Endless Biking: Where Have All the Ladies Gone?

Oct 2, 2014
by Danielle Baker  
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Endless Biking is celebrating 10 years of building riders. As part of their celebration they are sponsoring ten articles that revolve around the fundamentals of their business; bikes, community and learning.



WHERE HAVE ALL THE LADIES GONE?



bigquotesI created the EB Chickas Race Team in order to share the experience and knowledge that I had gained through racing with other women. I also thought that by creating a team environment it would make the races feel less intimidating for girls who were new to it. - Kelli Sherbinin, Endless Biking

In 2007, Kelli Sherbinin created the EB Chickas Downhill Race Team and spent a season travelling to local races around BC with eight other women. This is twice the amount of ladies who raced in the BC Provincials Race in Golden this year. With a continual decline in attendance on the local downhill front for the ‘fairer sex’, it has left us all wondering, where have all the ladies gone?

EB Chickas
  The 2007 EB Chickas at Race the Ranch in Kamloops; the abilities in this crew ran gamut of experience and ability.

bigquotesI learned that putting yourself out of your comfort zone and coming out in one piece felt really fantastic. I always fought (and won) the urge to barf before a race and questioned why the hell I was even doing it, but once I finished I couldn't wait to try another one! It just felt awesome! - Colleen Keyland, EB Chicka

EB Chickas
  The EB Chickas making racing friendly post race in Kamloops.

bigquotesThe mountain biking community is a very fun group of people, and seeing the same faces at each of the races makes it feel even more like family. Racing has definitely helped me reach goals and pushed me to overcome limits I didn't think I could.

A quick look at overall attendance in BC Cups between 2010 and 2013 shows a slow and steady 20% decline in downhill racing; however, the 2014 registrations reported a small but promising 4% resurgence of participation in the sport. Looking at women’s attendance, specifically at the Dunbar Summer Series - some of the few DH races offering equal cash prizing for pro men and women - the participation in women’s categories has decreased 40% since 2011 without any sign of making a comeback.

bigquotesThere is no way I would be where I am, doing what I am doing, without DH racing. Racing gave me my skills, my friends, and perspective. It helped me to understand how the industry works. - Katie Holden, Athlete Ambassador for Liv

We have the vote and can legally ride bikes in Canada, so is it more important that women race downhill or that they have the choice not to? The answers below are from a downhill race focused survey of women who mountain bike:

‘Yes, because downhill biking is a blast!’

‘Yes! I am 13 and have no competition! I am alone on the podium! It is the same with the other age categories for women, there are just very few female riders. Gotta get some girls out.’

‘Women need to be part of the race scene because if more women are competing they will bring more young riders out in the form of their children and their children's friends as well as their husbands or boyfriends. Whether they are aware of it or not, women play a crucial role as both racers and support staff.’

'Yes. Right now the ladies who are competing are labelled as 'hardcore' or 'crazy'. I think that if more women from all walks of life start competing then it would hopefully be more inviting to others to at least give it a try.'

‘Of course! Women racers need to be visible in every aspect of riding!’


Kylie in her Provincial Camp jersey.
  Kyleigh, in her Provincial Champ jersey, was the only girl to race in her category at the Western Open this year.

bigquotesAs a parent, I can tell you that for the first couple of years it was really nerve-racking knowing that she was training on her own most of the time and was waiting at the top by herself for her race run. As she got to know some of the senior women, I felt better since I knew she had someone to chill with at the top. Ky is lucky in the sense that she has a great team to support her now, but she would still rather have some girls to ride with, and they are hard to come by. - Megan Stewart, Race Mom

We are not solving global warming or preventing teen pregnancy; we are just riding bikes. However, it would still seem that the lack of women competing in this style of mountain biking is something we feel passionately about. The next big question is, why aren’t women racing downhill? Travel costs (59%) followed by concerns that a serious injury would impact work related responsibilities (39%) and lack of time for vacation or work schedule conflicts (33%) topped the list of reasons why the women who completed the survey are not participating in our local races. Perhaps more at the heart of the issue however was this comment, ‘the lack of women racing is a perpetuating feedback loop.’ Less women racing means less support and competition for the women who are showing up, which eventually leads to even less women in attendance.

Unfortunately though, it would seem that none of us know what will stop this loop. When asked for suggestions on improving attendance, the answers were overwhelmingly: ‘not sure’, ‘no idea’, ‘that’s a hard one’, and ‘unsure.’ There were, however, no requests to ‘dumb down’ courses or for preferential treatment. There is a strong push for more division in age groups but this puts us back in the feedback loop; we need more women competing to justify more categories. The suggestion of “more swag and lower entry fees” is an oxymoron as races cost money to run and organizing them is much more of a passion than a way to make money. “Include enduro” was an interesting comment because we all know that enduro is the answer to everything! When in doubt, wear a fanny pack! A few strong suggestions addressed a want for clinics on the specific racecourses and marketing for the events that uses images of women.

Danice Uyesugi came in 2nd in the Elite Women s category.
  Danice Uyesugi racing in the Elite Women's category at the Silver Star BC Cup.

Danice on the podium.
  Danice on the podium, alone, at the Western Open.

bigquotesDownhill racing has changed my life in so many ways. I have always loved riding bikes but I had never pushed myself to really progress until I started racing. Of course as exhilarating as riding can be it can also make you completely and utterly frustrated and disappointed if things do not go to plan. But such is life, and experiencing those emotions and learning how to deal with them is similar to conquering fears and celebrating triumphs in all aspects of life. - Danice Uyesugi, Professional Racer

“There are women in this sport doing fabulous things, and they are capable of inspiring girls and women to participate and excel in sports. They need increased exposure in order to reach people, have their voices heard, and spread their athletic passion.”

This is exactly what Kelli’s original goal was with the EB Chickas five years ago; to use her experience to have a direct impact on women’s racing, to be a role model and to incorporate other phenomenal mountain bikers, who happen to be women, into the experience. Being on a team allows for coaching (which minimizes the risk of injury), a sense of belonging in unfamiliar circumstances, guidance through the process of finding and registering for races and an opportunity to share travel costs. The strength in numbers breaks the low numbers feedback loop by creating an accessible and attainable downhill race experience and, also, funds coaching jobs for female (and male) athletes, creating a more sustainable race circuit and creating a visible female presence in downhill racing that supports a more balanced industry and community.

bigquotes When it was all said and done I felt a huge sense of accomplishment having done a BC Cup race, loved the road trips and especially participating with a group of girls I know and respect

This ladies were the only four women to race the Western Open course and provincials Kyleigh Stewart Danice Uyesugi Darlene Paranaque Angie Lowen.
  These ladies were the only four women to race the 2014 Western Open course and provincials; Kyleigh Stewart, Danice Uyesugi, Darlene Paranaque, Angie Lowen.

bigquotesIn recruiting racers for this year, it was clear that none of the first-time racers would have volunteered to race on their own, and that having a support network to train with and also race with was important in encouraging the girls to race. As well, many first time racers do not have any guidance for how to begin to race, things like where to find information, how to register, and all those details. - Darlene Paranaque, Prairie Girls Racing

Racing downhill is not for everyone, and by no means should it be. The aggressive nature of downhill riding (not of the community or race environment – to be clear) is not appealing to all. But when it is, it can strengthen who you are in a way that you might not expect.

