Vermont's Specialized Catamount Classic is the newest addition to the US Pro XCT calendar for 2013. The Catamount Outdoor Family Center will host the finals of the American national cross country mountain bike racing series in early August. Organizers are making a strong statement by bringing women's racing into the prime time.
Like other Pro XCT races, the Catamount Classic will have both elite women's and men's races, but, for the first time in mountain bike racing history, this race will prioritize the women's field. According to organizers, the goal of this event is to make up for lost time and inequalities in the sport in a way that will support the growth of the sport for women as equally as it has supported men.
The UCI mandate for a category 2 race, like the Catamount Classic, states that women be paid 65 percent of what men are paid. Not only is the prize money mandate unequal, the rules state that men should be paid 15 deep while the women are paid nine deep.
Organizers have partnered with the G-Form company to support women's racing. G-Form will not only equal prize money, but will pay the women more.
Catamount Classic Race Promoter Eric Bowker said, "We have been striving to support women in cycling for years and are excited that we can do this on a national stage with the support of companies like G-form and Specialized."
The weekend will also serve as an ideal example of equality for the next generation of female mountain bike racers. Little Bellas, a non-profit mentoring on mountain bikes program born at Catamount and inspired by the local Vermont Davison sisters, Lea and Sabra, are putting on a camp at this event. These young girls will get the opportunity to not only watch Olympians, world champions, and national champions battle for the win, but they will also be able to interact with them.
Sabra Davison, sister of Olympian Lea Davison, said, "Catamount and G-form are leading the charge, and we are excited to have the Little Bellas experience positive momentum surrounding women and sports. The Catamount Classic is prioritizing the current and future generation of female mountain bikers showing that these racers deserve the spotlight too."
The elite cross country race will happen on Saturday, August 3. Amateurs can try their legs on the same course during races on Sunday, August 4.