Naked Women's Racing

What: USAC Club of the Year, women's category

Founded: November 2010

Numbers: 25 race team members, 30 club team members

More info:

R achel Scott and her two Naked Women's Racing co-founders were tired of women's cycling's reputation.

The sport is male-dominated, and when it cames to female cyclists, it's known for catty, aggressive women who don't get along, Scott said. That makes other women hesitant to join a team or start racing.

So, Scott and two cycling friends, Vera Divenyi and Joan Orgeldinger, created their own all-women's team based in Boulder to address that stereotype.

"We started out literally having to beg women to be on the team," Scott said. "Cycling is a very selfish sport, and that was one thing we wanted to change. We wanted to be inclusive. There's a lot of bitchiness in the sport, so we wanted to curb that."

For their work expanding the sport for women, USA Cycling named Naked Women's Racing the club of the year in the women's category.

This is the club's third season, and the racing team has grown to 25 women, which doesn't include another 30 women who ride for the club team. The team's primary focus is road cycling, though members also compete in track events, cyclocross and mountain biking.


To ensure that the team enacts real change in women's cycling, the founders created a contract for each woman to sign with a strict "no drama" clause. Scott says they've never had to enforce the rules because the team screens potential racers for good ambassadors and women who are interested in the community.

Each member completes a minimum of 12 hours of community service, writes blog posts about training and races and interacts with fans and followers via Twitter.

"We require a lot more than simply racing your bike," Scott said.

The team donates time and money to National Ride for Reading Week and the Women's Summit for Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado.

Now more than ever, Scott said female cyclists need to band together and create a new vision for their sport.

Though totally equality in pro cycling is still far off, in late December the International Cycling Union, cycling's governing body, announced that women and men would receive equal prize money at all UCI World Championships, effective January 2013.

By changing the way women view cycling through charity work and community involvement, Scott said more and more women will participate in the sport and demand total equality.

"Sometimes I feel like its 1920 and we just got the right to vote," Scott said, jokingly.

Women on the team range in age from early 20s to early 50s, said co-founder Vera Divenyi, and everyone understands that cycling is a hobby, not a full-time job.

Time management is just one of the barriers to entry for women, Scott added. Many women are intimidated by the wheel-to-wheel competition and prefer the "go at your own pace" style of other sports.

But Naked Women's Racing's club team is designed specifically to prepare women for the racing scene. It helps them get used to riding in packs and find training partners, and gives them the opportunity to train next to members of the elite team. Naked Women's Racing is slowly and steadily making racing friendly to "everyday" riders, Divenyi said.

"The whole cycling scene is getting much more friendly and more supportive of women coming on board," she said. "If it's an unfriendly place, then there's really no reason women will want to do it."

Amanda Cyr knows all too well how friendly women's cycling has become. At the North Boulder Park Criterium in August, she fell to the curb toward the end of the race.

Her collarbone was broken, but Cyr was determined to finish the race. Another racer, Breeze Brown of Team Primal Racing, helped Cyr cross the finish line, sacrificing her own time to help a fellow cyclist finish up the race.

During her recovery, Cyr -- who ended up finishing fifth even with a broken collarbone -- was surrounded by her Naked teammates, who kept her entertained and happy. Cyr wrote in her blog post on the team's website that she "had no idea just how deep those friendships we make on the race course were until today."

"They not only push me physically to achieve my goals, but also support me with all that life has to offer," she said.

Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.