• Tue May 13 2008
  • Posted May 13, 2008
According to USA Cycling, when it comes to the sale of annual licenses men outnumber women nearly 20 to 1. This is why in a sport that is dominated by men it is always a pleasant sight to see the emergence of a new women’s team. This year the Midwestern states will be inundated by the Punk Rock Cycling Women’s Team based out of Iowa. This group of women will not only be taking the start line at some of our toughest races in the Midwest they’ll also be bringing a fresh outlook to our sport. We had a few words with team director Donny Quixote about the PRC squad. How did the team start? It really started with Jennifer. She was working as a bike messenger in Chicago, trying to get started in school, and just getting completely burnt out when she added in weekend racing. Her potential is off the charts but the day-to-day grind to pay the rent was just wearing her down. Jennifer has been a great friend to me so it hurt to see her struggle as much as she was. She really wanted to dig in and see if she had what it takes to make it to a pro team, but being a broke college kid with no real cycling resume, she needed support- A LOT OF SUPPORT! I knew a few guys who might be interested in helping and I’ve gathered some great contacts in the cycling industry so I told her I’d do my best to get her fully sponsored. From there Jen asked for Jane and Jane asked for Maria and Maria asked for Emily and so on. It just kind of evolved. Who’s the team star? At this point we could roll the dice on that question. Jane is the most experienced and has a closet full of first place trophies but all six girls are so committed and work so hard, I wouldn’t be surprised to see any one of them really break out of the shell. What are the team goals for the 08 season? This is where we stray a little bit from other regional squads. While getting to races and landing some podiums is always on the radar the overall goal is to play our part in getting more women interested in cycling. I’ve been involved in bike racing for a decade now and it seems like every race I go to is a testosterone-fest. Just piles upon piles of dudes who overly competitive weekend warriors (I’m admittedly guilty to be one of them)… and it’s no surprise that scene is not inviting to women at all. Yeah, racing needs to be competitive or it wouldn’t be racing… but for a lot of women to feel comfortable it needs to be fun first. Results are secondary. It’s our goal to show women how much fun bike racing can be and then let them become as competitive as they’d like. How do you plan to do that? We’re hosting just as many parties as we are bike races. We’re hosting clinics and demo rides. We’ve even started a weekly ride in Des Moines on Wednesday nights that is a bit slower- yet challenging, focused on women- but men are encouraged to join. And the response has been huge! Women from all over want to get involved and they’re intrigued by the idea of racing their bike, they just don’t want to be thrown into a race where they’ll be instantly measured up. Sometimes people need to be massaged into racing their bike… our social activities gives PRC the chance to play the masseuse. What’s your role as team director? Like any man who is constantly surrounded by six women… my job is to shut up, listen, and provide! Kidding. All the women on this team are leaders; they are very smart and very capable. They understand far greater what will motivate and give other women the motivation they need to race their bike. My job is to remove as much of the mundane busy-work as possible so they can do what they do best: train, race, and inspire others to do the same. If that means my job is acquiring sponsorships and managing the budget, so be it. If that means filling bottles and cleaning bikes then I’ll be doing that too. So what makes this team so punk rock? Are they punk rock in the sense that they’re underage, broke, speed freaks who are rebelling against they parents and looking to get drunk before they go #### something up? No. These girls are punk rock in the sense that they’re a DIY minority focused on changing the status quo. They don’t want to be the top- they just want to level the top. What is everyone riding? Each girl on the team will be using the Specialized S-Works Ruby, their top tier race rig designed just for women. The bikes are equipped with Shimano DuraAce components and wheels. From there we’ve set them up with Specialized Designs for Women shoes, saddles, and helmets. Plus we’re using the newest women-specific sport eyewear from Oakley. What races do you have on the calendar? We’ve got a three pronged calendar. First we have focus on the home races and do our part in making sure there as many women as possible. So we’re planning to attend the Iowa Cup, a series consisting of 8 races and two state championships. Secondly we have a series of races we’re hosting, 5 weeknight criteriums, 3 duathlons, 2 cyclocross races, our own version of Goldsprints, and an alley cat for charity. Lastly we plan on sending a crew to some of the bigger events in the Midwest; Nature Valley Grand Prix, Joe Martin, and Superweek, and Jen and Jane have committed to at least two national championships each. It’s going to be a busy year for sure. How do you see the team growing? I don’t want to see these women camped out here for 5-6 years, I want to see them all move on to bigger and more rewarding things, making PRC part of a process rather than the destination. I’d like to develop this team to play a support role so that any woman who is ready to take on a greater challenge has a launch pad to do so. Would you like to plug the sponsors? Absolutely. Jay Elder has been a huge help in making this team happen. His company, the Elder Corporation, specializes in earth moving, demolition, and utilities. He’s an avid cyclist himself and one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. Specialized and their Designs for Women department has also played a very big role in setting the girls up with bikes and gear. Shimano, Oakley, Harlot…and a ton of love to our local guys at Rasmussen Bike Shop too! To learn more about Punk Rock Cycling visit their website.

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