Home > cycling, General rambling, women's cycling > Why I’m not ranting more right now

Why I’m not ranting more right now

It’s a weird time right now, and I’m reminded of something that’s come and gone a lot for me in the last year – why I’m not more outraged about women’s cycling.

So, it’s the Tour Down Under in Australia.  When they announced this, and Cadel’s race, I was really pissed off that they weren’t UCI races, and that there are no UCI races at all in Australia, so their riders have to go overseas to get points to qualify for the Worlds and Olympics (and it’s SO much more expensive for Aussies to get to UCI races than eg for Brits).  And now there’s a ton of conversation on twitter about how outrageous it is that there’s no live coverage of the women’s race, while the men’s race is bigged up everywhere.

And I agree, absolutely I agree, but I’m in this strange place right now.  It’s January, I have my usual SAD and life has been punching me in the face this month.  I’m exhausted, and I’ve got to that stage where getting angry about cycling doesn’t help me, it just makes me feel worse.  And honestly, I don’t know what I can do about it.  I’ve been writing about women’s cycling for years, and I still don’t know how to effect the slightest change.  So I’m focusing on pulling together posts of videos and photos and such, and celebrating what we have, because right now, that’s what I can do.

But by doing this, am I part of the problem?  Am I letting races off the hook and pretending everything’s A-OK?  Have I been dragged down into accepting how things are when I should be speaking up and using my tiny corner of the internet to call for more?  I just don’t know.  When I pull together video posts, it’s to promote what we do have, but am I papering over cracks?  I honestly don’t know, and of course the overthinking doesn’t help.  I guess the fact I’m not doing the podcasts with Dan, while he’s taking the winter off, means I’m not having that regular ranting spot that helped me, because it was in the context of a wider conversation, so it wasn’t just focusing on negatives.

Anyway.  If you have thoughts, let me know – and if anyone wants to write a guest blog with the videos of the Tour Femenino de San Luis in them, I’d love that too.  I didn’t have the energy to follow that race, and check out the videos there are, it was really easy to.  I’m gutted I missed it, but real life etc…

  1. Megster
    January 18, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    Firstly, you HAVE and ARE doing a lot.

    Second, don’t feel like you have to carry pro women’s racing on your back alone.

    Third, have you read this article by Robin Farina and Jannel Holcomb http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/road/commentary-march-toward-equality-doesnt-slow_358400 Hook up with them!

  2. Alan
    January 18, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    I totally agree with Megster’s comment above. You do a huge amount for the sport but don’t feel you have to carry the whole burden of driving the sport forward.

    Do what you can but don’t overstrain yourself because the cycling scene without you would be a much bleaker, poorer and less appealing place!

    If you have to pick between promotion and ranting, I would say promotion is the better (although best would not be exclusively promotion) because it should attract more people to the sport, who when they see the inequality of tv coverage etc can voice their criticism which should help drive the change the sport requires. I appreciate this may be naive but the world would be a much darker place if we always moaned!

  3. Fredmantis
    January 19, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Sarah you do so much. You can leave thre ranting to us for now, you deserve a break. I think you should take a leaf out of Dan’s book and take a break. Whilst I certainly value all the work you’ve done over the summer/winter/off-season I certainly value your long term enthusiasm and live of the sport more and would be more than happy for you to take a break. You’ve earned it so many times over. Taking a break from ranting is the least you can do.

    Stay healthy and don’t let the buggers get you down.

  4. 96Gold
    January 19, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Sarah – As stated above, don’t beat yourself up. As a former US olympic swimmer, it would often bother me that men’s meets were so better attended than our own. For many years I was angry and worked hard to make sure our sport had equal exposure. I spent every opportunity talking to young girls about competing; but they really don’t care about that.

    But in the end I had the realization that if we want that equality, that women are themselves the problem. The average woman is not a sports fan, and doesn’t really care that much about watching and supporting. And don’t get me wrong, women love to compete, but the majority of those that compete don’t really like watching. (I’m not talking about grandmothers, mothers and sisters watching us-that’s fan-ship is because they are family.) I’ve often asked my mom, sisters and female friends and they’ve stated they wouldn’t watch if it wasn’t me competing.

