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A Survey of Women in Enduro

Sep 5, 2017
by Cat Topham  
Some interesting results and insights to a survey that was done in the UK recently. This is by no means a scientific study, but it does draw some good thought provoking information from the women's camp. – Ed

It is a fact that there are a lot fewer women who ride mountain bikes than men, it is also a fact however that a number of women who are riding is on the increase. Women’s specific mountain bike brands like the Santa Cruz affiliated Juliana and Giant affiliated Liv are growing and some of our countries most decorated and recognised mountain bike superstars are women, Rachael Atherton and Tracy Moseley being the two that spring to my mind. Yet at the majority of competitive races, the turnout in the women’s category is still relatively poor. Why? Hopefully, this article can help a bit towards answering that.

This survey came about thanks to a thread started on Facebook by UKGE organiser, Steve Parr, who was looking for a steer as to how best to approach dividing the age categories for women when UKGE returns next year. Plenty of girls commented with suggestions and several other race organisers were obviously keen to get similar help. I offered to do a small survey to help out because it’s a subject that I have taken a strong interest in after a blog post or two about it. I won’t bore you with the story of why it’s close to my heart now but there's a small ‘about me’ bit at the bottom of the article if you want to get a feel for who I am and whether you should take any notice of my opinion or not.

Women in Enduro MTB - A Survey
Kat Compton at the PMBA round at Grizedale 2015 – I was greeted by my little girl at the finish. It's hard work trying to race with young children, so doesn't happen often but I love it when I can race.
Women in Enduro MTB - A Survey
Katherine Goodey getting muddy at her first Enduro

My original intention was to share the survey around the women’s MTB Facebook groups I’m part of and see what sort of a response it got. Although thanks to Kev Duckworth (Mr. PMBA) it has been passed about members of the British Enduro Mountain Bike Association (BEMBA), in particular, rider rep Tracey Mosely, whose share on her Facebook page I suspect was the main reason for the 600+ responses I have to share with you. So thank you very much to them.

I was a little unsure how to write up the results; I could just give everyone access to the data, however, believe me, it takes a while to look at all the responses, I also didn’t want to colour it with it my own opinions too much. So what I’ve done is present the facts from the survey alongside some of the most common comments on a question by question basis. At points, I have added in some of my own thoughts, but it’s clear where I’ve done this and in places, I’ve done a bit of extra thinking beyond the survey prompted by the comments. I hope this suits everyone!

Also, a point to note, on some questions, I allowed multiple answers because there is often more than one clear reason for something, so the percentages might not always add up, they just reflect a number of people who had that reason as one of several.

Question 1: Have you ever taken part in any racing?

 • XC – 40.06%
 • Enduro – 49.68%
 • Downhill – 27.76%
 • Cross – 11.83%
 • Road – 17.19%
 • None – 23.97%

Question 2: Would you ever consider taking part in Enduro racing?

 • Yes I have done and will continue to do so – 40.41%
 • I don't know what Enduro is – 3.96%
 • No, I'm just not into racing, never will be – 4.75%
 • I'd like to but… see next question – 53.25%

An almost even split between people who have and people who would like to. Only a very small proportion, under 5%, stated they just weren’t interested in racing.

This did surprise me a little as I expected that figure to be a bit higher, maybe even me, a woman, has fallen for the misconception that women are less interested in racing in general? Getting a bit deeper on an analysis front, I guess it's probable that those answering this survey were likely to be interested in racing given the channels the survey went out via, racers and race organisers social media feeds. However, I shared the survey into some of the non-race specific MTB groups and the first hundred or so answers came from there, and although the numbers answering increased the actual percentages for each answer held steady from about 100 up. Either way, from the point of view of enduro racing, it's clear there are plenty of women out there who would be willing to give it a go.

Question 3: I’d like to take part in Enduro racing but…

 • I don't have a good enough bike – 10.33%
 • I think the tracks are too difficult – 43.21%
 • I'm not fit enough – 49.73%
 • I find racing with men intimidating/difficult – 35.60%
 • I don't want to race on my own – 20.38%

Women in Enduro MTB - A Survey
Julie Mulvanny at Lee Quarry PMBA Enduro with praise for the format and number of female entry. Also much friendlier than races she's attended in Scotland.

