Calling all Ladies

Think hard for a minute here:  what is missing from the self-supported racing genre?  I’m talking about the ones that take more than a day, where you are way out there with overnight gear.  I can count on one hand the # of ladies I’m aware of who have done (2 of them out there at it right now – go Mary, go Jen!)  such efforts.

Why is this?  There may be arguments for wild critters like bear, mountain lions and the like being higher on the foodchain out there – but really?  I think it has more to do with the accessibility to this type of education in remote places:

Seriously, it was all crystal clear to me last fall when Ion and I were shot at and harassed by drunken rednecks on ATVs for 2 hours in the night.  That experience will forever change how I choose where to camp.  I hate to think how that would have gone down for a lone gal…

I have a solution. 

Introducing the 2-person self-supported team category.

What is it?  Teams of 2 can race self-supported events, where all the standard rules apply to the team.  IOW, teamates can help each other any way they see fit – dividing up gear, sharing gear, telling each other they look marvelous, whatever.  The team must still be self-supported.  They don’t have to stick together at all times – it’s up to them how they handle that.  But each member must cover all the course, and the finishing time granted the team is that of the last to finish.

Some motivations for this would be…

  • rider safety
  • removing (at least minimizing) the concern for personal safety among female racers
  • creating an environment where those lucky few that work better together than apart can do so and not be penalized for it…
  • I want to do Trans Utah with Lynda as my partner.

Trans Utah will have such a category.

So…calling all ladies!  If the issues mentioned here have been holding you back…tell your partner to start training and join us this fall.

I know there are some fast gals out there in the endurance world :)

Good luck at the Firecracker Sarah!

33 replies on “Calling all Ladies”

  1. I think the added moral/psychological benefit would enormous given the right partnership. This ends up happening a lot anyway.

    TUt will be sweet. Not for me, this year.

  2. Lions, and tigers, and bears..,not especially frightening,,,,it’s the humans that scare me more for sure! Great you are doing the two person category!!! I’d do it this year but Little Tyke will only count for about a half a person this October. Gotta wait until Trans Utah 2009!

  3. I think it’s a great idea!

    That pic of Lynda and Sarah got me thinking……..those two could make a heck of a team!


  4. This sort of thing happens amongst folks in the event I put on, Trans Iowa, (although, admittedly, we do not have lions, tigers, and bears). We do have “rednecks” a plenty though.

    Anyway, this is a stellar idea and probably would prod a lot of gals into trying this sort of thing out. Then who knows? Maybe you’ll get gals wanting to actually do it solo.

  5. What about the slow gals who would rather do it solo? Can we play, too?

    I like my partner and all, but he’s too fast for me. Plus, I think he’s decided he hates biking.

    Still, you + Lynda = Unstoppable. GDMBR next year for you two?

  6. Jill, your self-deprecating manner is fooling nobody anymore! … Of course, anyone can do one of these events solo. That’s the standard and gender doesn’t *politically* get in the way. The 2 person team cat is in addition to the standard solo field. You’re thinking of coming out for it? That’d be super.

    In fact, this 2 person category doesn’t specifically say anything about gender. It could be 2 gals, 2 guys.

    GDR…hmmmm….still thinking. Every year I get excited for the first week of it, and then I see how much nearly everyone breaks down and it doesn’t look so attractive. I love racing bikes and would hate to lose that. As for Lynda, her wee ones are 5 and 8 and it’s hard to imagine her feeling good about leaving them behind for close to a month. But who knows?

    Geoff will heal up and feel good in time…but he still might not want to bike. Hope he does and we see you both in Oct.

  7. I have been kicking around riding what looks like an awesome Trans Utah route. What a great way to see my home state. My big difficulty would be the route finding – which would be improved if I could convince Geoff to hang around with me. Even still, I do have one of those GPS thingies. I used to do long backpack trips in the Swell so I could probably find a way to survive out there should I get lost. But I’m also no longer acclimated to all that nasty heat and elevation.

    Anyhow, I’m really thrilled to see you putting this together. Maybe we’ll see you in October!

  8. Jill – I’ll be providing a GPS track of the route. One of the aspects of the Grand Loop Race that bugs me is lack of a defined route. It isn’t well marked, and I couldn’t find any complete maps for it at the detail required to traverse it in entirety. Navigation should not be an issue for those with a GPS and the knowledge of it’s use.

    As for Geoff sticking around – being a fall event where most folks have had their fill of racing already, it’s completely in good form to do TU with the goal of having fun rather than pinning it. In fact, if a rider was to do a lot of this route in the dark they would be missing out. It is truly spectacular country!

    The motivation for doing these epics can take many forms – all (well most, anyway) of them good.

  9. Yes Brendan Trans Utah will be on gears for me. FS too. In fact, now I have scouted probably half of the course with Dave I have to say I’ll be absolutely amazed by anyone finishing it on an SS.

