larissa connors leadville

The Leadville 100 Has a Representation Problem

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Working an aid station at the Leadville 100 MTB last weekend, one of the coaches pointed out the women’s field seemed smaller than it used to be. Another coach, who was tracking down race results to confirm CTS Athlete Larissa Connors had won her second consecutive title, confirmed there were a total of 142 women finishers. Women represented only 9.2% of the 1538 finishers (out of 1561 starters)*, and that’s a problem.

Representation vs. Inequality

In an article earlier this year, Jason Koop talked about a similar problem with the disparity between the number of men and women in some of ultrarunning’s most prestigious races. In it, he used the term “inequality”, but in hindsight that may not have been the best term to use. Paying women less prize money than men for winning the same event is an example of inequality. Fewer women entering an event is probably better described as a problem of representation.

Why Representation Matters

Speaking about representation in the entertainment industry, actress and activist Geena Davis said, “If she can see it, she can be it.” When more than 90% of the riders on the start line are men, it is literally difficult to see there are women present. Figuratively, it becomes difficult for women who aren’t racing to see a place for themselves in that environment.

For part of the day, Ayesha McGowan joined us in the CTS tent at the aid station. You may recognize her name from stories in Outside, ESPN, and Bicycling; she is an emerging elite cyclist pursuing the goal of becoming the first African-American woman in the professional peloton. It was her first time attending the Leadville 100, and her first impression was that women were conspicuously absent from the race. The absence of women tells aspiring racers: this is not a place for you.

Rebecca Rusch, a four-time winner of the Leadville 100, has spoken of the need for female representation at events, in bike shops, and in boardrooms throughout the cycling industry. The presence of women changes attitudes and behaviors toward women, which makes the environment more welcoming for the next female mechanic, product manager, engineer, or executive. She wrote, “Significantly changing the culture of cycling won’t happen from the top down, but rather from the ground up. Bike shops, group rides, and event directors are where real change needs to start, because that’s where the next generation of elite athletes, mechanics, engineers, marketers, and business leaders are going to originate.” It’s not that only women can design products and services that other women will buy; it’s that women need to be included in the design process, and they often are not.

CTS is not immune to this problem. Over the past 18 years women have played crucial roles for the company as coaches, managers, and executives, but at the moment women make up 23% of our coaching staff. Two of our next three coach hires are women, and our Sponsored Athlete Program is evenly divided between men and women (27 each). As our Coaching Director, Jason Koop, put it in his earlier article: “We are committed to taking steps toward gender parity in our coaching staff, however, because we see the substantive impact our female coaches make on the athletes they work with and the professional organizations they interface with. For the most part it’s not that men actively work against the interests of women in sport; it’s that we don’t recognize or consider that women may have a different – and equally valid – view on a particular subject.”

If we want women’s participation numbers to grow, we have to address the issue of representation in the sport’s biggest mass-participation events. And there are good reasons we should all want more women at Leadville, as well as gravel events, gran fondos, and traditional road and track races.

What Representation Yields

I am not crusading to make every event have a 50:50 split between men and women on the start line, but there are good reasons why we need to do better than 91:9.

Better racers

Getting more fast women to the start line increases the level of competition, and that pushes athletes to achieve their absolute best performances. Larissa Connors has been crushing 100-mile mountain bike races for the past two seasons, and won the 2018 Leadville 100 by 27 minutes. She’s awesome, but a deeper and stronger field would elevate her performance level as well as the performances of everyone chasing her. Historically, the women’s field has never been more than 11% of the entire field at Leadville. It is also worth noting that while the percentage of female representation was roughly equal between 2017 and 2018, the absolute number of women in the field was higher in 2018 than 2017, by five riders.

