Category Pro 1/2 Women

Illinois women's elite racing population is small.


Chicago has a vibrant, competitive, and growing local women's bike racing scene. CWEC wants to maintain—and continue to grow—the local scene. In doing so, CWEC will give Chicagoland Women elite racers, those that have achieved category 1 or 2 licenses, the opportunity to race nationally, on a more competitive platform, in order to advance their racing skills and continue to grow a strong cycling community. The program will also be a vehicle to propel aspiring up and coming riders onto the elite platform with a team to back them up.

There are less than ten Chicagoland women racers competing in nationally recognized professional races (races that only allow Pros and categories 1 and 2 to race). Racing individually, without the support of teammates, a director (coach), and other services that teams have, these racers are often not in contention for the podium. We're ready to change that by providing riders with the necessary tools for success.

The CWEC Board, with input from director and advisors, will review the top tier races on the national calendar to determine the annual CWEC race calendar that best suits the CWEC mission and continued progress.

Chicagoland Women Category 1 and 2 racers that competed regularly in the previous season are eligible for selection to the composite team for a particular race. For each race, the director, with input from the CWEC Board, will select tracers for the Before selection is finalized, the racer must commit to train, both individually and with the CWEC teammates, and race as teammates at selected races.  The composite team lineup may be different for each race to best match the talent and skill development needs with the available opportunities. 

Chicagoland Women Category 3, 2, and 1 racers interested in advancing to elite status or improving their skills, fitness, and race ability are invited to participate in CWEC development events and travel with the team. 

Local racing is not altered but becomes even more competitive and exciting. CWEC team members will race on their local Chicago team, mentoring their teammates, and encouraging other local racers to excel.

Many people do not realize that bike racing is a team sport.

Oh, you, too? Well it is. Unlike traditional ball sports where the number on a team is fixed, bike racing allows the rider count within a race to fluctuate between 1 and usually 6. In a single race, some teams will have a full field of 6 while many others might have 3 or 4 riders. During the race, each team member has a role to try to either tire out another team’s “protected rider” or protect their own team’s top rider. The more cohesive the team and higher quality of the riders, the greater the chances of a successful outcome. Bike racing also allows you to race as an individual, but as you can imagine, doing anything where it is one against many is more challenging.

CWEC was founded with the primary goals to:

  • Create opportunities for female bike racers to race effectively as a team when competing at nationally recognized races
  • Focus on the process of developing the riders and team more than the results of the race
  • Be financially sustainable via community support

Unlike traditional teams, CWEC does not have any permanent riders. For each race, the team is a composite of elite riders that meet the CWEC selection criteria. CWEC long-term success is reliant on an increasing pipeline of elite racers. In order to support this growth, the elite riders:

  • Race with and mentor members of their local teams
  • Compete aggressively in local races against the other elite riders and their teams
  • Participate in CWEC-hosted rider development clinics  at most local races. 

Why is CWEC, the composite team of elite riders, needed? 

  • Chicagoland does not have enough elite women racing consistently field one, never mind multiple, full local teams. 
  • If the eligible riders in Chicagoland were put on a single team, local racing and race teams would perish. An up-and-coming rider would not have an encouraging experience racing against the equivalent of the Dream Team. And the local teams would lose their mentors.
  • Across the country, there is less than a couple of handfuls of women’s teams that consistently race at the professional level. Each of those teams rely on the financial support of a primary sponsor that expects the team to produce immediate results. It is difficult for local racers to find spots on those teams. At the nationally recognized races, these sponsored teams are effectively racing against each other with local elite racers attempting to stay in the race as long as they can - survival is the goal. 
CWEC leads the pack at Lake Bluff Criterium, NCC

CWEC leads the pack at Lake Bluff Criterium, NCC