  10. Good idea. I like that and hell I saw the movie Deliverance so it ain’t just the girls who should be scared. But I’m clueless on the TransUtah. I thought you said 2009 earlier, will it be held in 2008?

  11. Matt – I hear ya there! Utah is mostly decent folk but there are probably some deliverance types lurking out there. is the most relevant post about TU plans. Oct 3, it will take about 3-4 days this year. So, yes it’s happening! No super formal announcement yet but you can plan on Oct 3 for a start date. Haven’t yet decided the start time but it could be 3 AM…

  12. Lynda- actually I meant “gears turning in my head” by that one! ;-)
    As in… “wow, two person self-supported racing?! Can it get any cooler?!”

    Mary & I used to race two person 12 & 24 hrs, which was really, really fun. The idea of doing a multi-day race as a duo is very appealing. Of course, that all depends on me finding some gal who’d want to ride with me. ;-) The second half of ’08 for me is about getting into some kind of decent riding shape… building bikes, riding, less beer, etc. All I can say is this sounds like fun!

  13. Jill~ If Geoff doesn’t wanna come down. I’d be down if you wanna wait up for me….

    Oct 3rd okie dokie!

    Can’t wait…… Matt Lee after doing the Co Trail Race was like it sould be made a rule no lights so you can see it all… I’ll be planning to carry just my camp light for this ride…

    So Excited!

  14. Jill – You should come and do TU for sure. You can stay at my house and camp in my backyard if you find my futon too comfy ;-) Shoot me a note anytime

    Brendan – yah I was JK – messing with words. We were just back from the Paunsaugunt where I rode gears and FS and was hugely thankful I had both of them. TU has some sections like a massive steep climb (think 6+hour and 6+k climb) followed by techy single-track that would be a really hard combo on an SS. The 6k climb has views that will knock you off your bike to take photos and is fabulous. You and Mary should stay at my house too. It will be a party. Mary seems flexible with her sleeping arrangements these days…

  15. since trish and i rode together in the inaugural GDR, we’ve talked about what a team category would look like for multi-day self-support. in the end, we both believed they (duos) needed to stay together (within 30min of each other) if the team concept was to deliver the added challenge of “averaging the effort neatly btwn the two riders”. there are great challenges in each rider managing exertion in multi-day duo format (just as hard, even, for the faster rider). it might even be argued it’s harder, more challenging than riding solo (read: interpersonal dynamics, et al.).

    DH, i’m glad you’re proposing it, as i have elected to keep my mouth shut with my controversial divide racing course evolution push being too much for the conservative to handle anyway. i have to give simon k. (currently racing the GDR) some credit for jumping on me about it as well). duo is in the TD think tank but the prob is that with duo you kind of need 3 categories: women, men, mixed. that begs to question if it’s not going to water things down overall.

  16. Slowerthensnot:
    I do still think of a concept in which “no lights” (or at least no light beyond a certain low-cadlepower) would be workable. i believe in the principle of forcing people to max on daylight only, then sleep, making for fast day riding and an advantage to those with excellent dusk vision…but i’m not sure an endurance scene rooted in night riding would go for it.

    it would perhaps just have to be implemented/purveyed as “natures stage racing”. each stage lasts from sun-up to sun-down. no exceptions.

  17. ML – interesting thoughts and thanks for chiming in. I know exactly what you mean by the interpersonal dynamics. Having done a few stage races with LW there are obvious times when one is having a rough time while the other is all smiles. I haven’t discussed the concept with anyone other than LW, so you could say I’m doing it in a vacuum ;)

    The notion of gender classes, 30 min max gaps and the like – really imply a full bore race intent. TU I’d prefer to think of as more of an adventure than a race. There will likely be some folks that show up with their game face and good lights, and that’s great. But the 2 person format is more about opening up the adventure to those that might not otherwise see it as possible.

    That’s the beauty of this genre. It’s pursuit can have completely differing motivations between riders. This year the 2 person format at TU will be non-gender based and minimal rules will apply. We’ll see where it goes from there! But I’m anti-rule in general.

    Also, I think TD is a huge sucess, and congrats for rocking it yet again. It also seems that TD isn’t controversial, the *advertising* of TD is controversial. One outsiders opinion.

  18. for most of the past several weeks i had just kind of assumed there was no way i was still going to ride T.utah this year but my bittersweet gdr experience has left me much more anxious to be on my bike than i anticipated. perhaps if i can talk jill into waiting around for me each morning so i can get my 10 hours of sleep (i’m beginning to wonder here if i’m ever going to sleep less than 10 hours a night :) we’ll ride it as a team. that actually sounds really fun. the big question for me is whether i can possibly fit in enough biking between now and then to be able to do what i’m sure will be a very difficult ride. at some point here i need to come to terms with the fact that mixing running and biking is doable but perhaps not to the extent that i’m trying to do it this year… sure is fun trying though.