Better products

Women didn’t compete in marathons until 1967 when Kathrine Switzer ran the Boston Marathon, and it took a long time after that for the number of women runners to grow substantially. As more women took up running, apparel and gear companies recognized the opportunity and developed new products. Race directors recognized the opportunity and created events and categories to encourage greater female participation. Now, many marathon and half marathon fields contain more women than men. If a similar model worked for cycling, getting more women to the start line of cycling’s biggest mass participation events would spur investment in the cycling industry, and result in more products and services to support the growing base of female participants.

A healthier sport

A vast imbalance in male/female participation is bad for any participatory sport, even if you have events that sell out registration (like Leadville does). Bringing more women into the sport doesn’t decrease the number of men participating; it increases the total population size. That opens up more opportunity for event directors to put on great events. More balanced male/female participation can also help create a more inclusive community within a sport, as demonstrated by the running and triathlon communities.

How to fix the problem

There is no single silver bullet solution to increasing female representation at Leadville and other events, or in the cycling and coaching industries. It’s not a new problem, and despite many efforts from across the industry, it persists. Nevertheless, here are my suggestions.

Specifically invite women

After talking about this subject with a number of race directors and coaches, the ones who proactively invited women to attend had been more successful recruiting more women participants. One woman told me, “If you ask us to come, we’ll show up.” Why do they need to be asked? Because of all the years of male-dominated events and environments they’ve already experienced. Women are not demanding invitations, but they appreciate them and respond to them. Rebecca Rusch’s proactive efforts to invite women to Rebecca’s Private Idaho pushed women’s representation to 30% for 5 straight years.

Keep the events equal

Endurance events don’t have to change the offering in order to draw more women. Don’t change the courses, distances, or difficulty. This is something Leadville, other marathon MTB events, and gravel races have done very well; and something marathon running, ultarunning, and triathlon have been doing for many years.

Designate entries specifically for women

The Dirty Kanza 200 launched the “200 Women Riding 200 Miles” campaign prior to the 2017 race, setting aside 200 entries specifically for women. In its second year, the 2018 campaign brought 208 women to the start line – 22% of the field ­– for a 200-mile gravel race. Not only were women invited, but designating entries also meant they would be part of a sizable group, and they showed up. If Dirty Kanza could get to 22%, so can Leadville.

Like Leadville, Dirty Kanza awards entries through a lottery and, based on the comments on Jason Koop’s article, some people strongly believe event lotteries should remain gender-neutral. They get even more adamant when the number of available entries is capped by permits and the organizer can’t just add more entries to the total. In my view, the long-term benefits of greater representation and inclusion are worth the proactive effort of designating entries, with the goal of reaching a point where the practice is no longer necessary.

Leadville is a great event and it helped drive the growth of 100-mile mountain bike races throughout the country. Now it’s time for Leadville to lead again. I’m hopeful Leadville will follow examples like Dirty Kanza and Rebecca’s Private Idaho and make an effort to increase the representation of women racers on the 2019 start line. It would be good for event and good for the sport.

*Source. With a 98.5% finish rate (1538/1561), I’m making the assumption the DNFs followed the same male/female ratio as finishers.


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Comments 39

  1. This is such a stupid article. If women want to do this they can. No one is going to force them to do a gnarly race. Why does this sort of talk need to permeate everything? As if women aren’t in control of what they want to do. You start by saying, “ Women represented only 9.2% of the 1538 finishers (out of 1561 starters)*, and that’s a problem.” no, it isn’t a “problem”. Get over yourself. People not wanting to do something is not a “problem”, it is a preference.

  2. Pingback: Chris Carmichael’s List of the “Best of 2019” - CTS

  3. Thank you for the article. I can give you one example why there are not more women racing. I am from BC, Canada and traveled with my husband to Truckee, CA to compete in the Tahoe Trail 100km race this past weekend (July 13, 2019). I finished 5th female overall and 2nd in my age group with a time of 5:44. This time also qualified me for the green coral at Leadville, or should I say would have… I entered the race not intending to race or qualify for Leadville. I was there to support my husband who was trying to qualify (which he did with a 5:01, 7th in his age group, receiving a coin). As I waited for the awards I thought maybe I should do Leadville, assuming I would receive a coin for second place on the podium and my strong finish time. Because my age group was only 8 women deep they only offered a coin to the first place woman (who beat me by 3min30sec). I was surprised and left the race with no intention of trying to re-qualify for Leadville or enter the lottery. If I was offered a coin there was a good chance I would have entered Leadville, but now I’m not motivated to. 23 women participated and finished this past weekend, I don’t know how many qualified for Leadville.