If you would like to be a part of a women’s race movement for the 2015 race season please contact Kelli ‘if you build it they will come’ Sherbinin.

bigquotesFor me personally, racing had a positive impact on all aspects of my life; mental, emotional, and physical. And having a team to support you also helps you with the crazy roller coaster we each go through when we push our limits. - Kelli Sherbinin, Endless Biking

Game face.
  Let this little girl's game face inspire you.



127 Comments

  • + 66
 Let's not confuse downhill racing and downhill riding. It's not downhill racing that's not for everyone, but sometimes just the racing part. Not everyone thrives on the cheers of spectators, the thrill of pushing the limit under race pressures and conditions, the pre race run butterflies, or the elation of finishing. Some people (of both genders) just don't like competition or the DH racing scene, and that's fine. But! They still enjoy riding their mountain bikes. I guess what I'm saying is that we all ride bikes for different reasons, but it boils down to it being fun, and for some, racing is not fun.

An interesting statistic would be a comparison between the percentage of men that race from the entire male downhill population, and the same type of statistic for women from the female DH population. It wouldn't surprise me if the percentage was similar.

If the percentage is similar, to get women racing it would be worth considering ways to get more women riding as opposed to racing, and the racing numbers will follow.
  • + 18
 Fully agree with this, also most people don't see the point to drive multiple hours to do limited amount of runs
  • + 7
 Agreed! Around here, racing [in general] has been on a downhill slide since the mid-90s. I see lots of women RIDING, but the provincial race series has become far less popular over the years. My wife and I were at Whistler this past weekend, and we both commented on how many women were out there ripping it up. It's good to see and a sign that the sport is healthy.
  • + 8
 I don't think the problem is the number of women riding. All summer, when I've been in the lift lines at the bike parks, probably close to 50% of the line has been women.

So why don't they race? A lot of them fear getting injured, for sure. The biggest issue I come across talking to other girls is that they don't want to get hurt. The second biggest one is that they think they're not good enough, even though some of these girls are actually pretty skilled. Personally, my biggest fear is signing up for a race and finding I'm in way over my head when I get on course, and making an idiot of myself.

I think Darlene's quote summed it up perfectly. "... it was clear that none of the first-time racers would have volunteered to race on their own, and that having a support network to train with and also race with was important in encouraging the girls to race." I'm someone who would actually race. Our local mountain here used to hold toonie races in the summer (they haven't held any since last year) and I would absolutely do those if they came back. If I lived in Whistler I would race Phat Wednesdays every chance I got. And if I had a crew I could hook up with every couple of weeks, or once a month, for coaching and racing, girls or guys, I'd sign up tomorrow. But I don't know if something like that even exists in Alberta. Maybe I should look harder at finding out.

Racing isn't for everyone, for sure, but I think there's more girls out there that might be talked into it than you think. I suspect some formal coaching might be a big part of that - the success of Dirt Series is a great indicator that if women feel that they can learn in a supportive environment, at their own pace, and with the pressure off, they'll step up in a big way.
  • + 5
 @Pikasam Prairie Girls Racing is a new group in Alberta that promotes and supports women in racing. Check out prairiegirlsracing.ca for more info Smile
  • + 4
 Almost every night I dream of being a Prairie Girl and riding like a girl. I wake up disappointed almost every morning because it can never be so...
  • + 5
 With no disrespect to the population that enjoys racing, there is a lot more to mountain biking than being the fastest down the hill or even beating personal bests. Everyone rides for their own reasons. Naturally competive personalities will generally flock to the races and the rest will keep riding for their own reasons, hence increasing the number of riders is likely the best option to increase numbers at the races.
I also think fear of injury is a moot point too. If someone is that scared why ride downhill? Its an inherently dangerous sport after all. It seems that those promoting racing don't hear (or maybe don't want to hear) the seemingly unsaid reason of why riders don't want to race, which is they are happy and having a good time doing what they are doing.
  • + 7
 I think the reason why so few women race DH is because of the tracks themselves. If you see the difference between the top-end men and the bottom-end women, it's huge. And I don't mean that in a bad way. But some courses need to be run at a certain speed to clear all the big jumps and gnarly stuff. I think this is more off-putting than women being afraid of getting hurt. Ofcourse, feeling insecure about the track makes you more vulnerable of getting hurt. Heck, I wouldn't participate in a DH race because of this issue. I like to keep the tires on the ground, not so fond of flying. Calling the by-passes "chicken-ways" doesn't help Smile I imagine this is the same for the women.
  • + 5
 Maybe the question that people should be asking is why are so many men racing? Maybe the competition aspect isn't what makes bicycles awesome. Maybe it's just about getting outside and having fun.

