Sunday, July 02, 2006

A better example

Sunday, 2 July

Today I was schooled. A friendly and gracious professional woman cyclist, Kim Anderson of T-Mobile, paid a brief visit this weekend to Oregon bike racing. On Saturday, she very impressively rode 7 of the 9 laps (80 of 100 miles) of the pro-1-2 men's state road race championship. There were fewer than 20 men left in the race when she chose to pull out (she was sitting comfortably in the pack at that point). Today, she rode the cat 3 men's race at Mt. Tabor, finishing fourth, and then raced the cat 1-2-3 women's race.

Needless to say, she won. But she did it in such a thoughtful way. As we started, she said "let's keep it together." And she let the locals race their race. She didn't push the pace, I don't think she even sprinted for any primes. For the first few laps, she made sure the main group regrouped at the top of the hill. She congratulated all of us on a good race after the finish (whether we'd had one or not). She chatted with people after the race. She was a wonderful ambassador for the sport.

Okay, so my efforts on a bike are not remotely close to those of Kim Anderson, and it was pretty much a given that she was going to win today while I was unsure about some of my competition yesterday. But for all the cynical men who thought I was bonkers for entertaining the slightest bit of guilt for riding away from my field yesterday, look at Kim's example today and understand maybe a little bit of how women's racing is different from men's.

Results are here.

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