  4. Pingback: Chris Carmichael's List of the "Best of 2018" - CTS

  5. How many Hispanics are represented? How many African-Americans? How many African-American women? Are we going to set aside entries for all of those categories? Perhaps we should just “invite” them. Where does it end?
    Yet another attempt by well intended, yet misguided do-gooders to right the world.

  6. Diversity? Men vs women? Racing the Leadville isn’t necessarily one over the other, it’s about personal best. I’d say less than 10% of the entrants are professionals, the remaining are just enthusiastic about the sport. The lottery system is fair as well as the qualifying events that can be entered. If there is a need for more women racers, then those who currently race need to start recruiting their female friends. Leadville MTB 100 is not for the beginner or intermediate riders, the race is long, it’s technically challenging, it’s brutal on the body and mind, and it’s not for everyone. Many have tried and many fail to finish- male and female.

  7. Yes, interesting article. I will like to point out that there may be a change coming at least in Triathlon as the Silicon Valley Kids Triathlon (under 15) had 39% female participation this year. Regarding Cycling, I don’t have any data on what the Cycling Kids gender break down looks like, so can’t comment on that.

    Regarding the controversy of the name of the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, this article is an interesting one as it is none of the ones mentioned so far:

  8. I was excited to again see an article from CTS about the need for diversity in these sports, and while I won’t weigh in on your specific ideas recommended, I applause that you notice the issues of diversity. You think you could also look beyond gender diversity to racial diversity? I scroll through your coaches photos and find that your coaching staff certainly lacks diversity in a way much like the fields we find at the races. Complicated issue I know, but can CTS be a champion and leader in seeing our sports offer greater diversity for the non white athletes also?

  9. I found the article very interesting and a great insight into how men and women feel about this event. I am a avid cyclist, I have raced a little and I would love to try Leadville. I know it would be a huge commitment and I’m sure a huge accomplishment. The biggest problem we have in cycling is the fact that it is male dominated and not all women feel comfortable or confident enough to get out and do it. You’re gonna get pushed around and as many men who love to see us out there doing it, just as many men don’t. Look at yoga.. how many women do that to men? Why?
    Why do so many women feel more comfortable doing tri’s. What do they do to make that more inviting ??? When I got into this Men did an excellent job of scaring me. Especially when you want to give it go.. it might be your first race, or the first big climb.. the scary comments come out. I know now that’s actually insecure men who look at you and think now way can they do it..I have no idea why they wouldn’t want to help us as much as they would help a dude (I have worked in bike shop, I have been a cycling official so I know and seen the difference) also when a ride just for women is offered it grows quickly we have a local one on a paved trail and its awsome to see it growing so fast… because women do want to do it.. they are just fearful of the unknown..they don’t want to be made feel dumb about asking how to change gears or what to wear!! Again I know plenty of men who don’t know this stuff and they are not made to feel ditsy!!! it’s been a mans world for a long time… let’s be real how often do we see women’s bike races on tv.. Personally women’s MTB racing is exciting .. somehow we just need to bring more women together and get more women out there helping others to do it!!! I was once told – and he did say this – you don’t ride like a normal girl!!! Not sure what that means! I’m women and I race like me !! And we just need to have more women out there doing it and the more you see doing it the more will try it… also not that I know much but it seems that this race is male dominated so more men are going to enter and statistics will be in a mans favor correct,
    Which is such a shame when if a strong female who came in third the year before doesn’t get to do it the following year, that’s a shame and disappointing. It would be nice to see that change.