The comments for this question were wide-ranging, with reasons that affect us all, women and men alike, time, money, and travel for example. Now, these things are all rubbish but I’m afraid there is nothing we can reasonably expect race organisers to help us with here! This is a comment that came up multiple times in different words:

bigquotesEnduro is intimidating because of feeling that someone faster will be behind me and I don't want to slow them up. When I can go last or have a big gap between riders it's not so worrying.

There was also more than one comment that, although they had tried Enduro, they had been put off by being caught by male riders which had spoilt race runs and enjoyment of the event.

I’m not going to go deep into the getting caught issue because it’s covered by a later question but it’s certainly one of the things that have spoilt my enjoyment and hindered my race times at Enduros before. The only other thing that the results of this question have brought to my mind is that perhaps slightly better information about the races available before you enter might just help people (not just women) make an informed judgment about things like fitness and technical ability. By no means do we want races to be made easier or expect organisers to reveal the course beforehand but just a heads up about the likely length of the loop, probable climbing stats and a ‘max’ technical feature grading would give us women, who, let's face it are generally less willing to throw ourselves blindly at things, the confidence to enter knowing we can actually complete the course.

Question 4: Where it's not possible to run the same age categories as the men's race, how do you feel they should be split.

 • A direct reflection of the men's is the only option – 14.46%
 • Elite, Senior (18–39), Vets (40+) – 17.90%
 • Elite, U21, Senior (18–39), Vets (40+) – 25.99%
 • Senior (18–39), Vets (40+) – 3.27%
 • Elite, Senior (18–35), Masters/Vets (35+) – 10.50%
 • Elite, U21, Senior (22–35), Masters/Vets (35+) – 24.78%
 • Senior (18–35), Masters/Vets (35+) – 3.10%

The large bulk of the comments reflected the call for age separation with multiple comments from the over 35’s in particular that they felt it unfair to be racing against people more than 10 years their junior. More than one comment also calling for an over 50’s category as well, there are grand vet ladies are out there that's for sure!

bigquotesI'm 50 and racing enduro against 20-year-olds is tough, especially as men have 50+ categories.

bigquotesThere should be super vets for us oldies 50+

It was also clear that where numbers allow, an Elite category would be welcomed. I personally feel that any series which run male elite categories, granted not all do, really should also give the women the same level of exposure. By not running one it sends the message that the top percentage of women are not as skilled or as deserving as the men. Rest assured that the women racing in the top percentages of Enduro in the UK are training just as hard, are just as skilled and just as deserving of being called elite as the men.

Question 5: There are a few options in the event of low entries, which do you prefer?

 • A split down the middle in terms of age – 1.80%
 • The less subscribed categories get moved into the next down. i.e. low Vet entry would be moved into Masters – 6.89%
 • Race organisers run as many podiums as possible but provide results to view for each age group regardless – 21.31%
 • Podiums are reduced to just the winner if low numbers in category – 5.74%
 • If categories are advertised and entered they must be run, it's not fair to move people – 22.46%
 • Race organisers should be trusted to do the best they can with the entries they have, we will just go with it – 41.80%

It seems when it comes to what to do if numbers are low, we women are for the most part happy to trust the race organisers to do the best they can with 42% of those voting opting for that option. That said there was also a significant group of 22% of the respondents feeling that if categories are advertised they should be run. This is going to be a difficult one for race organisers to work with as they are clearly not going to be able to please everyone.

Within the comments were further calls for an elite category to be present. Most also felt that so long as the low entry numbers policy was up front then that would be fine. I tend to agree with this as an approach, I see no reason why all the age categories can’t be offered on entry. That way no one is put off when they come to enter and don’t see an appropriate age group. If numbers then don’t allow them all to be run so long as the policy for what will happen in this instance is clear from the outset I don’t think many women would have any issues with this. Whatever physical podiums are run it would still be great to see the final published results split by age, so when you get home and look over your performance you can have a fair idea where you sit.

