I'm hosting a women's meeting tonight in attempt to pool our resources and get some commitment from the ladies to have elite level racing on Friday nights. I know, it's January and what am I doing thinking about track racing now when it's a summer sport? Well my hope is that we get enough women excited about track racing that they come out during the regular season and race.
It's been an ongoing struggle to get the ladies out at the track. Last season we had 33 category 4 women show up - definitely a record! But the leap to Cat 3 seemed to have an enormous crevasse between the two. Because we didn't have enough elite women showing up, we were forced to race with the men. Personally I find racing with the men an amazing workout and forces you to be on your game. But for a lot of the women out there - racing with the men sounded too daunting so they wouldn't show up. Two years ago I was the lone woman racing with the men at the end of the season. Three years ago we had women's racing on Friday nights and a solid group of 10 showing up.
What to do?
Putting my own ambitions and desires aside, having a women's field is important. Especially if they want to grow the field and the depth of the women. But having the ladies show up has been a struggle - it seems only a handful of women want to be competitive and strive to get better. I've found the only way to do that is to race with people who are better and stronger than you. Maybe I'm looking at it from the wrong angle - but there has to be some way to get our elite level numbers up.
At the same time, I'm happy racing with the men. At least I know they will have a field that is the closest to elite national size. There's a big difference between racing with 8 women of mixed ability and 18+ cat 3 men. Last year I tried racing in both categories but found myself frustrated with the disparity between the two groups.
Hopefully tonight we'll come up with some viable options and make them work this year. It'd be nice to give the ladies who just upgraded from Cat 4 a chance to race and get better in a cat 3 field. And maybe come up with some ideas to keep the national level racers happy as well.
If you have any suggestions - please let me know.