  10. Great article. My wife did the race for the first time this year and I’ve done it the last 4 yrs. The lack of women wasn’t a factor for her at all but she definitely noticed it. For my wife, the issue was being able to make the time cutoff. Women are every bit as capable as men, but there aren’t nearly as many that are comfortable with the technical skills required for mtb racing (yes, even Leadville). I believe that getting more females on mountain bikes is the primary opportunity, but I’d also be supportive of giving women priority in the lottery.

  11. This was the 16th time I’ve ridden the Leadville Trail 100. Back in the days when Ken and Marilee were running the show, Ken always made a point, in his pre and post race comments, about the importance of having women, in the tradition of the Unsinkable Molly Brown, be a part of the race. I would submit that the men entering the lottery want to ride as badly as the women who throw their names in the hat. Giving women preference is completely unfair as is giving the elites – of any gender – special preference (ask Dave Wiens – he had to go through the lottery). Of course we’d all like to see a good race unfold, but the bottom line is that the vast majority of riders are not and never will be elite racers. Most of us are there for the personal challenge and the atmosphere that only Leadville provides. It seems to me, allowing more women into the race is not the real issue. Generating interest in the sport is the key. Not everyone who loves to ride a bike wants to race.
    I do agree with the argument for improved women’s products. As my husband can attest, for years I have complained that “high end” women’s bikes don’t come with top of the line frame materials and components, features I find more attractive than pink or purple paint jobs. This, unfortunately seems to hold true for sporting goods in general.
    Is Leadville perfect? Probably not but you know what the issues are when you enter the lottery. Bottom line is, if you don’t like it, fine another race.

  12. Let’s see. You want reader’s to believe:

    Women suffer discrimination.
    Women cannot compete without other women around them.
    Women cannot register for events because too many men are taking their spots.
    Women need help with quota’s and set asides
    Women suffer gender discrimination.
    Women are disadvantage because the hills are too steep.
    Basically, women are weak, not athletic, have special needs, and it is all the fault of Leadville.
    Essentially it is masculine men who are the problem and women are suffering male domanace and women are weak and submitting.
    CTS and the author really believe everyone who is baited into reading this PCBS are all complicit and profoundly ignorant. Let’s lay the passive, victimology, and the suffocating of women to the author. GO LEADVILLE. The best of all women leading or just making the cutoffs make themselves and other women and especially men very proud and I’m with each and every one of of you. It has been and will continue to to be an honor to ride with you.

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      Are you sure you read the article? It does not say women are weak, or that they are discriminated against. It does not say they cannot compete or register because men are taking their spots. And there’s certainly nothing even remotely close to saying the events are too hard or the hills are too steep. We’d like to see more women take part in Leadville and other endurance MTB races. Dirty Kanza increased female participation by inviting women, not by changing the course or making their event one iota easier. I’ve ridden and finished Leadville 10x and DK200 twice, and I’d argue DK200 is significantly harder. They made an effort to make their event more appealing, and part of that was to let women know they wouldn’t be alone (relatively speaking). Does that matter? Based on personal conversations with Larissa Connors, Rebecca Rusch, and women who competed at DK200, Leadville, and Haute Route Rockies, apparently the answer is yes. It worked for Dirty Kanza, why not try applying the model to Leadville and other endurance events? There is no downside to making efforts to increase participation by women. – Jim Rutberg, CTS