If race organisers are struggling to get sponsorship to provide prizes for more podiums, multiple comments suggest that us ladies are not that fussed about receiving an actual prize, I wonder how long it would take sponsors to start sending prizes out though if podiums were regularly being run with deserving winners stood on them?

Women in Enduro MTB - A Survey

Claire Glasgow-Aitchison at her first Enduro the Tweedlove Enjoyro which brought in a big women's field. Despite nerves, she had a great time and is entered for the Maidenduro coming up soon!

Question 6: How many people should there be as a minimum for each category?

 • Each age category should run regardless – 34.80%
 • At least three – 45.42%
 • More than six – 17.16%
 • More than ten – 2.61%

Question 7: If you already race Enduro which format do you prefer?

 • Seeded start times at each stage – 13.85%
 • No specific start times, ride around with whoever – 43.43%
 • Happy with either format – 42.72%

I think most people who race are happy to do so in either format or so the results here show but given the option it seems most would prefer to ride around with their mates. The fact is, with such small numbers of women racing even when seeded you sort of are riding with your mates anyway. I made some good friends at seeded races, perhaps that's why I like that format more?

Question 8: Would any of the following either improve or encourage you into racing?

 • Larger gaps left behind women after they have started to avoid them being caught by male riders – 52.30%
 • A section of start times set aside just for women – 33.05%
 • It's perfect just the way it is – 5.11%
 • I would like to have the option to ride with my male friends but think women's only start section is a good idea for those that want them – 51.96%

I slightly regret the way I worded the final option here, so, sorry! It probably should just say I want the option to ride around with my male friends but hopefully, that intention was conveyed and the results show that. Larger gaps were the most popular option for a way to help solve the getting caught issue. There was a wide range of comments again.

bigquotesI think the format for women should be kept as closely matched to the men's. I also think to be able to do the race with your males mates is important, but also so that it feels like we are the same, not sure special requirements help in the long run.

bigquotesWhat made for better runs was when we were followed by a friend's husband who held up the guys as long as possible but it doesn't always work, so separate times would be good.

Women in Enduro MTB - A Survey

Julie, Liz, and Caroline getting fully into the spirit of Enduro at the Muckmedden Fair City Enduro. It's just about riding around with your mates and having a laugh!

It's a fact of physiology that whatever sport you take part in, the women will be slower than the men. It doesn’t mean they are less skilled by any means but the gap exists right from novice to elite level. At the Ireland EWS, the winning women’s time was around four minutes slower than the winning men's. So should the gaps between the male and female riders be different at the ‘ride with your mates’ style of race that is most common in the UK? There are definitely arguments either way, as the first comment I shared here states, do we want women to be seen to have special requirements? I personally don’t think we should view changes like these as ‘special requirements for women’—do you watch the London Marathon and see the separate male and females races and think, look at those women getting a special start time all to themselves? I hope not.

The same applies to our sport of Enduro in my eyes. If you’ve come to race and put down the fastest times you can on the trails then you should have a fair chance of doing so. This goes for the guys too. We are, after all, holding up their race runs. I know the guys also face this problem, they catch and get caught but just not as frequently, it's part of Enduro racing to a certain extent but it does seem to be that bit worse due to the almost inevitable difference in speed with female riders.

I started my Enduro racing journey in the UKGE series which was seeded and hadn’t raced a mixed start event until a Tweedlove race. I actually thought, "how ace is this" to start with! I don’t have to get up super early and I can ride with my husband—brilliant. That was until I spent at least half of every stage pulling over for fast male riders as we had gone for a nice relaxed late morning start time. On one stage I was actually pushed off the final dibber by a guy who had caught me by the bottom of the run and had to spend ages at the end of the race trying to figure out a time for that stage. I dropped well down the rankings by my usual standards and was pretty frustrated by the end of the day. I’m not the fastest girl on the track by any means but neither am I that slow or lacking in confidence around men, but since then I have always gone for the earliest possible start times to get out in front of the main pack at these style of races.

I personally would love to see a section of start times set aside just for the women, I think it brings a more supportive, less macho and more enjoyable race experience all around, although it wasn’t the most popular choice here so I will have to accept it’s not what the majority want.

bigquotesWinning women's prizes. I've won a men's saddle this year! Duh! My friend won a bottle of Muc-Off when her male counterpart in the Master's category won a set of tires, so the prizes seem to not be distributed fairly and are biased towards the men.