The fact that stunt by-passes are called 'chicken ways' tells me that the problem might be with the races and the egos they cater too, not with the women.
  • + 2
 zonoskar, I think you have it right. I have had girls say that they would love to join my race team but they don't want to go down the courses that are on the circuit. I don't think so much that they want the courses "dumbed down" so to speak but they want to see alternatives to the high risk features. I definitely think girls want to race. They just don't want to feel like they're going to die doing it. This is why the twoonie races and the fun event get a high turn out. They're down fun tracks like aline and bline. Who decided that all the courses have to be the gnarliest and deadliest things out there? No one wants to see a girl or a kid or really anyone taken off on a back board. Just look at the participation of the aline race compared to the canadian open at crankworx. There were 33 women who races the air dh this year compared to only 12 racing Canadian open. Who knows how many more would have registered if the air dh didn't sell out. I think racing has to become fun again.
  • + 5
 Just because you don't race doesn't mean you aren't competitive. I'm extremely competitive, but i hate racing cuz I don't like the atmosphere.
  • + 2
 I only want to race because it's the gateway to a career in mt biking. I'm a junior in high school and if I don't hurry up and find out if I have what it takes to ride my bike for a living, then I will be off to college and sit in my office job and wonder, "could I have done it?" for the rest of my life.
  • + 1
 u are doing the right thing and thinking the right way. i was in 18-19 expert in bmx and quit to live a "real" life. i wonder what could have been like everyday. but i have pushed that aside and i live for now. if there is one thing i live by it is do not let any opportunity slip by. push hard and dont quit-even when parents and teachers tell you to grow up. adrenaline-junky, i am 35 and get told to grow up all the time, and u know what? i love it every time i hear it. now i have a 14 year old son that i go session ride with and it is better than when i was a kid. i hope he finds his skill and i hope u do too. peace
  • + 51
 59% say that Travel Costs are the reason why they don't race, yet, Provincials are held in Golden, an 8 hour drive from the most populated area of BC. Yet, Whistler's Phat Wednesdays garnish an average of 27 women races per race. Whistler is 1.5hrs away from Vancouver. Maybe we should listen to the survey, and start holding races closer to Vancouver, there are lots of great places to ride there.
  • + 18
 Common sense aint common eh
  • + 3
 The races go to where organizers want to host an event. Without them, there are no races. The people who used to put on events in the lower mainland have long moved on and there were no new blood to replace them.
  • + 2
 Sounds like a problem with an obvious solution. Races don't organize themselves, & it's a long, hard road though: I'm working with some different people to hopefully get some sort of gravity racing going in AZ, which has long been a barren wasteland of 24hr races & road. It ain't easy, but we all know it's worth it.
  • + 4
 The location of Provincials (and Nationals) changes every year. Yes, Provincials were in Golden this year, but they were at Silver Star in 2013 and I believe were somewhere else in 2012. Makes it a little more fair for people in other areas of the province when they don't always have to drive for an entire day to get to the race. Keep in mind there is a large number of Albertans who race the BC Cup as well....races like Fernie, Kicking Horse, and Panorama are all in close-ish (3 hours drive) proximity to the Calgary area and the 1.5 million people there. It doesn't really matter where you have the race, somebody is going to have to drive!
  • + 2
 Sure. But I'd surprised if lower BC, of all places, couldn't sustain it's own grassroots racing series, separate from province & national series. Many of the racing series that are paying off so well for the british these days are privately organized.
  • + 1
 I'm generalizing here but the greater Vancouver area has long been a little apathetic to mountain bike racing, especially downhill. This is comparing it to other cities, some of which are smaller, that have healthy racing scenes. You would think that in a region with 3-4 million people there would be enough race organizers to put on a healthy series. There was some decent racing going on 10-15 years ago but those guys have all moved on with nobody to replace them. I would never compare the British racing scene to that of western Canada. That's like comparing the interest in hockey in central Canada to hockey in Florida. Not even remotely close to the same interest.
  • + 1
 To continue the general theme of Britain Vs BC, I'm originally from Britain (same sort of area as the Athertons), and within a 2hr drive there are loads of short DH courses that are legal and have easy access. Sure, some of the them are only easily accessible in terms of getting to the top unassisted via uplift days that you pay for but it's better than nothing. Outside Whistler, how many trails like this are there? I can't think of any legal ones to be honest. Neds is a PITA to access compared to UK tracks. Most new trails seem to have punchy climbs so people can feel good about buying dropper posts i.e. most of the Squamish trails, or Forever After and the like. No DH trails = no DH racing.

Regarding the specific question, all the women here that I know seem to have taken up road riding and Strava-commuting......
  • + 1
 You mean like this? www.pinkbike.com/news/arduum-video-2010.html
web.archive.org/web/20100414093607/www.arduum.ca looks like the event was cancelled in 2011 due to low registration.
  • + 1
 Or the Bear Mountain Challenge www.bearmountainchallenge.com/dh.php
  • + 0
 Parrabellum rides a 29'r
  • + 1
 @iwantapinkbike Ok, but then there's all the races during Crankworx that have great participation...
  • + 1
 Was more just pointing it out that they existed. These races/places don't have lift access like whistler does, nor do that many people live minutes away from the courses.
  • + 19
 200 woman chased Rachel Atherton down a hill last weekend in the fox hunt, seems to be plenty going on here in the UK. British downhill series Womens catagory never reads as being disproportionally thin on the ground, I know just as many names to look for in those standings as I do in the mens. National riders such as Rachel Atherton and Manon Carpenter are an obvious choice but I look out for the local name of Becci Skelton and howies rider (for no reason other than I like howies and have met her a few times) Hazel Wakefield.

Perhaps it's different stateside but here, although there is always room for improvement, we seem to be heading in the right direction.
  • + 4
 it showed in the 1-2-3 at world champs down here in the south, the womens contingent is equally thin on the ground. African champs had 1 contestant! primary reason is funding I guess
  • + 6
 Good shout on Hazel. Used to race cyclo cross against her in the youth category and she beasted 90% of the lads!
  • - 15
flag Jamminator (Oct 2, 2014 at 1:42) (Below Threshold)
 LOL, bro, all 199 of those woman are XC/trail riders...not downhillers.
  • + 3
 Its incredible what British Cycling is doing at the moment - the participation is amazing and the drive for ladies riding is brilliant.

Although we have a VERY limited national level womans field, we have slowly been growing the regional scene in the PMB area which is great.
With some coaxing, we have about 6 to 7 ladies competing in our regional series out of a total rider entry of 60 ....
Thats up from 3 riders two years ago ....

National events are just expensive and time-consuming to attend and unless you have sponsorship (which is null and void in SA) then its a strain on most riders.

Hopefully this will change in the coming years as I would love to see more South African ladies competing Nationally and Internationally
  • + 0
 LOL Jamminator, bro... with statement's like that, we wonder why there aren't more female DH'ers? Bloody women pretending to ride downhill bikes and calling themselves downhill riders.
  • + 3
 And in 4x - most recent round of national series 2 weeks ago, 19, most girls ever - more than senior or elite men! www.british4x.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/20140921_0687_crobertson.jpg
  • + 2
 @mikehayward - 19 ladies ... in 4x as well !!! .... Wow ... you guys are doing something right!
  • + 4
 Castor, your comment supports the notion of financial burden associated with travel. Travelling across the UK (A MUCH smaller geographical area compared to Canada) is a lot easier and less expensive than travelling across Canada.
  • + 2
 Up in the Yukon are the Dirt Girls DH, I was blown away to see more women at Montana Mountain than men! Full body armor no less!
  • + 1
 I think travel is definitely the big factor over the pond - maybe have races closer to cities? That's the feeling in the Men's 4X series over here - can still have decent tracks!
  • + 20
 That little girls game face is more intense than some pros on the WC! POD lol
  • + 11
 That race face would make Gee Atherton proud.
  • + 2
 That kid next to her is so stylin' haha looks like a tiny wade simmons! But seriously, this is a great article!
  • + 14
 Great article as ever Danielle.

At the risk of being attacked by some of the less open minded members of the PB community, I strongly believe that there is a case to suggest that one of the reasons that "the aggressive nature of downhill riding" may not be appealing to all is that there are very few examples in the mainstream media of women taking part; no-one knows about it essentially. Where I live in Japan you would forgive young girls from thinking that their sole purpose in life is to be "kawaii" (read cutesy), develop painfully thin looking legs, shop, shop and shop some more and then eat dessert at an up-market restaurant, whilst at work the glass ceiling ensures you serve tea in the office until the boss suggests to you that its time you got yourself married off (yes, it is a gross over simplification however what is served up in the media bears a remarkable resemblance).

So come on Fox, NBC, CNN, BBC, Channel 9, CANAL give the girls some more coverage: young women won't go DH racing unless they see some!!

For those of you here who know the Japanese media, wouldn't it be great to give the anchor roles to more women on news, sports and current affairs shows, rather than their all to common current role here of "nodding sycophant" whose brief is to look around at the men talking whilst proffering "ums" and "ahhhs" and never be asked for their opinion.
  • + 8
 Great article Danielle!