      1. You know, Author? I thought I was responding directly to this. But instead, I only responded to a good friend’s post, who has been involved in the sport longer than me (25* years), repost. Well, I’m not the sort to not take ownership.
        Perhaps, instead of an instigator, you should reread your words, and start to understand you don’t speak for the sport. Your opinion is obtuse and supports “babies” who aren’t willing to seek success for the hard-traveled road it is. Become an ambassador, instead of a trouble-maker, please, and push to make it equal instead of patronizing. Kudos to ALL those who fight for a dream! Oh, and by the way, if you need some waking up.
        Sorry man, but I disagree. As a matter of fact, I think this article/topic is a bit of a joke. Am I to understand, that in order to help in attracting more women to more races, we should “ASK” them??? Should their race entry be paid as well? Is that supposed to be the new-aged feminism or something? Where you don’t actually SAY you’re coddling people, even though you ARE? I’ve raced around the world. NEVER, have I been asked to SHIT. If I wanted to go racing, I had to find it, I had to pay for it, and I had to go there and do it. And, once I got there it was sometimes 5 other people, and sometimes 500. Give me a break.
        And then, this other crap, about gender-specific gear. There is PLENTY of small, specialized product out there these days (assuming that’s what they are talking about); that is NON-gender specific, and works PERFECTLY, for man OR woman depending on the need. I mean, yeah, did people like Sara Ballantyne have an issue finding a 20″ handlebar. size 36 shoes, and brake levers she could reach? Yeah, probably. But that was THIRTY friggin’ years ago, and rather than bitch, people like her got on with the business of CHANGING things, so that they are better today. You can find just about anything you want, in cycling product today, even different colors of it.
        Articles or conversations like this also often seem to insinuate or imply that “we” men have locked up all these billions of female racing cyclists out there, in their closets, and won’t let them out to do anything; like we all just kicked them out of the fort, or we all talked on the phone about it the night before. Plain ass bullshit.
        There are SO many events, where prize money between gender is equal now (such as Todd Sadow’s events), even though in many cases the workload (distance/speed) is not the same, and yet, you STILL have dwindling numbers of women showing up on the start line, even when they have their own start time, even when they are not grouped together, and even when they tell you that a bunch of them are coming. At what point here, do WOMEN take accountability, and the responsibility for making the sport better for themselves? If you don’t want to HELP make the bread, don’t expect to EAT it. You know?
        Do articles like this presume that the serious women, riding or racing at top levels, are thinking about this? No. They are out, riding their bikes just like the men, faster than you and I, and don’t think for a moment about other women, the same way Lance Armstrong never, once, thought about me. Why should they? No, they ride their bikes, and they work hard, and MAYBE they make enough to survive, just like that guy in 100th place does. And, they leave the bitching to articles and people like this, because then, they know they will never have to worry about them in competition.
        Articles and people that have these opinions should take a jump in the lake. Quit making excuses, pretending you speak for others, and get out and race, if that suits you. Or don’t. Even simpler. Ride your bike. Fall down. Get up. Learn to laugh or cry it off, like the rest of us. If you like it enough, and you want to test yourself, go racing. If you don’t like it, go find something that is more agreeable to you. Plain. Simple. But jeez, quit pointing fingers at ghosts who don’t exist, and try practicing being an ADULT. Author, I don’t care HOW many times you’ve been around the planet. So have Ford trucks.
        In mass start racing I LOVE getting passed, or riding sections with women, because they are usually pretty cool and have a perspective of it, different from mine. It also means they worked as hard or harder than me, I don’t see them for anything other than another rider out there enjoying the same thing I do. I think THAT is equality. Wouldn’t you say?
        And, if you, as a woman, feel like there need to be MORE women in racing, go FIND THEM. and bring them, because they CERTAINLY don’t listen to the invitations or compliments of men. The original, HARD women of this sport. The women that REALLY opened the door, for other women to have an opportunity. The Juli Furtados, and the Sara Ballantynes, and the Susan DeMattais’, and the Ruthie Matthis’? Yeah, I think they would LAUGH at this, and maybe THAT is what’s really keeping women off the s

  13. One only has to read the comments of the men on this article to truly see the problems that women face. Their arguments ironically prove the article’s point.