I firmly agree with the last one here, if it's not an (equal) bike related prize then try and at least make it something us girls can wear. My husbands' t-shirt collection has benefited several times from my racing efforts. It’s like the final kick in the teeth, well done for making the podium in your uneven race categories, here, have a prize for a bloke!

Question 9: Does the current lack of age categories put you off racing Enduro?

 • Yes, I would race if they were the same as the men's – 19.22%
 • No, I race regardless – 65.08%
 • No, I wouldn't race anyway – 15.70%

Question 10: Women’s specific Enduro is much better attended than normal mixed races, why do you think this is?

 • Atmosphere is better – 33.33%
 • Less pressure in women only environment – 66.32%
 • The courses are easier – 14.41%
 • Supportive environment – 58.16%
 • Women aren't worried about holding up men/getting in the way/being judged etc. – 75.87%

There were a lot of comments and opinions surrounding this question. I’ve tried to pick out some examples that were repeated a few times.

bigquotesI believe there is a false sense of security regarding female racing and that those attending don't see themselves as good enough to race at other times, which is of course silly. I think that women's events can be counter-productive when encouraging women into sports as it instills the fear that they cannot compete at events which include men. Removing elites from women's race categories would help entice more women into enduro as at the moment newbies and elites are pitted against each other which is intimidating and very disheartening for some. This would never happen with the guys.

More than one person felt that women’s only events can have a negative impact, making women feel they need to attend these as they are not good enough for the mixed races. I can see why you would feel this and for some, I have no doubt this is true, but I think they provide a great stepping stone to convince women who may be nervous about racing to give it a go for the reasons laid out in the question. A more supportive and less intimidating environment.

bigquotesThe mixed Enduro races I've attended have been really friendly and the atmosphere is very welcoming! I think women feel there will be more of a macho environment than there really is, so getting this across somehow would encourage more to enter. Sometimes when guys are in race/practice run mode, they can get grumpy if you slow them down, but it's definitely in the minority. I've only started racing this year, and I had jack-all confidence, but I love it now.

I agree with this, some men do get grumpy or aggressive if they catch you but the majority are great about it. It doesn’t change the fact you have to get out of the way but they certainly don’t mind you being there. I’ve even had guys catch me and yell at me to keep going, so fair play to them! I do also agree we women often make things harder for ourselves sometimes by imagining things will be more intimidating than they actually are.

bigquotesI think more effort should be made to cover more of the women's race in the media, however, when it is, it's always the high-profile girls that get all the coverage, to encourage more females you need to show all levels of females competing so those that aren't so confident still feel they can race.

This also came up quite a bit. Media coverage of the women’s races is less so than the men's, I guess this stems partly from the fact that there are fewer women to film in the first place but still. However, I have been impressed with the coverage of women in the films from the Scottish Enduro Series this year in particular, with loads of chat with the women racers. On a grander scale, the coverage from the EWS has also been totally 50/50 and it's very refreshing to see!

bigquotesAdvertising, I think women only events get way more advertising. Whereas mixed events you generally have to look for them in event calendars. Women only events are always plastered over Facebook etc.

This is certainly the case with the Foxhunt, it’s backed by Redbull and they know how to market things to their chosen audience. I actually got a ticket this year, more by chance as I happened to be on social media when the tickets were released so I went for one and got in. I then also discovered what good value for money it is, it must be heavily subsidised by Redbull because a full weekends racing, camping, and grub for £65 is likely to draw a crowd, whoever it's for. I look forward to seeing if it lives up to the hype.

This also came up…

A comment that was repeated lots of times over several of the questions were requests for more entry-level races and novice categories at current races. Something a bit like the recent Tweedlove Enjoyro, which brought in a big women’s field. This survey at least would seem to show there’s a market out there for this type of race. I know race organisers have a busy time as it is so asking them to broaden the net even more is a tough ask and I think we need to be very careful adding in novice categories to current races, controlling who actually is a novice would be tricky and I don’t think race courses should be made easier. It's a tough one and I don’t have the answers but it was mentioned enough times in comments so I wanted to report it.

