The (women’s) weekly dirt: Deanna Mayles and Paige Onweller, Breakfast with Boz, and race-day childcare
A special edition of the weekly roundup of what's happening in the off-road.
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Hello and Happy International Women’s day!
For the past two years, we’ve been covering International Women’s Day at VeloNews, and each year I write an intro letter in which I both celebrate and temper the hype of this ‘holiday.’
On one hand — women, cycling, perseverance, success, hell yes.
On the other — women, cycling, perseverance, success, no shit!
What I’ve landed on is this: it’s important to highlight women in cycling because of the lopsided history in their access to the sport, as well as the inadequate storytelling around it. However, it’s perhaps more meaningful to make opportunity, access, and media coverage the rule, not the exception. Women in cycling are not an initiative — we are simply here.
Hope you enjoy today’s Weekly Dirt and the week of special women’s coverage.
Paige Onweller signs with Trek
Paige Onweller, winner of last year’s Big Sugar Gravel race, is making some major life changes in 2023.
The 33-year-old has decided to put her career in medicine on hold to pursue professional bike racing. An emergency room Physician’s Assistant for eight years, Onweller said in an interview recently that her win in Bentonville last October simply reinforced an inkling she already had.
“There was a fear component of, ‘what am I doing quitting my day job and riding bikes?’ But after I won Big Sugar, it just validated that decision even more.
“I also recognize that my days being a PA are not over. There’s no timestamp on when you can practice medicine, but there is a timestamp for how competitive I can be at a professional level. And so for me, I’m not choosing bikes over my career; I’m just pausing my career and making bikes a priority for now.”
This winter, Onweller signed on as the newest member of Trek’s all-surface “Driftless” program, joining former Trek-Segafredo pros Kiel Reijnen and Ruth Winder and former Unbound Gravel winner Amity Rockwell.
Onweller’s 2023 calendar includes Life Time Grand Prix, as well as some road races; however her goals extend beyond podium positions.
“I want to win because I’m competitive, but I also want to win because I see that there’s a platform that could be developed that could impact other people. And for me that impact on other people is far greater reward than an individual win,” she said.
Rapha Film Fund application period opens
The application period for the Rapha Film Fund is now open and will close on April 4 at 12 p.m. GMT.
From the brand: “We encourage any aspiring filmmakers with an inspiring story about a life lived by bike to send us their pitch.” The theme? “Living life by bike.”
The $25,000 award is open to filmmakers based in the USA who think they have an idea that could the focus of Rapha’s next short film. As part of the fund, the grantee will receive mentorship from Rapha’s Head of Editorial and Chris Lowe of Voyager who directed the short film ‘In Tandem’ about L39ION of Los Angeles’ Williams, Schneider, and Ryan siblings.
Applicants need to submit three things: their film idea in a sentence, a short synopsis, and a creative statement. Five shortlisted candidates will then be invited to submit a more comprehensive pitch. Rapha welcomes in particular submissions from groups who are underrepresented in the film industry
Breakfast with Boz podcast highlights ‘The Storytellers of Cycling’
This is not a shameless plug, I promise. However, I was honored to be a part of this special monthlong run of interviews on the Breakfast with Boz podcast.
In celebration of women’s month, Ian Boswell handed the mic to photographer Dominique Powers to conduct a series of interviews with four ‘storytellers of cycling.’ I’m still not sure how they picked me, but I know exactly why Dominique interviewed broadcaster Orla Chennaoui and photographers Linda Guerrette and Jojo Harper.
Tune in all month to hear us talk about what it’s like to tell stories about bikes and the people who ride them.
Deanna Mayles joins Velocio, sets signs on the Life Time Grand Prix
When Deanna Mayles signed up for her first race, the inaugural Pikes Peak APEX, a four-day mountain bike stage race, she registered two days beforehand, borrowed a co-worker’s bike, and showed up on flat pedals, with no expectations. Yet, she finished in 10th place, surprising a field full of seasoned veterans. More importantly, she surprised herself.
In 2021, she raced again, finishing fifth. Last year, Mayles was second in Colorado Springs. Then, a few weeks later, the quality engineer at SRAM took second place at marathon mountain bike nationals, behind seasoned pro Erin Huck and in front of Olympian Lea Davison.
Now Mayles has her sights set on professional mountain bike racing and the Life Time Grand Prix. “I don’t know what being a pro means. Is it your USAC category? Is it making a living?” she says. “All I know is that I can compete at this level.”
Marley Blonsky to host Biking for Big People workshop
Marley Blonsky, co-founder of All Bodies on Bikes, the group dedicated to making a more body size inclusive cycling community, is hosting a one-of-a-kind workshop.
The Biking for Big People Workshop will be held virtually at 7 p.m. CST on April 4. For 1.5 hours, Blonsky will educate and answer questions related to buying bikes and bike apparel, comfort and technique on the bike, group rides, and more.
The workshop costs $50 and will be recorded.
FoCo Fondo offers race-day childcare
For the second year in a row, the FoCo Fondo will offer race-day childcare.
The FoCo Fondo is a gravel race held on July 23 in Fort Collins, Colorado. It’s extremely community-minded, which is why co-founder Whitney Allison felt that offering childcare might encourage riders who may otherwise be unable to attend.
The event is partnering with Sunshine House at CSU for childcare for children ages 6 months to 12 years old. There will be two options for race day to accommodate parents wishing to do different length routes and paces.
Option 1: 6am-12pm. $70 first child, $50 second child (sibling), $40 third child (sibling). Breakfast included.
Option 2: 6am-4pm. $120 first child, $80 second child (sibling), $60 third child (sibling). Breakfast, lunch, and small afternoon snack included.
New for 2023, there is also a limited needs-based childcare grant.