  14. I have raced and finished the Leadville 100 three times and do not feel that the lack of women entered into the race has been a barrier. Give me a bike and a starting line and I am thrilled! What I do find as a barrier is the 12 hour official finish time for all competitors, men or women. While I finished each race well under 13 hours, crossed the red carpet, and was given a medal for completion I could not earn the belt buckle, and after crossing the finish line in 2014 and winning my age group it was made very clear to me that I would receive no reward for that.
    This year the winning male racer finished in 6:18, while the winning female finished in 7:40. So the male that makes it to the finish line in 12 hours or less has 5.6 hours to do so after the male winner. By comparison, the women have only 4.3 hours to finish after their winner has done so. Women have to be comparatively better racers than men in order to make that 12 hour cut. I was able to climb faster than many of the men that ultimately finished in front of me, but they were able to bomb down the descents at a faster clip, making up a lot of time. I was able to see this in the women around me as well, who were good climbers and bike handlers.
    The Leadville 100 is a terrific race and a great challenge, but there are unequal expectations placed on women due to the final time cut. While I realize that the time cuts are there for a number of excellent reasons, cutting women off at the same time as the men, again, is asking every woman who races to be better than the men who finish at 12 hours. Of course I am not talking about extending that final cutoff to 14 or 15 hours, but if a woman has made it through all the other cutoffs a 13 hour belt buckle time would be more inviting.

  15. I just looked at the overall MTB Marathon Series results from Texas, for this year. Looking at all the separate age groups, there were about 10% woman and 90% men in the respective fields, which is about the same as Leadville. It makes no sense to me that a woman that finished third overall, would not be a automatic entry in the next year, so there is definitely some places that Leadville could improve.
    Based on numbers from other events (that have no lottery system) it appears there are certain types of events that interest men more than woman. That is not a Leadville problem.

  16. I don’t get it. Why on earth would I need to see other women there before I would want to do an event? Why would I need to see someone who looks like me there in order to see myself doing the event? Sorry but that’s just dead wrong. I don’t care if there are other women doing an event. If it’s something I want to do, I will do what it takes to get there. Tired of the catering to us as though we are somehow weak and unmotivated internally and need other women before we can be drawn to something.

  17. I am a huge fan of CTS and have learned all I know about training for these kinds of events from an amazing female trainer from CTS. I have two twenty something daughters that battle gender inequality in various places in their life but cycling events is not one of them. This article misses the mark. No reason to pick on Leadville specifically as their only difference is the qualifying and lottery components. I have ridden the High Cascade 100 in Bend Oregon 4x and their women to men ratio is no different than Leadville’s . For the High Cascade all you have to do sign up and pay the entry fee. I have to strongly disagree with framing of the article. Gender is not an issue at Leadville. I have ridden Leadville 5 x , I got in 2x through qualifiers , 2x through CTS coaching programs and once through a charity slot. Make and female riders can get in this race if they want it bad enough.

  18. I found it interesting that I was 3rd overall in the women’s field last year (2017) at Leadville and entered the lottery as they have everyone do. I was not offered a spot. I was declined. So I didn’t do the race. I felt like like I wasn’t wanted.

  19. It could be that, generally speaking, that the events you speak of don’t appeal to women. What events or activities appeal to more women than men? Anyone? Without sounding stereotypical which could be difficult. . The division could happen well before anyone of us begins to ride a bike perhaps even before we are born when parents are picking out paint colors for the nursery after coming back from the ultrasound that identifyied the sex of their baby to be. One way to attack the diffencies of gender equality within these events head on would be to design an effective media campaign that shows up in bike shop posters, social media feeds ect

    Boys love to play in dirt and are allowed to, good girls on the other hand don’t but who wants to be a good girl anyway? Slam cut to race footage of woman rider tearing it up. Leadville 2019.

  20. It is not inequality to pay women’s winner less than the winner in a men’s, event if the majority of entry and sponsor revenue is generated by men’s participation. In many cases women are paid a larger proportion of prize money than their numerical or revenue representation would justify. Monetary considerations are only part of the issue. Consider the level and number of competition each gender faces. In cases like you cited the men’s winner had to best about 1,000 competitors. On the other hand, the women’s winner is only competing in a field of about 100. With such a disparity in competition it doesn’t seem like an equal reward would be fair or justified.
    However, I do agree that it can be a very good thing to have a more diverse population of participants. Different genders, races, religions, etc. yield different personalities and perspectives that can make much of life more interesting. And, yes, marketing strategies are the best fix. Extend the hand of invitation friendly and frequently and it will be filled.

