By Kirsten Robbins
On Tuesday, June 19, cyclists from across North America congregated at the Rasmussen College Women's Cycling Summit for a chance to be involved in discussions on the opportunities and obstacles women face in the cycling community.
The women's summit began in 2003 and has been successfully promoting women's cycling across the US and has been combined with Cycling Made Real, a program that started in 1995 designed to increase interest and awareness in women's cycling.
Christina DeKraay has been at the forefront of Cycling Made Real and is one of the Summit's key speakers. DeKraay covered women's cycling issues on recruiting and participation, maintaining involvement, collegiate racing and technical and tactical skill development.
This year's summit showcased the Ryan's Collegiate Cycling Team in lieu of the 2007 Nature Valley Grand Prix. A large number of the women's peloton have stemmed from collegiate racing including Erica Allar, who won this year's Liberty Classic U23 category and recently placed second in stage two of the Nature Valley Grand Prix.
Allar held a high regard for the Ryan's Team after providing her and five other collegiate champions across the country a spot to compete in the Nature Valley Grand Prix. "Six of us were chosen at the collegiate all-star program to go race Nature Valley and it is a great opportunity for all of us," Allar said.
Allar has been affiliated with Cycling Made Real in Pennsylvania and offered her experiences to the cyclists in attendance at the Women's Summit. "A lot of people came out to learn about how to start racing bikes," Allar said. "I gave a little speech on my experience with the Cycling Made Real program to let people know the options that are available to them. I think it is awesome to see so many women getting involved in this sport and who continue to promote cycling."