Sat here in my beautiful little home in the south of France having just had an email conversation with the PR team for the second World Cup of the 2017/18 cross season (Wisconsin) it’s suddenly dawned on me how far we’ve come and how exciting the women’s cross scene really is right now.
Sometimes you live too much for the future, for what could be, for what you are working towards and miss the moments that are now. I used to be a physiotherapist, a job I enjoyed a lot, I particularly loved working with stroke patients. It was always tiring, time consuming, hard work with very little day by day reward for the patient but somehow I always saw where it was going. When the day arrived that the patient could climb the stairs alone, or get in and out of their chair unaided or just manage to walk for the first time in forever, there was always tears. Well today I think women’s cyclocross has found that day and my tears (Metaphorically obviously cause Stef don’t allow tears!!!).
When I first started cross I didn’t even know where it could end up, or really think about. As time passed the sport grew and took hold of me and I saw how I could help and more importantly I saw all these amazing people who wanted to help. We’ve had moments of genius with things like equal prize money at Koppenberg, the television coverage (now already huge and growing every season), the respect everyday people show for the athletes and teams showing women’s cross is worth the investment. But no World Cup has stepped up until now, not for the want of trying from many parties including the race organsiers themselves (world cups are very expensive commodities).
This September Waterloo World Cup has done it. They have climbed the stairs independently; they have managed to equalize the men and women’s prize funds for their events. That’s a staggering 29,400 euros they have found through sponsorship above what is required of them. In the words of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis “this is f****** awesome”!
As a racer it means so much to me that I am considered worthy of this opportunity. That I can be rewarded for my performance in the same way as my male counterpart. For this I am very grateful.
Not only is Waterloo stepping up but also ALL C1 and C2 races are now required to pay equal prize money for the coming season and the overall World Cup prize money has some exciting new additions thanks to the UCI (new UCI rules are published in July). As a sport we are so incredibly close to the finish line. Although not there yet I can see the end goal and our rate of progression to get there isn’t going at a hobbling pace for the first time.
So I just want to say thank you to everyone that has decided to make a difference. Thank you for listening, thank you for acting and thank you for not listening to “I can’t”. It’s 2017 we all can. Here’s to a future with equality. But for now I’m very excited about the new cross season #crossiscoming