  21. This article is filled with wrong interpretations. “absence of women tells aspiring racers, this is not a place for you”, “if you ask us to come, we’ll show up”, and “set aside entries”. Rediculous analogies. The reality is desire to participate. Women as a whole are not as attracted to super long endurance events in the dirt. It doesn’t appeal to them.
    And if you make concessions for women, you degrade the win for the women who love and train hard for the challenge of these events.

  22. It’s Kathrine Switzer. Please don’t argue that women’s representation matters, and then not even get their names’ right.

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      Author
    2. Let’s get the facts straight on the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. It was Roberta Gibb in 1966. She started and finished without an official number but she was the first woman credited with completing the race
      . Check out the history of the Boston Marathon and you will see her name.

      I’m a former distance runner (’84 and ’88 Olympic Marathon Trials and top finisher in the Boston Marathon in the 80’s). I took up cycling in my 40s and started competing in my 50’s in road race and hill climbs with ag wins and course records in Mt. Washington and others.

      I, luckily, do what I want in terms of training and racing. However, I would love to see more women in cycling events. I find cycling to be more macho than the running environment. There was much more support for women when I was running in the 80s from race directors, coaches, running partners, etc. than there is in cycling today. I cycle with strong guys, many younger, and to be honest some of them still have a hard time if I’m riding better than them (the fragile male ego thing still exists). It’s unfortunate but that is an athletic woman’s reality.

      I would love to open the Sport page and read about some awesome women athletes in any sport. But, instead all I see are stories about the men’s football, basketball, baseball, hockey, etc.

      At the end of the day our society needs to change and embrace all equally for the talent and gifts they bring to our world.

  23. This trickles down to my local area – I don’t even have another woman to train with! Often I’m the token woman at an event. While I could say it’s fun to win, I’d like – no, WELCOME – the competition!

    I believe more people are aware of the problem, now it’s time to take action and fix it.

  24. The other thing they do at Leadville is force a racer to have riden another Leadville qualifying event in order to start in the front coral of the Leadville 100. So even if you do get in the lottery, you aren’t really starting with the same chance to win. Pro women racers start several hundred riders behind the coral containing last year’s winner.

    If you are going to have a women’s race. Let the women line up together and race each other.

  25. If Rebecca’s Private Idaho has been pushing for female representation and is even hosted by a woman. And the results are only 30% female participation, which is still far less than male. It seems more like males are just attracted to these types of events more than women are. And I’m not sure why that’s considered bad. If more women wanted to participate they simply would.

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      Author

      No one is saying there have to be equal field sizes, but it is in the best interest of the sport to encourage greater participation from a more diverse population. Thirty percent is better than nine. – Jim Rutberg, CTS

  26. Designating entries specifically for women at Leadville is so easy for them to do, hat I think it shows they aren’t at all concerned with adding women. Their lottery and qualifying system is totally arbitrary and with no transparency. For example, at a recent qualifying event a racer who finished in the top 5 overall and won his age group didn’t receive a “token” while in other age groups the tokens went down to 15th in age group and 90th overall. This shows me they are less concerned with the quality one diversity of the field, and more on selling entries to all those people who get tokens. If they wanted more women to participate they would simply allocate more tokens to women. Which I don’t think they care to do.

  27. Interesting article. I am coached by a fabulous woman in your organization, Kaitie Keough. I am wondering—what is the ratio of men to women being coached at CTS? Thank you.

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      Casey,
      Our athlete base is about 75/25 male/female, and our coaching staff at the moment has a similar ratio. We would like to see less disparity in both those ratios, and we actively look for ways to make coaching and endurance sports more appealing for all athletes and coaches. – Jim Rutberg, CTS

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