I think for me (taking away the whole social side of racing which is a huge part for me), racing is like having a deadline. This deadline is relative- relative to you skillset and goals but it is indeed a deadline. You have to show up some place, learn a track, tackle the things that scare you and somehow but it all together into the best possible final project. We all have things we want to do and achieve on our bikes, we want to be better but sometimes it is hard to push ourself and to really make ourselves make leaps and bounds in our learning because we procrastinate or get distracted or whatever. I am a procrastinator, as are many so when I have a set amount of time to achieve a goal, I excel because I have to get it done. It is hard to make ourselves ride things we don't always want to ride (but are fully capable of), at a race you have to and you become SO MUCH BETTER because of that.
  • + 6
 My friends (who all race) always bug me to race too, and I'm always catching them on trail..... but in Victoria, I can't justify the driving and costs of racing.
I have plenty of fun riding, but me racing just isn't my scene.
Then my mates get stuck into me saying "then pay just to ride, don't race"..... that pretty much turns me off riding all together. Then you have to pay for the weekend away, food, fuel etc.

The worst thing is, the cost to enter race's is more than the first prize in elite class...... now that is backwards
  • + 6
 Thanks for writing this... as a "racing for fun" level racer, I have noticed this trend. It's interesting because when I moved to BC last year from California, I noticed SO MANY MORE women riding. And not just riding, like, SHREDDING. It was mind blowing and humbling. Not to put down the USA scene but if you think you can ride, move up to BC and get ready to eat some humble pie. Anyway, what I also noticed (aside from Phat Wednesdays at Whistler) was that there is a major lack of women in the racing scene. Even though so many of them ride! Many of them have raced before at some point, but they would just rather ride for fun and with friends then race. I like to race because I am a competitive person, but I still do it just for fun.. not trying to pretend I am going Pro here but it's a bummer when you show up to race and you have no field. I think perhaps if more women looked at racing as a fun, team-oriented and social activity, they might be more inclined to participate.. but then again, who wants to spend money to ride your bike down a hill? Well, spending money or not, for you ladies that are interested in meeting girls to ride, race, and hang out talking bikes with, there are a ton of places to go... for example, check out www.prairiegirlsracing.ca (in Alberta), www.muddbunnies.com (in BC), shineridersco.com (in Northern California), www.facebook.com/ladyshredSLC (in Salt Lake City, UT), or the Women's Freeride Movement (womensfreeridemovement.org). Always happy to have more friends to ride with, racing or not!
  • + 5
 BC Cup racing is in decline because of long drives and large travel costs. Period. Driving 6-8 hours and spending anywhere between $300 - $500 per weekend between camping/hotel, gas, and food just isn't going to do it for everyone. Not to mention parts that may be needed along the way. There are a lot of excellent smaller local series (FVMBA, Sea To Sky Enduro, Phat Wednesday) which cost a lot less and have very competitive riding. Face it, BC Cups are not the only game in town anymore.
Also, the younger people who were doing those races 5 - 10 years ago, a lot of them probably have mortgages and families now. $5000+ (can you even get a decent racing DH bike for $5000 anymore?) DH bikes probably aren't a high priority on the family budget.
That being said, the way to increase attendance in those races will be the ability of teams to form, organize, and recruit and try to help minimize some of those costs. And sponsors to get behind them. Maybe, as an example, instead of companies spending crap tons of money on dealer launches and flying people around from across the country to come look at their product late every summer, they should focus a bit more getting more racers directly on their product and representing them?
  • + 5
 Awesome article! I must say I am excited to see The DH racing scene start to grow, and I believe it will. It was my first year racing last year and it was a blast! People have some great points on travel expenses; etc. Having a team has been amazing for me and helped me improve as a rider; build confidence and also aid in travel and other expenses.
  • + 5
 I ride technical trails at Bromont 3 times a week, usually there is at least 1-3 girls with us. we always run into as many women as dudes. The women arent racing downhill for the same reason as men... because they are out trailriding!
  • + 0
 #enduro
  • + 5
 As a female racer, this is an issue we've tried confronting on many levels, but I think the lack of women racing comes down to a few specific things, with winning and our 'everyone gets a trophy' culture being near the top.

Here in Utah, we have a rapidly-growing MTB scene with more and more women showing up everyday on the trails and at the resorts, while the race numbers still suffer both locally and nationally.

Women are naturally competitive creatures. We all know this. We see evidence of it every single day. But we're also inherently insecure -- racing and competition (especially at an elite level) requires complete confidence in one's skills and ability to perform. Where a dude will crash and blow up, then hike back up and try it again, women don't have that mindset -- we have to protect ourselves. I've seen it on the local tracks and at the World Cup level, and it usually comes down to an aggression and mental strength that a lot of women simply haven't cultivated. I'm not saying it's not there, I'm simply saying it's not actively cultivated in most cultures.

Now, don't get me wrong -- I'm the largest proponent for women's racing out there. I think everyone should all get their daughters into some sort of aggressive competitive pursuit at some point or another to teach them appropriate outlets of aggression. But we don't. As a culture, we shun aggressive, competitive, go-getting women. We've poked fun at Hillary Clinton for being a frigid b*tch instead of celebrating everything she's done for women's politics. we do the same to any woman in any field.
  • + 11
 (Continued...)

Even inside of racing (and other athletics), women have their place -- there are still glass ceilings for women, and making it as a professional racer is goddamn tough, let alone a female professional racer. Some of the top women in the world are experience this right now as UCI factory teams shut down support for women and other all-male teams (again) go after points value decreases for female racers. It's a constant battle, and one that usually ends in injury.

At the end of the day, women don't race because we're too smart -- the risk/reward payout isn't high enough for most of us, and our self-preservation instincts take over. What future is there in racing for women right now? We have no support, no Olympic team, no future coaching options. We don't have a future as trainers or 'ex racers' employable as experts on ESPN. Hell, look at the women of the 90's! If they're not still racing, what are they doing? Where have they faded away to? When the timer stops, what do we do?

For those of us who do race and who spend every penny on bike equipment and race costs, it's literally become our lives. We work so we can race and feed the addiction.

Believe me, I've questioned my sanity more than once when tax time comes around and I look at what I've dumped into racing; the only reward there is what I'm getting out of it, and right now, that's enough. But someday, someday soon, I'll want to just stay home during the 7 months of race season and ride with my buddies instead of coming home when I'm hurt. I'll want to put my cash towards pretty sweet bike trips with the boys instead of cramped hotel rooms with other racers. But for now? I'll race.
  • + 2
 I was waiting for your response to Linda's video yesterday and I think you nailed it. You and Danielle, keep up the good work.
  • + 0
 And BTW, here's an interesting thing this article reminded me of, something I have discovered over the years: DH racing prepares women for childbirth. There are many women out there leading sedentary lives who are completely surprised by the pain and extended nature of discomfort associated with childbirth. They say "Childbirth is the worst pain imaginable.' but what they really mean is that 'It was the worst pain I have ever experienced.' However, when I ask my female riding buddies I get a different story. They'll say childbirth wasn't anywhere near as bad as broken ribs (extended pain and long-term unavoidable discomfort), broken bones and torn ligaments (short-term extreme pain). I know I am a guy and therefore should be perceived as not having an opinion on childbirth, but I research data for a living and have a talent for spotting trends.

