It’s been a great 2012 in the world of women’s cycling - and even more fun, for me, being able to share it with other fans. It’s lovely, being connected to this world, making friends, sharing things I love with other people who love it too.
If you missed it earlier, here are my highlights of the 2012 season, from my podcast with Dan - and actually, podcasting has been one of my personal highlights - especially our interviews with Amber Pierce and Helen Wyman - and another was the crazy, exciting, fun, bonkers project that was the Unofficial Unsanctioned Social Media Jersey. Huge thanks, from the bottom of my heart, to everyone who contributed, whether by giving money, nominating, voting or just sharing the project with other people.
And thanks to everyone who’s ever “liked” or re-blogged, or just read anything on this site. The interaction with people makes me happy - knowing that we can connect with each other, and through our own social media, and little initiatives, like the Jersey, or like #ClickThruThurs (if you’ve missed that, check out Amber Pierce’s original post, and my post about it - as well as the twitter hashtag) we are doing our bit to promote and help the sport. I can’t wait to see what we come up with, together, next year!
Here’s to a fantastic 2013 to all the teams, riders and races who provide us with so much entertainment - and to all women’s cycling fans, wherever you are. May the new year bring you everything you want.
When an athlete experiences a physical injury, the cause is often obvious, the extent of damage can be seen or easily measured, and the treatment and prognosis are usually clear. In a way, overtraining is a biochemical or hormonal injury. Over time, elevated stress wreaks havoc on your hormones, which in turn affect everything from your mood to digestion to bone health. These imbalances constitute serious injuries and although they may not be visible or immediately obvious, they can pose serious health risks and require as much attention, treatment and healing as any physical injury.
The key is to prevent the cycle of more stress and compromised recovery in the first place, by matching your overall stress levels with rest and recovery.
I’m a professional athlete; it is literally my job to manage this stress-recovery balance, and to know when my body needs recovery. So where did I go wrong?"
Every Thursday, fans take a few minutes to “click-through” the articles on women’s cycling, team websites, athlete pages, programs, affiliated sponsors, and more, and by doing so as a focused, collective effort every week, fans can actually spike the quantitative Return On Investment (ROI) for those companies invested in the sport.
In other words, teams and athletes can show their sponsors concrete numbers indicating how they’ve increased web traffic - or click-through rates - for their sponsors; likewise, news sites will see better click-through rates on their articles covering women’s cycling and be encouraged to provide more coverage for the fans.
I’m emphasizing women’s cycling here, because that is the context in which this idea was born; however, I want to make it clear that this initiative is a way for all fans to support ALL the good stuff they see happening in the sport - the great junior programs and races, or teams and programs dedicated to upholding clean sport. Whatever you see out there that is good and worthy, click away!
Fans can post links, articles, sites, sponsors or other good stuff on Twitter using the hashtag #ClickThruThurs, to share with other fans. For now I encourage everyone to post using the hashtag as much as possible, because at the moment, that is how we can track participation."
Great interview with Cogeas-Pasta Zara rider Amber Pierce, on what #ClickThruThursday is, and how we, fans of women’s cycling, can do something really simple to show teams, riders and sponsors how much we support them. Take 2 minutes to click on some links - and check out the #ClickThruThurs hashtag to see what women’s cycling fans all over the world are recommending. Such a genius idea! And if you haven’t read it already, check out Amber’s original Triple Crankset blog that started it all off
One of my ongoing themes is thinking about how we, the fans, can help this sport we love. It’s a fascinating topic for me – on the one hand, I can (and do) bemoan the fact I feel women’s cycling is unfairly marginalised by the UCI, the cycling press, the media – after all, fans LOVE women’s racing when they get to see it, and more people watched the women’s Olympic road race on the BBC and Eurosport than watched the men’s – but on the other, what an amazing opportunity for us, as fans, to shape how the sport is portrayed, and to directly help it grow.
