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Undaunted Mentorship, a new mentorship and training program for aspiring female road cyclists, is open for applications.
The new project, which is supported by Specialized, aims to support 20 women who are interested in a professional road cycling career. The mentorship program will run from December 2022 until March 2023 and will focus on training, connecting, and elevating female road cyclists in North America.
Kara Lilly, a Canadian road pro, is one of the founders of the program. She said that her own experience trying to swim upstream into pro cycling inspired the mission.
“I had very little support when I first came onto the pro scene,” Lilly wrote on social media. “I made plenty of mistakes, occasionally worked with the wrong people, and generally just didn’t know what I didn’t know. I look back on the worst moments of my development and both laugh and cringe.
“While I was fortunate to have some belonging and help through the Homestretch Foundation (thank goodness), in retrospect, I needed a lot more mentorship. I still do. This is the case for a LOT of women coming up in cycling’s ranks.
“You arrive as a newly minted cat 2 and unless you already have a killer network (or you’re lucky enough to be 16 and in a great development program), there’s just so much you don’t know and no one around who can show you. And plenty of hurdles, heartbreaks and challenges that will be in your way. It can feel shockingly lonely.
“For all these reasons, some of us this year decided to do something about it. We convinced some AMAZING humans and athletes to start a mentorship program. Made for women, by women, with the support of some amazing community champions and companies.”
How Undaunted Mentorship works
Women may apply to the program from now until 8 p.m. EST on November 11. 20 athletes will be selected to participate in the four-month long private mentorship.
Ideally, candidates are athletes who are already actively racing on the road.
The program will be led by 11 mentors, which include current and former professional road cyclists, as well as an expert nutritionist. Mentees will participate in three to four Zoom calls each month where mentors will speak to specific topics and answer questions.
Mentees will also have access to an online networking group, as well as bike, gear, nutrition, and financial support through program partners Specialized and The Feed.
“We are looking for athletes with deep interest in growing in the sport of road cycling, who also demonstrate integrity, kindness, commitment and a team spirit through their actions,” Lilly said. “There are no age or category requirements. However, we do require our athletes to act with and sign a conduct code that outlines certain standards, including (but not limited to) no doping.”
There is no cost to program participants.