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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Beverly Fat Tire Frenzy

I really didn't think this race was going to happen. But the thunder, lightning, and pouring rain finally gave way to sunny skies, and after a two hour delay the race was on! The trails even dried up enough to get in a pre lap.

I was really looking forward to a relatively short course - 3, 4 1/2 mile laps. However, right before the 10 second countdown to the start, the women's field learned that we would be doing 4 laps and that we would be starting at the same time as the men. Ready, set, go! What?!

How gorgeous is this? Photo by Eric Roccasecca.
It was a super fast start and I managed to get into the single track ahead of a few of the men's field, but Liz was further ahead and there were a few people between us. I normally like a fast start, but this was even faster than I was expecting!

The first section of the course was really nice and flowy, but you still had to watch out for some slick spots on corners. The berms (there were a lot of them -fun!) were great and allowed you to carry a lot of speed into the corners without worrying about slick spots. All you had to do was ride the berm high and you could completely avoid any mud.

Another favorite part of the trail system was where you shot of out the woods into a meadow - the flowers were gorgeous!
Photo by Angy Snoop
After the uphill switchbacks, there was another open section leading to the second half of the course. I no longer had sight of Liz ahead, so I knew she had quite a gap. The second half of the course was a lot more technical. There was a log over on an off camber section of trail, which was slick from the rain, tight uphill turns with plenty of roots, and an uphill turn with roots where you had to go through two very close together trees - man was that tough!

Since I no longer had Liz in my sight, I tried to use any of the guys that passed as motivation to keep up with them. I just didn't have it in me to stick with any of them for long though! I was really wishing that the 3rd lap was my last - that fourth lap was rough!

It turned into a hot and extremely humid day and while a lot of the muddy spots dried up, there were still plenty of sluggish semi wet sandy areas that sapped my energy. On the last lap though, I gave some of what I was calling my "trail nemesis'" a try - probably not the best idea, but what the heck? I knew Liz wasn't close enough to catch and there wasn't anyone close behind. I had fun and proved to myself that I shouldn't have been hesitant about giving them a try!

Photo by Angy Snoop.
My only big fail of the day was not packing a pair of shorts for after the race- it was way too hot for my jeans!

While there were a few glitches, some controllable like the start, and some not, like the weather, it turned out to be a great race. I'd love to come back to these trail when they are nice and dry and really fly around on those berms!

Katherine, Cara, Liz, Myself, and Karmen. Couldn't ask for a friendlier group of ladies to race with! Photo by Eric Roccasecca.
My only complaint *rant warning* was the serious discrepancy between the men's and women's payouts for the top finishers. My 2nd place finish paid out less than my husband's 4th place finish, we race the same category! Racing is obviously not about the money, but this sucks, and feels like a slap in the face, when the payouts aren't equal for the top finishers. I thought that in Iowa, in years past, that there was equal payout. This is always a good sign of a great series. I know there is an issue of the women's field not being nearly as large as the men's field, but a simple solution would be to not pay out as deep. After all, we pay the same entry fee, we train just as hard, and race just as hard.

/end rant


I'm really happy for the feedback received on my little payout equality rant. I'm glad for the willingness to have an open discussion on the issue. In my opinion the solution is incredibly easy; equal payout for the top finishers, but adjust the depth of payouts for the field size. WORS already does a variation of this and plenty of races in Iowa like the Chris Lillig Memorial Cup and Jingle Cross already have equal payouts in place. This has a huge positive effect on the women who do race. (How to get more women out there racing is another topic- also very important).

In my opinion the argument about the women's field being smaller and not deserving of equal payouts is bogus. The money for payouts comes from the entire race, not just the category 1 men's or category 1 women's fields.

I understand there are plenty of expenses that go into hosting a race, which can be overwhelming. We all want the races to be financially stable and really appreciate all the time and effort going into putting these events on. But really, if the race is capable of paying out higher amounts to the men's field, they should be certain they can afford to do the same for the women. The women aren't taking away money from the men. The men's field overall usually gets more money because of deeper payouts, and I see the rational of that when they have significantly larger fields.

As a final thought, I want to emphasize that most of us, men and women, are not out there racing for money (pros aside). This isn't a monetary issues, it's an EQUALITY issues.




  1. Email sent your way, Emily. I would love to discuss the latter portion of your report (the rant part) in an effort to move the sport forward in Iowa. It's a debate that has been underway for the past decade in bike racing, and there are options.

  2. Always love reading your reports. It's what has inspired me to write and publicly publish reports for all my races this year.

    Beverly is a great fast and flowy course, and the conditions were way better than we had any reason to expect them to be after that rain. I didn't notice any flowers in the meadow, though. It's surely not that I was going too fast to notice... perhaps I just felt I was seeing stars. :-)

    Regarding the payout, ranting is fine (I mean that, not being sarcastic), but if you have some ideas for solutions, shoot an email to the IMBCS advisory board. The policy gets tweaked (and hopefully improved) a little bit each year.
    • Contact info: http://imbcs.org/about/
    • Current policy (scroll down to IMBCS Suggested CATEGORY I (Expert) Payout Schedule): http://imbcs.org/races/2015-races/series-information/

    1. Thanks Katherine! I read your last two posts - it's great to read about other women's race experiences, I hope you keep it up! I've tried to get some fellow women to write guest race reports, but no taker yet. It can be pretty intimidating to put yourself out there, but I've had a lot more positive feedback from by blog than I ever anticipated and that's one of the reasons why I continue post on here. It also gives me a chance to reflect on my own racing and riding and make more conscious improvements.

  3. I love the rant. There is a huge gender equity problem in bike racing. I'm glad people keep bringing it up, so we can work on solutions. You should definitely go back to those trails when they are dryer. John and I pre-rode the course last Thursday and it was so much fun. It's only about 10 minutes further away than Sugar Bottom. Great job on Sunday!