Since 2015, Chicago Women’s Elite Cycling (CWEC) has elevated and enhanced women’s cycling by: 1) educating both new and experienced racers, 2) inspiring them to become confident athletes moving forward, and 3) championing a composite team of elite women to compete nationally among professional ranks. Since its inception, CWEC has provided generous financial, intellectual, and emotional support for women cyclists. CWEC-supported riders have participated in 85 events around the country and had 450 racing opportunities. Perhaps most significantly, three CWEC-supported cyclists have gone on to join professional cycling teams.
CWEC exemplifies its mission in various ways, including: hosting dozens of cycling clinics, providing riders with professional directors and race-day support staff, welcoming experienced professional guest riders to mentor other cyclists, hosting a championship road race for women, leading training camps throughout the year, and via a membership program to connect the broader community to women’s cycling.
As CWEC broadens its reach, the organization and its leadership have continued to learn and grow. Specifically in 2019, CWEC will focus its organizational efforts on development. Rather than composing and supporting a dedicated squad and full race calendar, CWEC plans to develop and grow the pipeline as well as support racers that may be eligible to race for CWEC in the future.
2019 Plan for Progressive Development
Our three-part development plan is geared towards bridging the gap between Pro 1/2 and Category 3 riders, with a strong focus on Category 3 riders and 1/2/3 race series—creating confident athletes and setting them on a path towards success. We are taking advantage of several excellent Midwest races and ensuring Chicago is not only represented but ready to throw down. CWEC hopes this plan could be the right motivation for Category 3 riders looking to take the next step and join the elite ranks, or for riders looking for a new and exciting challenge to see what is right for them. We’re in the business of elevating women’s cycling and we sincerely hope you’ll join us.
Step 1: Educating
LaCrosse Omnium Camp and Race Series (Wisconsin)
CWEC will travel to LaCrosse Omnium—the premier Midwest Spring Cycling Classic May 3-5. Beginning Tuesday, April 30, CWEC will host a three-day development camp led and instructed by 2018 LaCrosse Omnium winner, CWEC co-founder, and professional cyclist Daphne Karagianis—along with other guest appearances, lecturers, and cycling mentors. The camp will pre-ride and discuss each stage of the omnium (TT, Road Race, Criterium) and cover a wide variety of racing discussion topics. At the end of the pre-race camp, Karagianis will direct and support the riders, along with additional CWEC volunteers, at the LaCrosse Omnium (Category 1/2/3 race series) allowing for further development and exciting racing opportunities.
*Participation in this camp makes riders eligible for the CWEC 2019 Category 1/2/3 composite team.
Step 2: Inspiring
Quad Cities Memorial Day Racing (Iowa)
CWEC will keep the momentum going by creating a composite team for the 1/2/3 Memorial Day Weekend race series in Iowa at the end of May. This race series is another step up from the LaCrosse Omnium, bringing in national competition and challenging courses. For the first time, the CWEC composite team for this race will be open to Category 3 riders, selected from an application process open to those who participated in the LaCrosse Omnium camp and/or who participated in past CWEC events. Allowing Category 3 riders to race alongside Category 2 teammates makes for an inspirational learning opportunity that we hope will nurture further rider development and maturation over the three-day series.
Step 3: Championing
Gateway Cup (Missouri)
By September 2019, CWEC hopes its riders will be feeling confident and composed. The early season development will have provided riders with the motivation they needed, and also helped introduce them to some new cycling buds to travel with all season long. Most importantly, riders will have hopefully reached their goals they set earlier at camp. Now it’s truly time to shine—possibly as a freshly minted Category 2 rider. CWEC will create a composite team for Gateway Cup, a four-day Pro 1/2 criterium race series that draws the best competition from around the country. This race will also be staffed with CWEC mentors and volunteers to facilitate a professional racing environment.