10 hours ago
Wednesday, 21 April 2010
2010 Masters Women Team Sprint
After a lot of talking, mustering support, more talking, to-ing and fro-ing, by lunchtime on pursuit day (last Thursday) we had confirmation that a Women’s Team Sprint would go ahead, as a demonstration event only. A little victory, but one that was put on hold as communications became furry and blurry, with people being told different things at different times ie yes/no to the event itself; yes/no to combined state teams., yes/not registration has closed. This confusion meant that a couple of potential teams did not enter, which was very annoying for me as Chief Agitator for this event, and on behalf of those women who wanted to race, but were ultimately excluded because of these crossed communications.
The Actual Race:
A total of 6 teams lined up to race, a solid turn out. I paired up with Wendy Martin from Wangaratta (almost like Warragul! But not quite ;-P). Although we have raced together, we hadn’t raced as a pair before, so it was a matter of suck it up and see. Suck it up we did, and despite an interesting qualifying round, where poor Wendy spent two laps into the wind, rather than just the final loop, we qualified fourth and into the ride off for “bronze”.
Lining up for the finals, we were better prepared, had a game plan worked out and rode a smooth, team event, taking nearly a second off our qualifying time. Even though our opposition went fractionally slower, unfortunately it was not enough for us to come over them. I tell ya, it was the best fun! All the women who took part, took on board the nature and spirit of the event, as both a demonstration event, and as a political statement about women’s track racing. For that, I am very appreciative, and would like to thank everyone who raced it.
The Hard Work:
Once we had the event rubber stamped “GO!”, Mdm Hour (or is it Mdm ItalioTourer now??) got to work in her role on the CA Masters’ Commission, lobbying hard for the rule change to occur, so that the Women’s Team Sprint is a valid, recognised, sanctioned annual event. Liz spent much time discussing this with women at Nationals, taking on board suggestions, conceptualisations, opinions, feeding them into the Masters Commission, and then feeding back to the women what was being discussed and nutted out. Without that work over the final two days by Liz, we wouldn’t be so far down the track that we now are. For me, it’s one less email I need to send and keep chasing and for which I am grateful.
Once the CA Tech Regs include the Women’s Team Sprint, the next step is to move it up. Lise Benjamin is working hard to get the event incorporated into World Masters, via the UCI. Hopefully with Australia taking the lead, our changes to the regulations will model good practice for the UCI, and they will take on board the need for equity in this event.
This is the stuff most of the membership DON”T see, or fail to recognise. Lobbying, fighting for what you believe in, for the betterment of racing is emotionally draining, psychologically/cognitively hard work and requires dogged determination and persistence and time. And a tough skin, particularly as a woman in a male-dominated, old-school sport. It’s important that we get solidarity amongst female competitors on issues like this, to show demand and need, and also to support those who carry forward the banner for women’s racing.