Of course, there are some complicated childbirths that can be REALLY painful, more than all but the worst of injuries (sorry Mum - I nearly killed you!).

Any DHers out there needing a topic for your medical degree, it's all yours.
  • + 2
 First of all, thank you. I'm humbled by your opinion of me and my words, and I hope to earn those sentiments in my actions as well.

Secondly, you're absolutely right -- childbirth is painful. Excruciatingly painful. But crushing my sternum, puncturing both lungs and breaking ribs was infinitely more painful than the 14 hours of hell I went through. Added up, pregnancy & childbirth sucks balls compared to any injury I've had outside of my back injury last fall, but that was pretty similar -- kind of like reverse pregnancy. It would be an interesting topic of research, for sure.
  • + 4
 I have raced a few times in the Over 35 category in the BC Cup and I can tell you it is super intimidating for a newbie racer, typically a couple hundred guys and less than 20 girls. Where have all the girls gone? to the Northwest Cup!! I hit up one of their races this season and could not believe the number of women!! I was so pumped to see so many ladies. Why are they all there? Because they have race categories for all levels of riders that allow you to start on easy lines, build your confidence and move to more advance categories and difficult lines as you improve. Not so in the BC Cup. Newbies have to ride the same line as the pro's. I have to say, I am still intimidated by most of the race runs in the BC Cup circuit and I am a confident rider. I am always bummed to see so few girls in this circuit especially the under 17 category as they are the future of women in racing. Not much of a future if its only Kayleigh, no matter how rad of a rider she is Wink
  • + 2
 Sorry Ky, I spelled your name wrong Smile
  • + 4
 I used to race the entire national circuit In Canada when I was young. My racing "career" dwindled and eventually ended after moving away from my parents and suddenly having to deal with paying for rent and food. Gas, airline tickets, hotels were suddenly not affordable.
  • + 4
 Good article, and good question. Speaking for myself, I don't race. I look at it this way: I can spend tons of money on race registration, gas, hotel, food, and the inevitable bike part replacement from Murphy's Race Law - or I can save all that money and ride all weekend with my friends. No-brainer here. Not to say I don't hit up my local grassroots race every year, but I'm not going broke doing it.
  • + 3
 I raced downhill in Western Canada for more than a decade and managed and ran a development team (that included women) for four years. I agree we absolutely need to encourage more women to participate in racing for all the reasons your article mentions. However, I would caution disregarding "enduro" with another tired joke. The reality is that enduro is tremendously fun on all accounts and will continue to grow, including women. It's less intimidating and a friendlier vibe as you inevitably make friends between stages, which has a calming effect not present in the more charged atmosphere of DH. And Enduro has proper DH in it - one day at the Golden race was at Kicking Horse including the Pioneer DH (but much longer), Rossland included the old BC Cup DH Course and Revelstoke included proper DH stages on Boulder Mountain. Most races saw 11-12 women compete, still vastly underrepresented. I talked to many of them and while the DH scared them, they raced because their strengths such as fitness also played into it. In the end, the women were stoked on the format and their accomplishment of having ridden the technical stages. All I heard was how much they look forward to doing more next year, and bringing their friends out. Don't get me wrong, I love DH but it's not that easy to disregard enduro...where the growth in the number of women (and men) racing mountain bikes will assuredly increase. Perhaps it will be a stepping-stone for some who discover they enjoy and are good at the DH stages to come out and try a proper DH race too.
  • + 3
 It is also important to note this article is about DH racing. I'm a woman and I race XC and some enduro, and there has been a definite uptick in the number of women racing in these disciplines and also the quality of competition. I think a lot of women prefer the all rounded aspect of enduro riding, with ups and downs, rather than just a DH race. There is more opportunity for busy women (and mom's) to get out and hammer out an XC ride in their downtime than to DH (unless you live in Whistler or next to another park) because it's possible to do that on our own, when time permits. Maybe if events weren't just DH focussed or XC focussed, and there were just "race weekends" with beginner DH courses, more women who where there for the other events that have a lot of female participation would jump in to try DH out? I think I would, but I sure wouldn't devote a whole weekend to getting to a DH race unless there was something else on the table that I knew I wanted to do (like an enduro course).
  • + 2
 ^^^ Listen to this person. And to Ryann (who has a similar comment a couple posts below).

Cons: I realized that "enduro" is this annoying word that all the marketing guys have jumped on and hammered to death. And that the haters gonna hate. And I hate jumping on a band wagon as much as the next person, I really do.

Pros: But if you disregard these silly cons (they are silly, because at the end of the day we're all here to ride our bikes) and just focus on the actual riding that takes place during an enduro race... it's freaking awesome! You ride to the top with your buddies and then you race down! Repeat, all day. Someone else looks after the mediocre tasks of deciding where to ride, providing the food (and medics).

I want to reiterate: You ride to the top with your buddies & then race down & you get to do that ALL DAY (and probably all weekend)...
  • + 2
 (continued...)

So what gkarin said above about making it into a race weekend event and somehow working a DH event into the mix could be quite awesome! As a new rider (1.5 years on a mountain bike), I want to push my boundaries & make up for lost time. However, at 32 years old I am cognizant of the fact that I can actually break myself if I push too far to fast. I wasn't interested in going to throw down at a hardcore DH event at all. But I discovered the BC Enduro series this year which is aimed at casual riders that wanted to come out and explore some new trails.

I never felt intimidated, had an absolute blast in that series, discovered that racing can be quite a lot of fun (even if you know you won't win). And with the confidence / comfort I gained, I would consider joining a more serious DH event if it came up (locally).
But I would never commit to a huge expensive trip & a long drive solely for a 4 minute race... it's just not worth it at all.

I would however sign up for a DH race if it was part of a full weekends riding event.
Do some Enduro, do some DH, do some BBQ, drink some beers. Now that, that would get more people interested.

Cons: Finding time to practice the DH course while racing an Enduro would be limited. And you'd have to bring 2 bikes... but these problems could be over come. Hell, you might end up with families coming out and each only competing in different events.
  • + 3
 I think perhaps the answer is similar to what I encounter every Friday evening, because whenever i ask my friends "Wanna do something on Friday?" The first question the gals will ask is "Who's going?" And the guys will always ask "What are we doing?"

At lot of times for girls it matters more "who" they're doing things with and for the guys it matters more of "what" they're doing. Perfect example is if we're going to watch a movie and some of the girls don't want to go, all of a sudden none of them want to go, but with the guys it doesn't matter who goes so long as it's a movie they want to watch. But the next week same movie but now the majority of the girls can go, now they all want to go, but now that the guys have seen the movie, they don't want to go because it is no longer something they want to do.