In Summary

I really think some minor changes to the way Enduro currently runs could make a big difference to women's entries. I think the key though is to make sure that women know about those changes, hopefully, some channels between the women's MTB community, which is growing and thriving in the UK and the world of racing, are now opening up and we can get the message out. Women that already race, please tell your friends, encourage them and let them know what a fantastic social event Enduro can be, I see no reason why the same atmosphere that draws people into events like the Foxhunt can't be replicated across all racing if we get together and create it.

So I'd like to thank BEMBA and the race organisers for asking the question in the first place and for reading and reacting to this survey. Thank you to everyone from all over the world who took time to answer the survey and provide so much valuable thought and comment.

My last word is an appeal to all those who really want to race but haven't yet taken the plunge. Women of MTB, if we are going to get any changes to stick and level the playing field for ourselves we have to get out there and do it. Please, please, if you can, get a race entry in, you might just enjoy it!

About me

Cat Topham: riding bikes for 10 years-ish and racing Enduro since 2013 after I got an unexpected entry into the Trans Provence and thought I better do some before I went! I've been hooked since. I've raced most race formats and have ridden and raced in the UK and Europe including Trans-Provence and Megavalance. I'm not by any means the most experienced racer out there but I feel I have enough under my belt to understand how it all works.

I had a break from racing to have a family and coming back from that, gaining fitness and confidence have been a bit of a journey for me. A background as an intelligence analyst and being bugged by the lack of fairness in Enduro for women gave me the nudge to do this survey and I genuinely hope it helps, not least because I'm staring down my late 30's really hoping for a masters category to pop up soon!

Author Info:
chwest avatar

Member since Mar 6, 2012
3 articles

  • 14 0
 Seeded start times are a nice idea, if perhaps an added organizational burden. In our local series the amateur women go dead last, which takes some pressure off--however, we also go right after the under-14 boys, some of whom are insanely fast and some of whom were on strider bikes yesterday. So, you may have the unenviable choice of either having to forfeit a competitive time to avoid a kid, or forever be known as The Hag Who Ran Over a Baby. Frown
  • 2 0
 A better alternative would be a seeded start time irrespective of class/category. Because traditionally faster riders are given earlier start times in this racing format, the last (which would be the slowest) rider on any category have a big chance of getting caught by the fastest rider from the category that starts after.

Adding longer time gap between categories would be a nightmare for the organizer if there are more than 6 categories and more than 300 competitors.
  • 3 0
 @rifu: that´s exactly how it´s done in the German EnduroOne series, whoever is fastest starts first, regardless of age, gender or class and that works out great. I, as a reasonably fast racer, have never catched people (mechanicals aside)
  • 12 0
 Do us men really "judge" the women who partake in these events, or is that self induced feeling? My wife races all the time with me and I love to see and really encourage women to participate and be apart of the club. I think most men share this sentiment.
  • 5 1
 Do "men" judge the women who partake? No, they do not. "Manchildren" however.... well they do. Unfortunately it only takes a couple bad apples to cause an issue. For example, the PB comment section any time there is an articlce about a womens camp, woman-specific contest/race or generally any other lady-centric push to try to get more diversity in our sport. Personally, I fully support any social method used to make people who would otherwise be gunshy to get involved in the sport. While I can't speak for how women feel within mountainbiking, I have friends that have admitted to feeling intimidated about getting involved without some form of support structure. One that may better understand their feelings, challenges and outlook.
  • 2 9
flag chasejj (Sep 6, 2017 at 8:49) (Below Threshold)
 @Kenfire24: Part of racing is the unrestrained testosterone fest that occurs. What goes with that is comments that in a normal environment would be inappropriate and excessive/thoughtless.
Therein lies the challenge to balance that with a the women's preferred environment of comradery and support. Different events really.
  • 7 1
 @chasejj: I'm sorry but that's ridiculous. That isn't "part of racing" that sounds more like a group of goons trying to justify acting like children.
  • 8 0
 @Kenfire24: 100 props! Wink

To add my .02 - You can be seriously competitive AND enjoy an environment of comradery and support. Watch the pro World Cup circuit guys. You don't just see a bunch of bros with unrestrained testosterone. They congratulate and compliment each other, while wanting to beat that guy out. It's ridiculous to say that men just want to be testosterone-fueled maniacs and women want an entirely different event with hugs and participation ribbons. That's not fair to men or women.