    Men on the other hand like to compete, but far more men like to be sports fans. It’s a basic numbers game.

    It’s not men that are at fault, so let’s not beat up on them. Fighting so hard to get equal exposure will fail as in the end we will never gets the number of fans behind us. Fan numbers, equals advertising sponsors, equals the exposure and equality we all want.

    If we want more exposure/equality, we need to work on ourselves first.

    • Sarah Connolly
      January 20, 2015 at 9:42 pm

      I don’t agree, though. I was a kid in SE London going to the Crystal Palace AAA athletics meets and I loved it. I adored athletics and it wasn’t just the boys running – it was who had the personality. Hell, I can remember my mum and dad (before they divorced) arguing about Seb Coe v Steve Ovett. And to me, that’s what I love about cycling, the personalities like Emma Pooley and Lizzie Armitstead etc etc etc – and I love that about the sport – the social aspect, you know?

  5. Natalia
    January 20, 2015 at 2:11 am

    It’s OK to take a break (and sounds like you need one, is not in you not to follow a race if possible). Just look at the many “how to watch” posts, podcasts, interviews, blog entries, twitter feeds, etc., you have done so far. That’s a LOT. And then you got to go through the same old frustrations over and over again, and you find you are just too tired to be outraged.

    You don’t have to engage with every outraged conversation the twitterati is having at the moment. Put your “Gone fishing (or whatever it is you enjoy doing)” sign, go get those rant batteries charged, and come back serving cocktails of kudos+rants.

    • Sarah Connolly
      January 20, 2015 at 9:38 pm

      Thank you, it really makes a difference – I worry that if I don’t talk about races, people are disappointed etc. But you’re right, it’s the same thing over & over… here’s to the season starting again…

      • Natalia
        January 21, 2015 at 1:42 am

        Please tell the disappointees to go find someone that knows the stuff and cares this much (with so much passion) for women’s pro cycling and then get back to me. I mean, you type anything related to women’s cycling on search engines and this web address always pops up. In your face UCI.😀

        On other note, I found rants with a pinch of irony and humor makes them a little more enjoyable, also, it helps to cover some of the bitterness.

        Anyway, Cheers! let the WTF 2015 season roll!

  6. GB
    January 27, 2015 at 4:44 am

    I had no idea you wrote this post and I feel bad for missing it for so long. Honestly, I think taking a break is a really good idea and getting guest posts in for the TDU worked out well.

    When there is a nigh-constant stream of frustration and nihilism on Twitter etc and this pressure from all sides that someone MUST do something to change things NOW why aren’t YOU doing it?, it has an impact on people’s ability to deal with the shitty parts of things they otherwise love. It’s almost impossible to build up resilience in that kind of environment.

    I don’t want people to sugar-coat the situation, but in my usual haunts (which, don’t get me wrong, are incredibly unpleasant for women at times and have severe issues) this kind of discourse has gotten so pervasive and severe that I don’t think some people even realise there are women in it who are doing well or at least okay, because all of the attention has been turned onto the ways they’re being screwed over. Even the guides I’ve seen for women wanting to get involved have lately being along the lines of ‘here is a list of the ways this field will demean, underpay, frustrate and endanger you’. There’s nothing about what they’re achieving, their thoughts on things besides ‘how she’s been victimised today’, how things are changing (or trying to change), nothing except how awful it is to be a woman. It’s bonkers and terrible.

    I could understand and appreciate the rage I saw on Twitter, but your blog was where I found out HOW I could watch these races, who everyone was and how fantastic they all are. Papering over cracks? Shit no! What you do is just as important as the indignation, probably more so in a way. If anyone is seriously mad at you for choosing to highlight women’s racing and taking steps not to wind up in a perpetual angry haze, they can go pick their nose with a hex key imho.

    • GB
      January 27, 2015 at 4:46 am

      (sorry, for clarification, ‘my usual haunts’ in second paragraph referred to my interests outside cycling)

    • Simon E
      January 29, 2015 at 9:17 pm

      +1 to lots of the comments here, but especially what GB has written.

      Sometimes a change is as good as a rest, and in the end you have to do what’s best for your own sanity. No guilt.

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