So I guess when it comes to catering to the genders girls tend to prefer a more social aspect. If a girl knows "all the girls are going" then they're usually all for it. Perhaps starting female group rides and riding teams will help give the females riders a more social experience. That way they don't have to compete all alone and "all the girls" will be there also.

Just my thoughts on the matter.
  • + 3
 I got interested in dh not knowing about women's place in it. It would probably work a little to show more women examples in biking, but really, if a person thinks it looks fun they'll probably do it regardless of who else is. The trouble for me, at least, is more money and transportation. So maybe more women's clubs or group rides?
  • - 2
 I agree but there really are no super athlete women with great personalities that are truly marketable. If we could find a small group of girls that could throw down rampage level stuff that would be amazing for the sport. Having them be good looking wouldn't hurt either. I know that sounds shallow but unfortunately that's our culture.
  • + 7
 @leftcoastburn, there are plenty of women mtb athletes out there with awesome personalities and all of them just have fun on their bikes. Rachael Atherton, Tahnee Seagrave, Manon Carpenter, Rebecca Rusch, Sonya Loony.. the list is pretty long actually.

A woman does not need to be "good looking" either in order to be a cyclist, it is attitudes and statements like that that help keep women from being part of this sport.

We all collectively need to be the change in the sport. Stop making sexist remarks, stop feeding into the testosterone fueled culture and embrace every gender to our sport with open arms. Cycling as a whole is better than what is seen in mainstream sports like the NFL (which I refuse to recognize as a sport or sports body). Cycling is for everyone regardless of gender, age or race and especially physical appearance.
  • + 3
 That's interesting Marzocchi-USA, because you posted something similar in the comments of that lollypop-licking girl's video yesterday. She is a girl who does not race, does not shred harder than average, yet is sponsored. The only reason she is sponsored is because she is cute. And you support that, in contravention to your points above
  • - 2
 @Marzocchi-USA your comment drips of white knight syndrome. Of course anyone can ride a bike and have fun doing it. And yes we have girls that are kinda cute with fun personalities. What we don't have is a Ronda Rousey-larger than life personality, super athlete, good looking etc... until we do no one will care. Sorry, but the truth hurts. BTW I used to have a marz poster of 2 smoking hot blondes stroking a marz fork... way to not play into gender stereotypes that you now apparently despise.
  • + 2
 @leftcoastburn... for one, the poster you have was from the old guard here. that entire crew is no longer here and all of us here are older, wiser and nowhere near as chauvinistic and want to firmly and finally lay to rest the old marketing. I apologized for it back then (I worked for us back then and left because I didn't agree with the marketing that was going on. Now we as a company firmly agree the old stuff was in poor taste and want to put it behind us and move to a more gender unified sport. Looks have nothing to do with talent and the public's view of what is attractive is intensely skewed by popular media, especially here in the USA. A woman does not need to be plastic and stick thin to be attractive nor does she need to be overly sexualized. That is all fed to us consumers through media and we just eat it up as a whole.

@iamamodel..I support all women that want to be part of the sport, if @lindapaluc races or not that is up to her and IMHO she does shred pretty hard from what I have seen based on my own experience riding with women here in the US.
  • - 1
 I understand what left coast burn is getting at. I don't think he is trying to be chauvinistic but merely pointing out how our marketing culture is. I believe it can be changed, but I would never feel I am so high and mighty (as marzocchiusa seems to thinks he is) and tell someone what they ought and ought not think, say or do.
  • + 3
 This whole argument about women bikers being attractive just sounds like some man wanting more hot women in his sport. It has nothing to do with getting more women to ride.
  • - 2
 Lafayette, if you are referring to me as the man wanting more hot women in the sport--I honestly give zero f*cks whether are any women in the sport at all. I am just aware of the fact that people have always been and will continue to be drawn to the super athlete archetype. Until womens mtb has this it will continue to stagnate. Whether any of this is "right" is obviously subjective. Not sure why people get upset with me making basic social obsrrvations...
  • + 2
 Ignoring the point about us not having women with personalities riding (which I disagree with), LeftCoastBurn you do realise that asking female riders to throw down at rampage level isn't going to happen, and it's precisely the attitude that stops women's racing, freeriding and riding as a whole from flourishing. Girls can't match guys on bikes at that absolute top level because they have different bodies (and sometimes attitudes/aggression). Implying that women riding will only be supported if they can match the best pro male riders when they clearly can't will likely put them off the sport and it's the kind of attitude that has lead to less pro female riders than pro male riders.
  • + 2
 Wow gotta love the defeatist mindset of women in mountain biking! Have you seen what women are doing in snowboarding or MMA lately? I don't expect women to start throwing no handed backflips off 60 foot drops any time soon, but if women work hard enough there are many that are capable of riding many of the same lines as the best men. It comes down to dedication and mindset.
  • + 3
 Sorry show me a girl who can backflip cam zink's drop. What I'm saying is that we need to create an environment where they aren't trying to compete with men but rather each other. In other words, support female world cup teams and local racers so they have other women to ride against. It's not a defeatist attitude at all. There are plenty of women faster than me, but look at the world cup times.....has the women's class ever even come close to the men's? Rachel Atherton dominated for a period (in my opinion) because she was riding with her brothers. If we get more female riders to actually compete with each other they will push the limits of what girls can do and move towards where guys are at. That's a much healthier way to approach it than expecting them to reach male professional rising standard to get support, which 1) isn't gonna happen and 2) puts girls off.
  • + 4
 www.facebook.com/womenracebikes - more coming at you soon from Girl Bike Love.

Thanks for the article and pushing the conversation.
  • + 2
 I think most sports need coaches (skateboard a notable exception, but it's way easier to start and get to). Doesn't have to be an aggressive male with a clipboard and a whistle. Just someone who does what it takes to make it fun, progressive, and help with the logistics. A few super focused kids can do it on their own. But most, girls especially, want some guidance before they race. And if you want a sport to grow, start with kids. Adults have other priorities.
  • + 2
 Same place the male DH racers have gone: enduro racing. More riding time over more terrain = more fun. Also easier access cuz you can have just one bike for racing, trail riding, lifts days. I still love DH but it's obvious why momentum is swinging toward trail riding and enduro racing.
  • + 2
 Well done for bringing up this topic and starting this discussion. It is a complex topic which requires everyone to be involved. We need clubs to create encouraging and supportive environment for females to ride, film makers and magazines to feature more girls and women, sponsors' support, childcare at events, supportive partners, female role models encouraging girls to ride.... This is a lot to think about and a good place to start is for individuals or collective groups to start speaking out while also taking action. Way to go Danielle Baker, Kelli Sherbinin and others who are taking action!
  • + 2
 Hot On Your Heels women’s only enduro style mountain bike race, held in Squamish BC as a fundraiser (www.hotonyourheels.ca) sells out every year and up the road the Whistler Women's only race organized by WORCA for the last few years gets over 100 girls racing each year...These are not 'cheap' races and I think the fun, group atmosphere and low pressure aspect of these races probably has a lot to do with the turn out - Similar to the Fox hunt with Atherton.
  • + 2
 So there are a couple of things going on here:

1. Change is coming, I see more and more families mountain biking here in Marin County, this is why we have high school leagues across the entire state of CA. I would argue that the mountian bike is great equalizer between the sexes. Especially, now that bike manufacturers figured out if you make bikes for females, they will buy them and ride them.

