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Pbwalther
July 9th 03, 02:40 PM
A number of years back I was riding in a paceline and getting beaten up -
rolling terrain and cruising at 25 mph+. Well one of the riders was a woman
and it turned out that she was a very successful triathelete at that time (came
3rd in the nationals). I thought to myself, "Shoot I am only a fit
recreational cyclist. There is no way I should be able to keep up with someone
that strong unless there is a major gender effect on performance.". I recalled
that as I had gotten stronger I saw fewer and fewer females riding in the
groups I rode in.

So being a trained biologist, I started poking around in the literature looking
for physiological explanations.

1) Women's muscles are just as strong as men. Shoot that is a no brainer.
Muscle tissue is very similar from mammal to mammal so a gender difference here
would be amazing. Of course, men tend to put on more muscle mass because of
androgens and that makes men much stronger for strength events. Means men have
an advantage in sprints and short hill climbs.

But cycling is mostly aerobic. Where is the male aerobic advantage?

2) Men tend to have larger hearts for their body size then women. This means
more blood flow and more blood to muscles which means more oxygen to muscles.
So here you get a male aerobic advantage.
3) Men tend to have more hemoglobin in their blood then women. Hemoglobin
transports oxygen so here is another male aerobic advantage.

Now I am a cruddy sprinter but I have a lot of aerobic power. However, my
hemoglobin levels are not high for a male but my heart is very large - it is
large enough to cause concern but that is because it is just plain big - not
diseased. Diseased hearts tend to get enlarged as a way to keep getting the
job done.

So a woman who had a lot of muscle, very large heart and high hemoglobin levels
might be able to compete with men but not at the top levels. She would crush
other women though. Thing is that the top men would still have more of all
three then the woman would have.

Personally, I figure that if a woman is the same age as I am and she can hang
onto my wheel, then she is probably in about the same condition as I am and
maybe a little better.

Of course, women can have babies something which men can't do. I would guess
that women's bodies have made a few adjustments for this ability and come to
think of it without this women having this ability, none of us would be here.

Also, cycling is really neat. A strong fit female rider can still do things
like ride centuries with aplomb that the average person feels borders on the
supernatural.

But compete in the Tour de France? Well maybe a really tremendous female
athelete like Babe Diedrickson could have done it and then just be an in the
pack rider. Why do that when the same woman could dominate competing against
other women? Seems to be no percentage in it.
3)

Robin Hubert
July 9th 03, 03:30 PM
"Slider2699" > wrote in message
om...
>
> "F. Golightly" > wrote in message
> .. .
> >
> > "Jkpoulos7" >
> > > Even golf (hardly a sport) has men doing much better.
> >
> > Ever competed at golf? Ever entered any state or regional
championships?
> > Ever try to qualify for the PGA tour? Ever taken someone on... "one on
> one"
> > ...in a 36 hole final?
> >
> > Huh?
> >
> Golf is a game, not a sport. I'm not saying it's not difficult, but so is
> bowling. Not a sport. What's the old definition----if you can drink beer
> while doing it, it's not a sport. :-)

I guess my average 60-100 mile ride is not a sport then! I must have at
least one beer on such a ride.



--
Robin Hubert >

Bill Davidson
July 9th 03, 08:57 PM
David Kerber wrote:
> IIRC (and I'm NOT a big golf fan) on the first day, she did very well
> with her short game; better than many of the men, but on the 2nd day she
> seemed to fall apart. Not being able to consistently drive as long as
> most of the men puts more pressure on her short game, and any problem
> there is going to hurt her more than it might a longer hitter.

Yes, the pressure was on her short game. The men were beating her at the
short game and only the short game. Keep in mind that this was a very tight
course and being able to hit the ball far is not much of an advantage there.

She was +1 for the first day. Her short game was not really good on that
day but other than putting it was rarely tested. On the first day her ball
striking was very good though. She was ranked with the top men for fairways
hit and greens hit in regulation. She still couldn't putt. I think her
average final putt distance was around 3 feet. The top men were more like
7-8 feet and they were making birdies, which she was not. Making green in
regulation means you get at least one putt for birdie. She only missed the
green four times all day. She made one birdie putt (on a par 3). That means
she missed 13 birdie putts. That doesn't work in the PGA.

The second day, she started missing the fairways and the greens. She
needed to shoot par that day to make the cut (one stroke better than the
first day). Instead she was four strokes over par (+5 total) and she
finished near the bottom of the field, tied for 96 out of 111 who finished
two rounds. She did do O.K. on the chipping and made all of her sand
saves the second day but that's just saving par and it doesn't help you
make birdies and she still couldn't putt when she did hit the green.

http://www.pgatour.com/players/02/70/58/sc/2003,r021.html

If she could putt as well as Tiger or Nick Price or Justin Leonard or any
of the other top putters, she could be a contender on the tighter courses
because of her usually excellent ball striking.

