Ladies, ladies, ladies. Is anyone as tired as I am of inferior, “feminine” designed products that just don’t meet our needs? Do you find yourself settling for the “unisex” version of a product that is bulkier than all get out? Sam McGlone just wrote about this in the June issue of TriathleteMag – No More Pink Bikes. And she’s right, well, I love pink, but her argument is about women settling for less.
I’ve been on a bit of a tirade lately, I think it’s the volume of my IM training ramping up that leaves me short tempered. 2 weeks ago at Wildflower, I was grumbling about the stupid race number they provided and how I was supposed to fit it on my bike. I ride a small bike, an xsmall to be exact. There is no room between my seat post and wheel for a number back there. Placing it on the top tube means it might make contact with my water bottle. At Oceanside, the numbers were awesome stickers that fit on the bike seamlessly, where I wanted. Not at Wildflower, nope. Not at a lot of races actually. At Vineman, they wouldn’t let me into transition with my bike the way my number was affixed. I had it wedged behind the seat post on one side of my saddle bag (back in my road bike days). Ugh. Well, once I figure out how to affix the number to my bike I get to battle the watch bulge with my wetsuit. I sport a ginormous Polar S725x. It might look semi-normal on a dude’s wrist, but I have tiny little wrists and it looks ridiculous. And don’t tell me I shouldn’t care how you look. We all know that triathletes are narcissists. But beyond that, it’s inconvenient. It’s so big, I have to strategically place it have under my wetsuit cuff so I can still start it and yet remove the wetsuit without taking the watch off. Oh and my watch tanline, yeah that thing is big.
Alternatives? Well, here are some lovely, pink and violet options. Features? Oh, no they don’t have those. If you do a search on women’s heart rate monitors you’ll find many “fitness” based options. Nothing performance related will come up, unless it’s tagged as “unisex”. Joy.
Back to Sam’s point about the bikes. While I do love my pink bike, I did research prior to purchase and found that there really are not many options for women seeking a performance triathlon bike.
Cervelo – While they don’t offer women specific designs, they have small sizes. However, anything in the TT category in a 48 has 650c wheels. Really. Move to the road bike category, and oddly enough the 48 rides on a set of 720c wheels. I’m sure there is some physics argument for this, but I don’t place my racing on 650’s.
Trek – This is cute. They have Women Specific Design bikes. More like marketing to women who think they want to ride bikes. The only TT bike they offer women is an insult. It’s alumimun, with Shimano 105 components for $1800.While it’s great they offer an entry level bike for women, that’s ALL they offer. If you want performance, forget it. How many men’s or sorry, “unisex” TT bikes do they offer? 4, including 3 carbon and upgraded component options.
Specialized – They don’t even offer a women’s TT bike. Hope the men’s version fits? Same with Cannondale. And what’s worse with Cannondale, hope you’re a leggy lady, the smallest size here is a 51.
Scott. My love. They make the Contessa Plasma, their women’s TT bike, and didn’t skimp on componentry. Dura Ace, carbon, love. And check it out – this year’s model has a slick lime green look. Kind of bad ass, right?
So where do we go from here? Well, me might take a look at the ratio of men to women at triathlons. This might indicate something about the lack of women at races. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve come a long way. Frighteningly it wasn’t all that long ago the “authorities” wouldn’t let women run marathons because they literally thought our ovaries would drop out. Had they never been intimate with a woman or what? But let’s throw on our wetsuits, jump on our bikes, tie on our running shoes and be more present at events. Let’s praise the women who are out there winning these races and get excited about it! Change won’t come over night, but I bet it’s hard for all those dude’s to ignore all those fast ladies in pink.