Which leads me to my second point: there needs to be DH and female specific mountain bikes if you truly want that segment to grow.


As for me, downhill racing was a 5 hour wait for a 4 minute ride...
  • + 0
 "Which leads me to my second point: there needs to be DH and female specific mountain bikes if you truly want that segment to grow."

You sir, are implying that there needs to be more marketing in MTB. You are wrong.
  • + 2
 What I am implying is that they need to make dh bikes in size extra small. If you offer an alternative paint scheme for female riders you will sell more bikes. In the last five years, the number of women on the trail has risen greatly as the availability of serious female specific bikes has increased.
  • + 1
 Liv, Trek and Santa Cruz are all on the cutting edge of creating women specific bikes and sizing
  • + 2
 Awesome article encouraging more girls to race and be involved. Whistler's Phat Wednesday (and Phast Friday) are doing something right as the number of women riding in those races outnumber the World Cups! I think it's the fun atmosphere and that you can choose to ride in whatever order you want - my hubby can be the rider before me and my best girlfriend behind me. Very social and fun and you still get to push yourself (and the more riders that enter the more money the winners get so the pro's get something out of it too!). If only Whistler would put these races on weekends so we could participate more often!
  • + 2
 Nice read...i dont race and I have only just started to do DH but I love it! I think with a bit more promotion and advertisement (more beautiful pictures like you put here) you will encourage more women! There are plenty girls out there waiting for a new challenge but maybe they just don’t know that DH is there...I only discovered it 2 years ago and I am 27...
  • + 2
 I believe it's a cultural component of the times we live in. With so many demands on our time and money, people, not just women are going to make sacrifices. With the "buy in" to begin riding downhill being so much higher than other forms of cycling, it's easier to choose to road ride over downhill. Face it, a $500 road bike will get you plenty of miles down the road, but a $500 DH bike, those are hard to come by. And we can all appreciate what a proper bike will do for your introduction to the sport.

Another aspect that I believe plays a roll is future involvement in the sport. It's easy to travel and participate in something that's arguably more dangerous than it's counterpart when you are single and don't have tons of "life" commitments. But once there's a family, kids, steady job, the need to 'stay safe' out weighs the desire to bounce down a hill. At the end of the day, I think it's an easier and safer decision for a lot of people to choose a 'safer', 'easer' and more accessible form of cycling because once those life commitments start to come into play, it's a heck of a lot easier to continue to participate. Lets say someone starts racing at 15. Has their first kid at 25. They've now dedicated 10 years to the sport. Lets say they have 2 kids spaced 2 years apart. They are probably going to be 32 or so before the kids are both off to school full time enough that they have time to dedicate back to training and racing. But that's only during the week, what happens on weekends when the races are held and the kids aren't in school?

Yeah, I hear the argument of introducing your kids to the sport and what not, but I know for a fact that when I was 5 I had a hard enough time not eating sh*t in the driveway. Heck, when I started racing XC at 14 I was a time bomb about to explode at any moment. So many trees... If my parents would have taken me to ride DH, life would have been presented me with the 'Darwin Award of Natural Selection'.
  • + 2
 While not DH or racing, a local MB promotion company (Sub 9 Productions) here in Indiana puts on a yearly mountain bike clinic for new women riders; Midwest Women's Mountain Bike Clinic . Usually the clinic sells out all 150 spots and is very well received. It gets ladies interested in the sport and gives them the confidence that they can get out their and hit some trails.

I just got back from Trestle and saw quite a few women riders. It was awesome to see all types of people out there shredding it; men, women, and kids.
  • + 1
 I think this topic is so interesting. Here in Washington we have a pretty great turn out of women at our DH race series (NW Cup). I don't know why there are less women racing in BC, they can certainly kick our asses with one hand tied behind their backs! At the last race we had 35 women - 14% of the total racers. However we make the races as fun and low-pressure as possible given the inherit nature of DH racing. We have a great community of women racers who support each other and are looking to have fun - often by wearing costumes or by preventing pre-race jitters with a dance party. Even after missing out on most of the season this year due to pregnancy, I made sure to catch the last race... it was my husband's turn to hold the baby anyway.
So if any of you Canadian ladies want to check out a DH race, come on down to the states and join us at Port Angeles next year!
  • + 1
 Very interesting article. As a father of a couple of girls and a boy I can assure you that girls are simply wired differently than boys. Most of them, any way. One has zero interest in any sort of biking which saddens me a bit. She ROCKS at other sports which is cool The other is happy to be outside riding. Which is also cool My son OTOH is certifiably insane. Smile I do not think we should judge the sexes by the opposite sex's standards.
  • + 1
 When I was at Whistler this year I was amazed by how many women and children were riding the lifts, it was awesome! The last few years I have also noticed way more women on the trails at my local spots, I don't know why this surge in women riders is also not transferring over to racers. It could be everything from the cost, to the lack of role models, to fear of hurting of the ego and physical pain....or maybe that we need to go back to a more fun festival atmosphere at races that are less intimidating...bring the fun back.
  • + 5
 They've all gone road riding.
  • + 4
 Yuuup. The number of woman road riding today in UK and USA compared to 10 years ago is insane. Between all our stores, I'd say the ratio of woman (relative to men) has at least doubled. I hit the road about four times a week, and I regularly see more woman than men out on my road bike rides.
  • + 1
 Roadies rejoice!! Smile
  • + 1
 Come up on a Wednesday and race the Phat Tyre Series and one's racing fix is satisfied for an extra $5. One is more likely to win a better prize or a fatter cheque than most race series actually offer.

Add to these facts that Juniors cannot be awarded cash prizes and there is the issue of winning not even paying the bills assocaited with the travel and accomodation, fine of the prize is a better version of whatever you run or need on your bike, otherwise there is the hassle of selling it in order to raise the cash that an adult racer would have been given by cheque.

So those that do the most riding and are, statistically, the most likely to be the best riders have no real incentive to race unless they individually harbour a burning desire to beat other people. It appears from the numbers that the majority appear to be happy with a Wednesday night social race (regularly 200 entrants at Phat Tyre Wednesday) or "racing" with their friends on a quiet day when one can almost get an uninterupted 'run' on almost any trail on the mountain.