  19. I’d never given an October trip to Utah serious thought before, but I’m kind of getting excited about it now.

    If for no other reason, because October is awesome in the desert and awful in Juneau. Multi-day mountain bike tour is even better. Especially since there will be GPS tracks for the hopelessly direction-challenged, and a genuinly adventure-esque outlook on the whole ride. The timing also is good for an early-season training ride. I’ll be checking in often for more details about TU, as I know very little about it right now. But – tentatively – count me in!

    If I finish or drop out in good time, I can even do the annual Grand Canyon hike with my Dad! (Said another Alaskan whose eyes are bigger than her legs.)

    Now I just need to talk Geoff into the trip. I may have to buy the plane ticket for him for “Christmas.” And Geoff, I don’t mind sleeping 10 hours each night, as long as those hours are between 2 a.m. and noon.

    Holy cow, I have a lot of gear I need to buy!

  20. jill, you don’t have any gear you need to buy as long as i give you back all of your things that i used for the gdr. I just can’t believe that you are are seriously thinking about this ride. not that i’m trying to talk you out of it, i’m sure it’ll be a really mellow ride anyway (not hardly). the funniest thing is the fact that we are having this conversation on dave/lynda’s blog rather than just planning it with each other.

  21. Jill & Geoff – sounds like you’re in to me ;) I’ll earmark one of my spare bedrooms for you. Haven’t planned all the details yet, but was thinking of doing a group vehicle shuttle to the end of the route on Thurs (the 2nd I think). If you fly in I guess that isn’t a concern?

  22. I’m late to this game (haven’t checked this blog in a while), but I think this is an excellent idea. The first year I attempted the KTR, I rode in close proximity with my SO, Jesper due to my fears about wacko men. Although I carried all my own gear and never had Jepser help me with anything, I didn’t finish and felt like I’d “cheated” anyway since I was supposed to be completely solo. Last year, I did ride the KTR completely solo but I must admit I was frightened a few times I rode past groups of ATV guys camped out:

    “Here comes some completely exhausted female – let’s get her!”

    Nothing bad actually happened, but I am still uncomfortable with being out there completely alone. I’m not happy that I’m uncomfortable, but it is a sad reality of our world.

    I’m not sure if Jesper and I can fit TU into our schedules this year, but perhaps with planning, 2009 is a possibility. Thanks for coming up with this idea!

  23. Hi all… Neat thread!

    I’m big into self-supported events, too, and write about them often at my big ol’ website of DIY action, Sadly, I write mainly as agent provocateur as I’m no longer racing—run a biz, have kids, am broke. Still, I do plenty of local solo, self-supported “just for fun” adventure of the “pretty far out there” type, so I keep my hand in.

    I didn’t read all the posts here, but, offhand, it seems as though such events are already “open” in terms of teams, informal or not. Unless some have mandatory rules about what each rider has to carry? I suppose the winter survival-type events do. But even in those there’s no rule against drafting and pacing and teamwork, right? I’m not sure there needs to be a team cat to complicate things. Let teams gel as they please! Why limit them to 2-person? Let folks share whatever gear they like, how they like.

    Being a guy alone out in the shrubbery can get awful spooky, too. Americans are very drunk and wild people. Hazardous. Desperate. I’m not sure about the actually violent aspect, but I don’t want to find out. I do know that when I wander in the Michigan boonies, once it gets dark most of the time someone starts a screaming drunk fit within earshot. A lovely people. Revving engines, fireworks and gunfire are often added to the special cultural mix. I’ve had some decent chats with these folks, though, and even persuaded a quiet-hour out of them. Still…you need to stay relaxed, keep your ears peeled, don’t panic, don’t get too paranoid, even though in many places it does seem like you’d be on your own even in terms of the law. Local law will tend to side with local power—I’ve had boonie campground owners get mad at me when I tell them the next day that I found a free place to tent—I could see them trying to get cash out of you in tricky ways for passing thru their territory no matter what—you’re the interloper “using” the scene that they think they’re trying to build up.

    Anyway, boy or girl, the buddy system is a VERY SMART one.

    I do lots of local paddle adventure, too—the buddy system is even smarter there. Same with remote winter fun.

    I’m personally looking forward to a self-supported Trans-Am, paved. No holds barred.

    The current record stands at 14 days, from 1958. Richard Berg. It might even be apocryphal. Go for it!

  24. aiye aiye aiye! So much goes on when you’re separated from the world. So Brendan is posting up about doing a duo while I’m in the middle of TD. AIGHHH! I’ve got some catching up to do with this one. I just have to explain to my work why they need to give me even more days off after taking off for a MONTH! I think it’s time to get out on the SS with Brendan and do some hammer rides. As far as the rednecks go, I think I’ll continue to carry my bear spray – very effective in NM! :)

  25. Also, I’m pretty flattered that the word “Fast” linked to me – During TD, Stephen G and I referred to ourselves at the tortoise and the hare and I wasn’t the hare!

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