Mark Weaver
July 10th 03, 04:11 PM
"Bill Davidson" > wrote in message
>
> Some people are mentioning the ultra marathoners and I think part of that
> is that the speed goes down. Those ultra marathoners are not doing the
> 5 minute miles that the top regular marathoners are doing.
>

The difference between the male and female world records has gotten to be
quite small. The male record is 2:05:38 and the female record now stands at
2:15:25. Paula Radcliff's average pace during her recent record run was
5:10:

http://www.insidetri.com/news/fea/1479.0.html

Mark

Bill Davidson
July 11th 03, 01:55 AM
"Bill Davidson" > wrote in message
>Some people are mentioning the ultra marathoners and I think part of that
>is that the speed goes down. Those ultra marathoners are not doing the
>5 minute miles that the top regular marathoners are doing.

Mark Weaver wrote:
>The difference between the male and female world records has gotten to be
>quite small. The male record is 2:05:38 and the female record now stands at
>2:15:25. Paula Radcliff's average pace during her recent record run was
>5:10:

As with any sport where it's about speed, one finds that the faster one
goes, the harder it is to get that next little increment of speed. These
are the fastest marathoners in the world. They are at the maximum already.
At this level 10 minutes is actually quite a lot; 22-23 seconds per mile at
a roughly 5 minute pace. That's 11.6 mph (5:10/mile) vs 12.5 mph (4:48/mile).
How many times has the men's record been broken since it was around 2:15 and
how long ago was that?

Also, how does this compare with the pace of ultra-marathoners?

--Bill Davidson

Seecyd
July 11th 03, 05:11 AM
Ryan Cousineau wrote:
> In article >, "GIGANews"
> > wrote:
> > Beryl Burton in her prime arguably rode as an equal with most men in
> > her time trial categories, but that isn't the same as on the track or
> > in a mass start race. She also arguably was the greatest female
> > cyclist in history (a lot of Brits would strike the 'arguably').
> > The reason that you will not see a woman in the Tour de France in our
> > lifetime is that any woman at that athletic level could make a larger
> > fortune dominating a woman's sport with money than being a domestique
> > on the Tour. To pretend otherwise is to put political correctness
> > above reality.
> That's one way to put it. Another way is that the world has probably not
> yet seen a woman at the athletic level to compete in the TdF.
> This isn't meant as a knock on the numerous excellent female cyclists:
> the best of them might be able to trail along somewhere near the back
> of the pack for several stages, which is far more than most male
> cyclists could do. But the Tour's demands for huge endurance to survive
> the event, massive power to do well in the TTs, and more massive power
> combined with minimum weight to do well in the mountains does not
> favour women.
> Among male cyclists, the Tour only takes 200, and it's a fair bet that
> even the worst domestique on FDJeux is one of the 1000 best riders in
> the world, and probably more like top 300. All of the great GC riders in
> the world are at the tour (Cipo is good, but he's no GC rider, and I
> don't see giving a tour spot to a guy who has repeatedly ridden the tour
> only until it pointed uphill), and even so most of them don't have a
> hope of winning this event, and of the rest, 2 (Lance and your pick of
> the others) have a straight chance of victory, and probably 3 others
> will have a shot if the favourites falter.
> Venus and Serena Williams once made a foolhardy boast about being better
> than any tennis player outside of the top 200 men. A guy ranked about
> 211 in the world then went out and demolished them one after the other
> in a pair of exhibition sets. I think the final scores were about 6-1
> and 6-3 or so, and he flaunted the fact that he had taken a fairly
> relaxed approach to the event. This rule of thumb seems to hold in most
> sports: you can generally expect the best women to be about as good as
> the 200th-best men, better in finesse sports, worse in physical sports.
> --
> Ryan Cousineau,
> http://www.sfu.ca/~rcousinehttp://www.sfu.ca/~rcousine President,
> Fabrizio Mazzoleni Fan Club

Women compete in marathons, triathlons, duathlons, and ironman
distances... I suppose the Tour has just always been reserved as a man's
sporting event. If more women were to show interest, a women's version
of the Tour would be resurrected, I'm sure. If a woman were able to take
part in the 'tour, and not be left in the dust, would they disallow her
to take part in it?




--
You can't be good, unless you love it!

You can't be good, unless you love it!

>--------------------------<
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Zippy the Pinhead
July 11th 03, 06:07 AM
One thing everyone is forgetting in all this is just how sexist
France, like most of Europe, is.

Downright un-American of them, dammit.