Not saying anyone is right or wrong just saying that it is fairly obvious why the Lower Mainland does not produce more racers as I see a fair number of female DH riders everyday.
  • + 1
 Around here I see a reasonable number of girls riding and riding well but not many getting into DH racing. I think it is perceived as being a big leap technically and increased danger levels stop goods riders moving to competing in a DH race. I wonder whether we need a entry division that is less demanding and then with good results progress into the main division. This might be a good model for the boys too - but for different reasons. They think they are better that what they are and then up crashing all the time which does do them or the sport any good.
  • + 1
 Didn't mean to offend with the term 'girls' but my comment was focused on younger riders! BTW by wife is getting a DH bike so that is a +1.
  • + 1
 In a way it could be the fact that Whistler is so easily accessible that is the heart of this "issue". To use the UK example stated above (I 'raced' NPS Masters in early 2000s), until about five years ago, racing was the only way one could get a decent number of runs in, on a taped track, over a weekend. On a good weekend I could manage 10-12 runs if I wanted to really concentrate on just riding (as I obviously was not going to win the race so there was no real point in sessioning sections of the track or looking at faster lines). There was a good atmosphere and a regular crowd that one saw at every race. The alternative for me was a two hour drive to push my bike up for 15 minutes to ride a one minute track in Wharncliffe Woods, now nothing against Warncliffe Woods, obviously it has helped to produce a World Champion (go Steve Peat!! Who was even nice enough to stop and show me the best line into a jump one Saturday!! What a guy), but it is not Whistler (or Silvestar for that matter.

There has been an upsurge in uplift served venues so perhaps there is less impetus to go to race weekends like one 'had' to. That said there is obviously a healthy DH race scene as evidenced by the number of British riders in the top 50 at WC level (and European Cup level as well).

It is so easy to jump in the car and, if one owns one's own bike, ride more laps in a day than one would ever get at a race series, for about half the price of a race entry fee. If one finds it a little too crowded on the weekends, then a mid week 'flex' day allows a 10 hour riding day (during extended play) for less than the cost of race entry and without the hassle of the long drive and finding accomodation. Breakfast, jump in the car, 10 hours riding, dinner and home by 11 in the evening!
  • + 1
 "Answer: 35,000 years of human evolution. Men are hunters. We are wired for danger." - cameronvicker

There's some undeniable truth to this, despite the politically correct telling us otherwise. It's a generalization and doesn't apply to all women, but the fact is that testosterone and male brain wiring drive men to different choices and behaviors than women.

Can't wait to get my little girl into BMX though.
  • + 1
 There is no money in my and especially women's mtb. Most the hard core athletic women who are open to putting their bodies on the line for a sport would prefer to get paid and get some notariety. Look at women's MMA. All it took was a couple high profile ambassadors for the sport and now women are flocking to it.
  • + 1
 This is a fantastic article, all round. Well written, well researched, and totally struck a chord with me. Thanks for the read Danielle Baker. And muchos respect to Kelli Sherbinin for her involvement in promoting chicas biking.
  • + 3
 I agree little girl, wherever you are, it IS the best day ever, judging by your helmet and your stacked squad of mini-shredders..
  • + 4
 Raising my racers. They will be old enough soon.
  • + 2
 hannah barnes & Amanda Cordell. Need i say any more?
  • + 2
 I don't get it...
  • + 0
 Sorry, I meant to positive props you on this but my fat fingers got in the way. Thank you for recognizing this.
  • + 2
 Hannah Barnes, Amanda Cordell and @ambatt are all women athletes @aaoliver
They are all helping advance women in mtb along with Lindsey Vories
  • + 2
 @marzocchi-USA Ah.. I get what you are saying. Hmmm... I wouldn't say every lady on your list is a great role model.. But for the most part yes. I am friends with most of these ladies and ride with them.. So ya, I'm aware... I'm active in that scene as well. P.S. Is this Futchi? Haha...
  • + 0
 There are also about 20 other women who are super influential and motivated and friendly that you could put on this list while you're naming names.. These aren't the only gals out there riding and encouraging women to ride... I like to think that as female riders involved in the scene, we all do that?
  • - 2
 Well, first of all, you can thank that whole freeriding/freestyling thing for clobbering the f*ck out of all that boring racing shit that no one flies a single f*ck about anymore. You know, all that gnarly awesome stuff that PB has been posting the shit out of for the last couple weeks? That gnarly awesome stuff that stupid pussy c*nt bitches like Cryin' Brian Lopes trash talked in the early days because he was so terrified of it & what it may do to his career? That gnarly awesome stuff that takes over every single sport where it's possible to do that kind of stuff. Show me a sport where dudes freeride/freestyle their shit but racing remained bigger. Not bikes, not moto's, not skate, not ski, not snowboard. MX racing may be arguable, I'm not sure, but FMX is still a hell of a lot younger.

Then add to that, the ugly, sad, but true fact that no one really flies f*cks about women's sports at all except to be all nice & politically correct & shit, & you have this article. Hate me all you like, but men are stronger, faster, tougher & consequently much bigger risk takers & that's why it's always more interesting to watch men pushing the limits of physical potential & why there are more men doing it. Men set the limits. Men exceed them. The only thing I can think of where women impress me as much as any man when it comes to physical accomplishment is in gymnastics. The shit those girls do is mind blowing. Hannah Steffens was an incredible bike rider but had no future in it because she couldn't keep up with the guys & surprise, she was the only girl that could throw down at the level that she did. She was one of a kind. Sometimes there's a few that are remarkable, but it's rare.
  • - 3
 Of course I could just be totally wrong as far as this here sport goes because maybe the stupid transsexual/transgender/transvestite what the f*ck ever freakshow ruined it for all the broads by infecting DH racing with his mentally deranged idear that hacking off his cock & balls & taking a few hormones changes the way his genetic code bears on his physiology & of course comes along & wins every single race all the time in the womens field. Look it up if you don't know what I'm talking about.
  • + 1
 Convince girls in similar action sports to try out DH biking.
  • + 1
 That's a great looking jersey.
  • + 1
 Great read, thanks Pinkbike
  • + 0
 Answer: 35,000 years of human evolution. Men are hunters. We are wired for danger.
  • + 5
 Men are wired differently and that makes it intimidating for us girls when we try to keep up. Plus those of us that are in the category where our kids are in school and we can afford nice bikes (typically 32 and up) are already at a disadvantage bc we are trying to learn stuff the guys learned when they were ten -- riding in wet conditions, learning how to control the bike in the air, etc. And then you add to it that as the "moms" in the house we are typically going to make sure that everyone else is taken care of before spending money on ourselves which makes signing up for races an after thought. However I think girls have a lot more advantages now to get into more aggressive sports. And I think that a lot of that has to do with the dads since they are more likely to push their girls and not stress about them getting hurt.
  • + 1
 Really? I think both males and females are to a degree both wired for danger. However, doing dangerous things doesn't seem to be appreciated in society or peer groups for females compared males. Take my daughter for example, she does some crazy stuff (Life Guarding, Snow Boarding and Mountain Biking) and she virtually never gets any positive feedback about these from her female friends - but she does form her male friends. However, if she gets her hair styled different she gets all the gushy comments from her female friends!
  • + 1
 say whut? Life guarding and snow boarding are "crazy"??
  • + 1
 I want to race DH so badly, but alas I live in Ontario... time to move!
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