Ride 4 Equality: It's an Idea

I have an idea. I fell asleep a couple nights thinking about it and rather than pass it off as impossible, I'm writing it down. I don't care if someone takes my idea. In fact, the more the better.

First, let me remind you about a couple impressive cycling trips that provided inspiration. 

The 2012 Reve Tour where 6 amateur women cyclists rode the Tour de France route one day before the pro men. They had fantastic sponsors, wrote passionate stories about the journey, and proved that women can follow their dreams even if race organizations aren't ready.

Clara's Big Ride which started March 14, 2014. Clara Hughes is a 6-time Olympic athlete in speed-skating and cycling, and a national spokesperson for Bell Let's Talk. She is cycling 12,000 kilometers around Canada for 110 days to encourage communities to talk about mental illness and create a stigma-free Canada.

With a recent birthday and other triggers, I've been thinking about my legacy and how I want my obituary to read. The obituary assignment came from a leadership challenge and has really stuck with me, but not in a morbid way.  Along with identifying my Top 5 Core Values, I want to make an impact and there's no time like the present. As a gut-check, I ran this idea past my core values and all 5 were satisfied. Just another reason to put it down on paper and identify actions to make it happen.

Ride 4 Equality
I have time to work on the name, but here's the concept.

There are currently 4 major cycling races in North America.
1. The Amgen Tour of California - May
2. Larry H Miller Tour of Utah - August
3. USA Pro Challenge (Colorado) - August
4. Tour of Alberta - September

These races are outstanding events, well managed thanks to Medalist Sports, heavily sponsored, and bring in the best teams and huge crowds. I've attended and/or volunteered at all but Alberta. I don't want to take anything away or punish these events for their achievements, they just don't include pro women's races and that needs to be addressed. The Tour of California has included a day (or 2) for the pro women, which is a move in the right direction but not the same. 

Maybe the ultimate solution isn't to combine women and men in these events, but to have women's only events. There is evidence of both models in Europe. North America has made a name for itself in the cycling world with these four races.  Now that they are established, it is time to really start thinking about the women.

My Ride 4 Equality starts today by declaring my intention for 2015.
I will ride all 4 tour routes either the day before or the morning of the pro men's race to bring awareness to women's equality in pro cycling. 

If there is a miracle and there are equivalent women's races next summer, then I'll volunteer at them to show my support and make them successful.  Just like I'll be at Tulsa Tough this summer to show my support for women's cycling equality.

I know I can do this and am excited for the challenge. I need to set aside both vacation and training time, find a support crew, maybe do a pilot on one of the races this summer, decide how to best document the journey, and build some momentum. There are and will be naysayers, and I'll take their feedback into consideration, but it's an idea.  Let me have it, let me try to achieve it, let me inspire others to go after their ideas or even this one, let me make an impact.

*Action Item List*