And there's certainly no "boys will be boys" excuse for some of the garbage that comes out in these comment sections.
  • 3 0
 Wow! Thanks Cat for all the insight and time you (and others) put into this survey. I wish more ladies knew how dang fun enduros are. Plus, you can always just "ride in the race" if racing is too intimidating. Thanks again for the post!
  • 2 0
 Good one. I "ride in the race" in practically every race I've entered. I ride with aim to improve, but race wise psychologically, it removes that stress and important turning point between going and not going or trying new things
  • 3 0
 Interesting. This shows me that other people have the same fears etc as me when participating in enduro races. I caught up a female racer that was starting before me once, and got caught up by a female racer once too. Happens. At 57 there is never a category I fit into, but I always compare the results.
  • 3 0
 I've been part of organizing a the Åre Enduro EWS Qualifier in Sweden for a couple of years now. The female categories usually run right before the elite men, but with such a big time gap (depending on the stage of course) that it's nearly impossible for any of the guys to catch up with the ladies. We also have a rule that it's strictly forbidden for a male rider to overtake a woman on course should that happen, which usually make the worst kind of testosterone monkeys wait another minute or so before they drop in on a stage. We also have the same prize money for the top-3 elite men and women. Plus, we've had female riders on the event poster. And we still have extremely few women signing up for the race, despite all this. We'd absolutely love to have more ladies entering the race, but we feel the problem (if we label this as a problem in the first place) is way bigger and deeper than just creating a fair, equal and supportive atmosphere. We try hard, believe me.
  • 2 0
 I agree. There's nothing bro-y, intimidating or un-inclusive about my local race series, either. I think there's just a lot of social inertia--there are not as many women riders as men anyway, and of those, more are beginners with little interest in racing. Plus, amateur racing is sort of a social thing--travelling and spending a bunch of money to go racing by yourself is can be a bit depressing--and I'm betting there are a LOT fewer women with a group of race-ready mountain bike friends than there are guys.
  • 2 0
 @ryetoast: It seems like slow guys are more prone to sign up for an enduro race than fast girls. Not that those guys think they're actually fast, they're ok with being slow. It's a bike culture thing more than anything else.
  • 3 0
 I'm part of running an Enduro series in Idaho and like most series we struggle to get women to sign-up to race. But I believe we have one of the higher success rates of female racers at roughly 30%. We have tried many different things to encourage women to race. One year we ran all the men through the course and then the women, so women didn't have to worry about getting caught. But the women didn't like this as they didn't feel part of the race. Now we run stages by category and ensure all females or males complete the stage before the next CAT starts. With a little math the timing of these events can be streamlined so that people don't have to worry about being caught but the race won't form bottlenecks either. Additionally, we run two courses at each of our races. One for beginners and one for sport, expert, pro. This allows those that fear their technical ability is not up to par to be a part of the race. The beginner CAT is for both men and women and is a very successful category, that generates the stoke for growing a race series. Many riders find that when they start at the beginner level it helps settle the nerves but they also realize that they are ready to take the jump to the next CATs after a few races. They have some of the same stages as the other riders so they can see/compare their times. Finally, we work with a lot of local clubs doing outreaches specifically to women's group to encourage them to race. We have special events where women can show up, practice, ask questions, and get a good vibe about racing before they ever show up.
  • 2 0
 Can the events not be set up with some kind of system whereby faster riders elect to ride first, and that way less confident riders can follow on. Riders can estimate their ability with a grading of professional to novice when purchasing an entry? Anyone who catches the rider in front it's then just a bit of bad luck with starting position but also that riders fault for not electing to start higher up the pecking order, and a good guide for the next event. That would remove most (if not all) of the stress from those who are just having a go or doing it for fun - those riders around you should be similarly less interested in the final result. Plus you can ride with your mates, male or female, and keep the social element.
  • 3 0
 Great analysis and presentation of the data Cat! Had a right shock seeing my muddy, grinning face looking back at me!!!!! ????????
  • 1 0
 As far as entry level enduros go, Muckmedden do a series of races called Funduros. I just done the Forfar Funduro at the weekend and it was brilliant! The next is in Perth at the end of October but unfortunately I'll be away at a stag that weekend Frown
The fact that I feel I'm missing out by being in Benidorm should show how much fun I had! Razz


A quick look at the results for Forfar shows about 36 women out of 313 riders, not sure how that compares to other races but certainly seemed like a good turnout on the day.