Ryan Cousineau
July 11th 03, 08:59 AM
In article >,
Seecyd > wrote:

> Ryan Cousineau wrote:

> > Among male cyclists, the Tour only takes 200, and it's a fair bet that
> > even the worst domestique on FDJeux is one of the 1000 best riders in
> > the world, and probably more like top 300. All of the great GC riders in
> > the world are at the tour (Cipo is good, but he's no GC rider, and I
> > don't see giving a tour spot to a guy who has repeatedly ridden the tour
> > only until it pointed uphill), and even so most of them don't have a
> > hope of winning this event, and of the rest, 2 (Lance and your pick of
> > the others) have a straight chance of victory, and probably 3 others
> > will have a shot if the favourites falter.

> Women compete in marathons, triathlons, duathlons, and ironman
> distances... I suppose the Tour has just always been reserved as a man's
> sporting event. If more women were to show interest, a women's version
> of the Tour would be resurrected, I'm sure. If a woman were able to take
> part in the 'tour, and not be left in the dust, would they disallow her
> to take part in it?

Women compete in all these events, and they routinely are slower than
men. There is a Tour for women, the Tour de Feminin. If a woman was fast
enough to take part in the tour, they would probably allow it (I'm
pretty sure the rules don't specify the sex of riders), but I'm also
pretty sure that barring a Tammy Thomas-style sex change fiasco, there
will be no competitive women in the Tour in my lifetime. And I'm still
pretty young.

--
Ryan Cousineau, http://www.sfu.ca/~rcousine
President, Fabrizio Mazzoleni Fan Club

Zippy the Pinhead
July 11th 03, 01:16 PM
On Fri, 11 Jul 2003 00:59:19 -0700, Ryan Cousineau >
wrote:

> I'm also
>pretty sure that barring a Tammy Thomas-style sex change fiasco, there
>will be no competitive women in the Tour in my lifetime.

I prayed about this, and learned that it won't happen in God's
lifetime, either.

Mark Weaver
July 11th 03, 05:49 PM
"Zippy the Pinhead" > wrote in message
s.com...
> One thing everyone is forgetting in all this is just how sexist
> France, like most of Europe, is.
>

Yeah -- what's up with kissy kissy from the podium bimbos handing out the
jerseys? What do they think this is...NASCAR?

Mark

Tom Keats
July 12th 03, 12:33 AM
In article >,
Zippy the Pinhead > writes:
> On Fri, 11 Jul 2003 00:59:19 -0700, Ryan Cousineau >
> wrote:
>
>> I'm also
>>pretty sure that barring a Tammy Thomas-style sex change fiasco, there
>>will be no competitive women in the Tour in my lifetime.
>
> I prayed about this, and learned that it won't happen in God's
> lifetime, either.

It might be closer than you think. Michelle Dumaresq:
http://www.peak.sfu.ca/the-peak/2003-1/issue4/fe-xrossing.html


cheers,
Tom

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Ryan Cousineau
July 12th 03, 07:41 AM
In article >,
(Tom Keats) wrote:

> In article >,
> Zippy the Pinhead > writes:
> > On Fri, 11 Jul 2003 00:59:19 -0700, Ryan Cousineau >
> > wrote:
> >
> >> I'm also
> >>pretty sure that barring a Tammy Thomas-style sex change fiasco, there
> >>will be no competitive women in the Tour in my lifetime.
> >
> > I prayed about this, and learned that it won't happen in God's
> > lifetime, either.
>
> It might be closer than you think. Michelle Dumaresq:
> http://www.peak.sfu.ca/the-peak/2003-1/issue4/fe-xrossing.html

Aw crap. The problem with tranny pros is that it just isn't fair.
Michelle or Michael, s/he has a man's physique trapped in a transvestite
body. It's pretty unfair competition for all those women who started
life as women.

I think that at the International level Michelle is not welcome in the
women's races. You want to race, fine, go race in the men's race, just
don't go playing stupid games like being a pro-quality "female" racer.
It belies the whole purpose of a women's race.

The nightmare scenario is of course that day when transsexual "women"
are allowed universally, and start to routinely dominate women's racing.
What then, three classes of racing?

--
Ryan Cousineau, http://www.sfu.ca/~rcousine
President, Fabrizio Mazzoleni Fan Club

TomP
July 12th 03, 03:44 PM
In a word: Biology.