Think about it – with the ridiculous sums of money and publicity floating around Team Sky, for example, fans of men’s cycling tend to be seen as an amorphous mass, for riders to moan about, if they think about us at all. But on the women’s side, our blogging, tweeting, ‘like’-ing, and our actions, can really make a difference. I really believe in that maxim, “be the change you want to see” – and I am still in awe of how fans’ backing and support for the Unofficial, Unsanctioned Social Media Jersey blew all our expectations out of the water, and showed how, working together, we can directly support the riders, teams and sport we love.
And there are some more initiatives I want to highlight, that give us some really simple, easy and fun ways to help. I know I talk about some of these all the time, but damn, I love their passion, their continual commitment to the sport – and above all, how EASY they make it for us to help."
In which I get very excited about some ideas on how WE, the FANS, can CHANGE THE WORLD!!!
I LOVE this idea! So simple, so easy - and click through to find out exactly why this small thing will really help women’s cycling - thankyou Amber!
WARNING: This post may contain traces of sarcasm
Recently everyone’s favourite host of late-night (or early evening the previous day, depending on your timezone) Q&A sessions, Amber Pierce wrote a rambling and hysterical piece of histrionic propaganda about the paucity of financial investment in women’s cycling. Among her many emotionally charged and irrational claims was this little gem:
“And for the love of pete, STOP this narrative that investing money in women’s cycling will somehow ruin it. Money is precisely what women’s cycling needs to progress; the passion, professionalism, people, ideas and motivation are all there.”
Amber is, of course, dead wrong."
My good friend and co-podcaster, Dan, has a big old rant about women’s cycling. I love it, and I think you will too - head on over and read it!
Claiming lack of funding as the reason for cleaner racing the women’s peloton perpetuates a low standard for women by justifying less sponsorship, lower salaries and less prize money. Keeping money out of women’s cycling IS NOT SAVING WOMEN’S CYCLING. It is not a solution that will “save the women from the fate of the men,” and the idea that we need to be protected from more money is downright absurd.
Doping presents far less of an issue in women’s cycling than men’s, because we have a different history, one that has grown from different foundations into a completely separate culture of ethics."
Really interesting piece by Amber Pierce, on women’s cycling, doping, ethics, and why she thinks the women and younger men have a different attitude to the traditional men’s sport. It’s got so much good stuff in it
Pls RT: Live video Q&A THIS FRIDAY Nov 23 18CET. I’ll answer all your Qs live on video. Good news: NO MORE ADS!— Amber Pierce (Rais) (@ambermalika) November 20, 2012
I really love Amber’s live Q&As - she answers pretty much everything fans ask about the wild world of women’s cycling. You can join in on the Glacier Gloves’ facebook - but you don’t need to log into facebook, or even sign in as your real name, if you like.
Friday 23rd November, 16:00 CET (Europe) - 5pm GMT (UK) - 12 noon USA Eastern - 9am USA Pacific - 4am Saturday New South Wales (sorry Aussies!)
Follow Amber’s twitter for more updates
The first step is to accept, acknowledge and emphasize that women’s cycling is a very different beast from men’s cycling, and as such, should not be marketed in the same way. Men’s cycling has been around for centuries, so the model for marketing cycling has evolved and been refined in terms of what works for men and is by and large what has been applied to women’s cycling. Centuries of history compared with decades of history - that’s a lot of inertia in what may prove to be the wrong direction for the women’s side of the sport. First and foremost: market women’s cycling for what it is - distinct from anything else.
Then promote what it is about women’s cycling that appeals and fascinates. What draws the athletes to the sport? (I’ll give you a hint: it is not the money!) What is so damn irresistible about bike racing that these athletes leave such successful, respected and lucrative professions as medicine, law, research, investment banking, academia? If someone were to ever calculate the total opportunity cost represented by the professional women’s peloton, it would be a shocking illustration of the intangible value of pursuing a dream, rather than a paycheck. If that isn’t an intriguing and inspiring window into the human spirit, I don’t know what is."
Really, really, really good piece by Amber Pierce, with SO MANY really brilliant ideas. I love it!
Remember Amber Pierce wrote about getting to take her mum for a bike ride for the first time? Well, this is Amber’s mum’s side of the story, and it’s a really sweet one - and a great review of e-bikes too - head through and read it!