The comments about having a bigger time gap for women riders should be expanded in my opinion, I'm still new to racing and feel much of the same pressure etc that gets brought up when talking about getting women into it. Again the Funduro was good because you left in waves of 10 and didn't really have set times between riders at stages. All you had to do was ask the marshal to give you a bigger gap and they would.
  • 1 0
 I’ve been racing enduro and XC for 4+ years (as a girl) and never have I felt threatened by the men I was racing against. I’ve raced in the same category as men many times, and if anything, I feel as though it has pushed me to become a better rider. Being part of the up and coming generation of adventure sport athletes, I thought we had left behind a world where women needed special courses, timing, and treatment. Ladies, get out there and shred with the boys!
  • 1 0
 Great and very balanced article Cat. Well done on taking the time to set up the questions and analyse the results. There are certainly plenty of women who want to race but the key is we're racing against other women (as that is what is in our category!). Hopefully more Enduro race organisers will take note of the feedback and make some small amendments that encourage more women along. Certainly the likes of Muckmedden are moving things in the right direction.
For all the men that ask what the issue is, would you be fine to race against the elites at the exact same time as your stage and constantly have a shout of 'rider!' When you're on a tight and steep trail?!?
Thanks again to Cat and everyone who's contributed to getting things moving here.
  • 4 4
 Look- I love it when my wife wants to ride. She is fitter than me by a large amount and I keep her outfitted with top of the line equipment but shehas ZERO interest in racing. Period. Don't know any who do. Not wired that way and that is a pretty sweeping statement aimed at the overwhelming majority of women. If a woman wants to race...fantastic. It's cool. But lets face it they are wired differently and if you read between the lines of these surveys. The women want to PARTCIPATE in a friendly non competitive and supportive atmosphere. Men want to RACE. Different things entirely. If an Enduro organizer can accommodate both mindsets then they will win. I fully expect to be flamed and neg propped so have at it.
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 Ummm. I do. Annnnnd I know lots of others who do. Soooo, sweeping generalizations based on your social circle are moot.
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 @CaroCo: I am positive you are wrong as the participation numbers prove my point is valid unless you can make a cogent argument explaining it another way.
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 Did you miss the breakdown in the 2nd and 3rd questions? There are plenty of women and men who aren't interested in racing. Rad—ride your bike however makes you happy.

To suggest that men and women have "different wiring" suggests some pretty stone aged thinking. That suggests I'm not wired to "compete" period. I probably don't want that promotion as much as my male co-worker, because he's "wired to compete" and I'm "wired to participate". I should probably go find my boss and ask for another hug and gold star (then go home and make my BF a sandwich for his go-getter day at work).

This article and survey are addressing the apparently large group of women who are or might be interested in racing and/or racing more.

I've raced plenty of XC and CX races (not much enduro in my area). Dudes on a race course can be (aren't always) douchebags. I've been taken out several times over the years by men who have more power but less skill than me (or really poor judgement regarding space/distances). I've had men who are racing for 40th place get snotty with me when I won't immediately stop, get off the trail, and let them by when I'm sitting in a podium spot on course (I'll let you by when I have a safe place to do so. Chill). -- these are some of the things that women don't want to deal with in races. Your (men's) unchecked douchebaggery shouldn't be my issue because you aren't racing me. And, IMO, this is a major contributor to why womens-only events get better turn outs. Good or bad, right or wrong.
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 @britj: What you refer to as "Stone Age thinking" is in fact reality.
You can refuse to admit that most women are wired differently, but it doesn't change that fact. If you are honest with yourself you'd admit it.
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 These comments are all too long.

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