Ladies and Mountain Bikes

I participated in a mountain bike race in Tunchang, Hainan, China, I believe February before last.

Elenamary in Tunchang, Hainan International Mountain Bike Race

Elenamary in Tunchang, Hainan              International Mountain Bike Race

There were to be prizes for the top finishers in the men and women’s categories. At some point during the day, it was decided that the prize money that was originally to be awarded to the 3 first placing women would be given instead to the men.    They then added on the amount of money and the number of places that would be given prizes in the men’s categories thus completely eliminating any prize for the women.  As annoying, as it was, it was not my country nor culture, and I was pleased enough to have been invited to compete.

I received an invite earlier this week to be a spectator in Taxco, Mexico (my hometown) for the Down Hill Taxco 2012 mountain bike race at the beginning of November.  It looked so awesome that I messaged the organizers and asked if there was still room to compete and if not could I at least volunteer.  I received a response back that competition was by invitation only and nothing to my question about volunteering.   It seemed odd to me, and so I messaged back and asked how many women had been invited to participate.  In fact I have now messaged them a total of 6 times asking how many women have been invited to participate without a single response.  I’m guessing the answer is that zero women were invited, and zero will compete.  Here is a promotional youtube video of the race a few years ago, when it was then sponsored by Red Bull beverage.  The only pictures or videos I have ever seen of women participating were of women scantly dressed as Red Bull cheerleaders or as beauty queens for the competition.  What are the men afraid of that they won’t even invite a woman to compete?

I am going to re write this in Spanish and send this to the organizers in Mexico, letting them know that yes mountain bike racing in China was sexiest but at least they never stopped us ladies from participating.