Elisa Francesca Roselli wrote:

> Watching all those gorgeous hunks on the TV a few nights ago for the
> Centennary Start-Off of the Tour de France, I was bemused by the
> realization that I had never heard of a female participant in this
> famous race.
>
> Is it true that the race has never included women? and if so, does
> anyone have any idea why? I would have thought that cycling was a
> particularly gender-egalitarian sport: there's nothing about it that's
> visibly macho, either iconographically or anatomically. And ambitious
> sportswomen have made a point of infiltrating all the "bastion sports"
> to compete with men - one thinks of some of those sinewy tennis-women or
> those America Cup captainesses. On a media-and-advertizing level, I
> recently heard that women's events, or events including women, draw as
> well as the all-male events these days, producing sexy, marketable
> championesses. And I would have thought that the Tour was most
> assimilable to a Marathon Run, where female participants start off with
> the men and where you often have a first male and a first female
> finisher.
>
> My mind flashes back to a feature I saw in last month's WIRED magazine,
> about cool new products. There was a vignette on a racing-bike that had
> only just been issued in a version designed for women. The author
> reflected on a vicious circle whereby there was no "market" for women's
> competitive cycling and so no bicycles were being made for female
> contestants. Could that be all?
>
> Not that I'm getting any smarmy ideas.... %>
>
> Elisa Roselli
> Paris, France

--


Tp

-------- __o
----- -\<. ------ __o
--- ( ) / ( ) ---- -\<.
----------------- ( ) / ( )
---------------------------------------------

Freedom is not free; Free men are not equal; Equal men are not free.

Hunrobe
July 12th 03, 09:47 PM
No one here is doubting that there are great women athletes. The OP's question
was have there been any female riders in the TdF and if not, why not. The
undeniable fact is that the best female riders in the world would not be
competitive *in that race*. That's not sexist. It's simply an acknowledgement
of certain biological facts.

Regards,
Bob Hunt

David Reuteler
July 15th 03, 05:38 AM
Ryan Cousineau > wrote:
: and virtually anyone in this group who managed to
: start the Tour would be dropped and time-barred after the first stage.

fabrizio, ryan. it took 2 or 3.
--
david reuteler

Elisa Francesca Roselli
July 15th 03, 03:54 PM
Hunrobe wrote:

> That's why there
> are tests for steroids. They aren't looking for abnormally high levels of
> estrogen. ;-)
>

Heh, good point.

Elisa Roselli
Paris, France

Elisa Francesca Roselli
July 15th 03, 04:11 PM
Hmm, transexuals would rather skew the game. What an interesting
consideration!

Wouldn't a transexual fail a steroid test? They must take quantities of
hormones to keep the sex change in place, no? And female hormones are steroids
just like male ones.

I suppose legislation and rules would have to evlove to keep up with these new
cases.

Elisa Roselli
Paris, France

Ryan Cousineau wrote:

> IAw crap. The problem with tranny pros is that it just isn't fair.
> Michelle or Michael, s/he has a man's physique trapped in a transvestite
> body. It's pretty unfair competition for all those women who started
> life as women.
>
> I think that at the International level Michelle is not welcome in the
> women's races. You want to race, fine, go race in the men's race, just
> don't go playing stupid games like being a pro-quality "female" racer.
> It belies the whole purpose of a women's race.
>
> The nightmare scenario is of course that day when transsexual "women"
> are allowed universally, and start to routinely dominate women's racing.
> What then, three classes of racing?

archer
July 15th 03, 04:32 PM
In article >,
says...
> Hmm, transexuals would rather skew the game. What an interesting
> consideration!
>
> Wouldn't a transexual fail a steroid test? They must take quantities of
> hormones to keep the sex change in place, no? And female hormones are steroids
> just like male ones.

Not as the term is usually used. Anabolic steriods used for performance
enhancement are mostly chemically related to testosterone, not estrogen.
I don't think estrogen would ever be classified as a performance
enhancing drug (at least not in athletic events <Grin>).

.....

--
David Kerber
An optimist says "Good morning, Lord." While a pessimist says "Good
Lord, it's morning".

Remove the ns_ from the address before e-mailing.

salmoneous
July 15th 03, 07:52 PM
> The fierce levels of sustained aerobic exertion are what make elite
> cycling inaccessible to virtually any women.

Physiologically, isn't it an issue of mussle strength rather than
sustained aerobic exertion?

Pbwalther
July 16th 03, 02:30 PM
>Physiologically, isn't it an issue of mussle strength rather than
>sustained aerobic exertion?
>

Not really.

Muscle strength is directly proportional to muscle size. Men develop much
larger muscles then women especially in the upper body because of naturally
occuring anabolic steroids that men have.

But men also have higher hemoglobin concentrations in their blood then women by
about 10%-20% and larger hearts. Larger hearts pump more blood. More blood
delivers more oxygen to the muscles. More oxygen to the muscles means a
greater sustained aerobic exertion. Simple.

Of course, the greatest long distance swimmer ever was a woman. She had a
surprisingly high body fat for an athelete - it was like she was a seal with a
layer of blubber. This women, I forget her name, swam the Bering Strait
without a wet suit. That water is cold enough to kill a normal human pretty
quickly. Amazing.

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