By Tom Rohrer
For over thirty years, the CBC Racing of Olympia has promoted the sport within Thurston County and surrounding areas. With well over a 100 members, the club’s racing team allows for cycling enthusiasts to get together to train, compete and partake in a social ride.
While the club has seen an increase in participation every year, women’s membership has failed to peak, surprising due to the immense amount of terrific cycling opportunities in the area, and the camaraderie and support offered by the group.
“Cycling is a great way to meet other people who enjoy cycling and the competitive edge cycling gives,” said Lauren Cramer, the Cat 4 Rep for the Olympia Orthopaedic Associates/CBC Racing team. “It gives motivation to go out and ride hard. The ladies like to race hard, and then socialize and talk. There’s a lot of support.”
To help encourage more women to join the group, the club will be hosting three ladies only rides in September and October.
The first will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 25, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Olympia Farmers market. On Saturday, Sept. 29, another ride will begin at 10 a.m., starting at Tumwater Falls Park. The following weekend, on Sunday, Oct. 7, another ride will begin at Tumwater Falls, again at 10 a.m. Each ride will be around an hour and half long and two hours, a perfect opportunity for women riders to get together and connect with local cyclist.
“It’s like a meet and greet, basically a meet and ride,” Cramer said. “We want to teach them how to ride in group style pace line. Most beginners are more comfortable in a group and can go faster and longer than individually. It’s a great social experience.”
The club also serves as a great way for inexperienced competition riders to learn tactics that can help lead to better finishes in organized events.
“People learn how to race, pass and everything else you would need to do in a race or event,” Cramer said. “With more experience, you get stronger, more confident and that allows you to eventually upgrade your level.”
Cramer, a Category 3 racer, says the group’s environment is perfect for beginners who may initially feel intimidated when joining a club. Participating in competitions is encouraged, but by no means is required.
“When I started, I thought I wouldn’t be fast enough,” Cramer said. “But I was surprised at how fun it was and how well I did. There are those in the beginning level, intermediate, etc. It’s for all skill levels.”
“You don’t have to race,” Cramer said. “But we want more women that are willing to come out and ride and make the squad bigger. Eventually, people want to race as their skills and strength increase.”
For more information on the Introduction to Women’s Cycling with Olympia Orthopaedic Associates/CBC Racing Team, call Michelle at 360-480-0196