It only takes one
February 14, 2011 § 7 Comments
Every now & then I like to race in the open P/1/2 field (note that officially USAC has no men’s races, only open races and women’s races). Usually those races are great. I ride with many of those guys at the Port ride, and I’m friends with a good number of them off the bike as well. By and large, the field is supportive of the women who sack up & race with them.
…but, like so many things, it only takes one bad egg. Or apple. Whatever.
Anyway. On Saturday, three women – three strong women, three of the top four finishers in the W1/2/3 race – lined up to race the P/1/2 race. As I mentioned above, any race that we think of as the “men’s” race is actually an open race. In other words, the three of us had paid our entry fee, were the appropriate category, and had every right to be in that race. Apparently a Zenn/Colnago rider* and a guy in a QuickStep kit didn’t think so, particularly Mr. Zenn. (When confronted, QuickStep was quick to blame it all on Mr. Zenn, though there was one exchange that he most definitely participated in; he wasn’t the primary issue and he’s already received a snootfull so I’m going to let him slide a bit here.) Completely unprovoked, Zenn rode up beside and behind two of us (myself and the unstoppable Mary Maroon) and made snide, sexist comments.
W. T. F?
I am pleased that he seemed so surprised when we dished it right back. I’m guessing he prefers to surround himself with the meek. I’m also pleased that the rest of the field was happy to see us & very supportive of us being there to race our bikes. And finally, I’m pleased that we did such a kick-ass job of it, ’cause that’s really the best way to make your point.
After the race I found him and asked if he had been aiming for humor. I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, even though he didn’t really deserve it. Not even a little. He doesn’t like racing against women – okay, fine. You don’t have to like it, but see the beginning of the second paragraph of this post. We deserved to be there as much as any of the male competitors. His justification? He doesn’t know how to race with us. Could he bump into us? (Well, certainly, unintentional bumping is part of bike racing.) What about pushing us or headbutting us? (I’m serious, he asked this. I said that while I’d never felt the need to push or headbutt anybody in a race myself, we were there to race our bikes and we know what we’re getting into. In hindsight, though, it sounds like a threat and I wish I’d had a better response.)
So, three things:
1) The rest of the field? You guys are awesome. Thanks for the race.
2) I’m considering a personal mission to beat him in a race. Or two. Or three…
3) If you ever see me go flying off to the road in a P/1/2 race, check his helmet for scraps of my jersey, will you?