STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The new, sold-out gravel cycling race coming to Steamboat Springs on Aug. 18, SBT GRVL, will reopen its registration to 200 women participants starting Monday, Feb. 25.
Monday, Feb. 18 marks the announcement, where women of all levels already participating in the race will share their stories on social media about why they bike, using the hashtag #SBTPARITY. Several companies have also joined the campaign.
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“We want to push for quality in sport parity and inclusion,” SBT GRVL co-founder Mark Satkiewicz said. “We think that, as race directors and owners, our responsibility is to do thi,s and it’s something that we can influence right away.”
Currently, women make up only 20 percent of the registered participants.
In addition, the organizers of SBT GRVL will hold a symposium, including guest speakers and an open discussion about women’s participation in the sport Aug. 17 in Steamboat Springs, the day before the race.
The gravel race, at its core, is designed to be more inviting to all levels. The surface is softer than a road and easier to ride on than mountainous terrain. All types of bikes are welcome.
SBT GRVL will also feature three courses of varying distances for riders to choose from. The black course is 141 miles long, including 9,000 ft of climbing. The blue course is 100 miles long, including a 6,000 ft elevation increase. The green course consists of 37 miles of cycling, including an elevation gain of 2,000 ft.
More advanced cyclists can race for prize money on the black course, where a $28,000 prize purse will be equally split among men and women riders.
Amy Charity, co-founder of SBT GRVL and a former professional road racer for the U.S. National Team, believes the race’s rising popularity is not only an opportunity to get more women involved in cycling, but a responsibility. The race sold out this past October within six days.
The hope is that, in future years, SBT GRVL can reach a participation rate that is 50 percent men and 50 percent women.
“I know lots of women from Steamboat have been reaching out to us,” Satkiewicz said. “Here’s an opportunity.”