find yourself looking for a team to join, there are a few ways to approach this task:
- Reference the BRAC website for the list of all active teams and determine which ones include women. Contact the team director of each, inquiring whether they have available space for additional athletes and/or whether they accept riders of your category ( Ie. Some teams accept Cat 4 women, some do not).
- Attend a race and speak with the women in your event about their teams- ask what they like and do not like, and how you can go about joining their team. Some teams require references or recommendations from current members, on behalf of new members. So networking at the events is a great way to get your foot in the door.
- Consider speaking with officials or event promoters ? ask the people running the events which teams they like or speak highly of. Talk to your coach or other coaches to see which teams they recommend.
- Keep in mind that most teams select their rosters in the fall for the following season. If you are applying for a team mid-season, or at the beginning of the calendar year, you may find that everyone has filled their roster and they are not taking on new riders. Ask if you can add your name to a wait list or if you could guest ride with the team at an event.
- Most important, try to seek out teams that mirror your goals ?whether it?s having fun, socializing, racing on a very serious level, serving the community ? be sure you find a good fit so you can align your own goals with the team?s (otherwise, it can make for a very long season!).
Suggestions posted by Megan Hottman, Director of the "TheCyclist-Lawyer.com SW4 cycling team." www.hottmanlawoffice.com/team . Her team accepts applications from beginner SW4 racers year-round.
BRAC hosts clinics specific to women racers. In the spring there is a road clinic, and in the fall there is a CX clinic. These are excellent opportunities to meet new friends, gain new knowledge and skills, and learn from the excellent coaches we are blessed to have in Colorado. See the link below for materials presented at the clinics:
Senior Women Mentoring
BRAC is looking for quality people looking to give back to Women's Cycling.
The BRAC sponsored women's mentoring program's purpose is to encourage women and girls of all levels and abilities to participate in bicycle racing: road, track and cyclocross. As the mission of the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado is to promote racing in Colorado, it is necessary to develop programs that allow women to approach the starting line with confidence. As a formalized program of mentoring, The BRAC Women's Development Program will offer both personalized and race based mentoring.
The mentoring program will provide a number of experienced racers who will prepare the new participants for the course, ideas on tactics and race expectations. There will be an opportunity to ride the course with the mentors before the race for 10-15 minutes. The race will then re-stage for the official race start, which will be ridden without the mentors. Eight mentoring races have been chosen for accessibility, level of technicality and discipline from April through August. The cyclocross calendar will be developed in June or July for the cyclocross season.
Experienced racers will be available to mentor throughout the season to individuals or an assigned group of new racers where preparation and tactics will be discussed before the event via email or telephone. An attempt will be made by the mentor to accompany the new racer to some of the races, but the intent is for an individual to feel comfortable seeking encouragement to alleviate the anxiety of racing.
Here are comments from women who have raced their first criterium in a BRAC Women's Mentoring Event:
"I participated in my first Crit at Bannock Street last weekend. I did it specifically because it was one of the mentor crits that BRAC has organized. Margel Abel coached me the whole Crit and was great. I did not get a chance to thank her and Beth who rode with the SW4 group that morning. Can you please pass my message on to Margel to thank her for me. Thanks!" - Patty H, Denver
"Being super nervous to race a crit, I wanted to reach out to you two after the Wheels of Thunder Race last Saturday. Thank you Rachel and the mentors for your work, and to the event director for providing such a safe course for learning. The turns were super easy and the mentors provided great tips! I hope to try a couple more races this year. Thanks for making this opportunity available in Colorado." - Tara M, Denver