Thoughts on the Colorado Classic and crowd-sourced primes

Just finished up watching the Colorado Classic & what was probably the most dominating performance I’ve ever seen at the professional level in cycling.

Anybody who followed the ‘Help Needed, Cornering & Turning Tips’ thread should go watch stage two of the Colorado Classic now. Skip ahead to just after the QOM and watch as Chloe Dygert-Owens and Brodie Chapman start the descent at basically the same time. Not an especially technical descent but you’ll definitely see the difference that descending can make in a race.

AND ALSO, this race had a couple of prime sprints that were crowd-funded. In one case the prime was $10,000…but split between a charity and the winner. Just to give you an idea, probably half or possibly more of the ladies in that race don’t earn that much in a year as a pro cyclist. So that’s a monster prime. I don’t know for sure but I think the odds would be on my side if I bet most women’s pro races in North America don’t have a total purse amounting to that much.

When it comes time to argue that the ladies should earn a little bit more to race their bikes, I think the free market is kind of speaking up, there. For sure, not 5 in 100 people know about more than one bike race. Of people who follow bike racing not 5 in 100 know anything about the Colorado Classic. Of that rare group of people, we managed to scrape together a $10k prime. I was surprised at that.


I had the same thought when I watched the descending. VERY different comfort levels shown between the two riders.

Chloe was great on the MTB as well. Blew by me two different times like she was on a motorcycle. And this was when she was just getting started!

Wait, how could you contribute to the prime?

I totally missed that and that’s super awesome.

text-to-donate. Text steamboat to 797979. I think everyday there was a different key word to text.

There was a web-based donation site as well but I don’t know where…

Anyhow, I thought it was an innovative idea. Imagine how successful it could be if people actually heard about it…one thing is for sure, if somebody donates even $1 for the sprint prime they will for sure show up/tune in to watch the race. So it’s kind of a positive feedback loop.

I’ve seen and contributed to loads of crowd sourced primes - the announcer just walks around asking for money. Works great. Little bit smaller scale though :wink:


I learned about the crowd-sourced primes on The Move podcast-they were talking about what a simple yet smart idea it was-especially given the lack of money in women’s cycling. They actually mentioned some riders don’t get paid at all-as in no salary and probably just equipment.


Yes, unfortunately this is true. Lindsay Goldman talked at one point about how she wanted to make Hagens-Berman Supermint different from other teams, and one place to start was to pay all of the riders, and to pay them all equally. (Unfortunately the team is folding after this season because HB has decided to not renew their title sponsorship.)
This isn’t the article I was looking for, but is pretty close, talking about paying every rider equally:
She mentions in several other articles about how they wanted to create a team that provided stability to the staff and riders. Apparently this is NOT the case for a lot of women’s teams.

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Unfortunately, this is also the case for many domestic mens teams - equipment, race kit, and entry fees.

Nicole Cooke talks a bunch about this too, with her Vision 1 team about ten years ago. She wanted to create a development team for British women that gave riders the same support and stability that British Cycling (then completely focused on men’s racing) gave the men. She couldn’t make it work financially: it was immediately after the recession, and after another round of doping scandals in the men’s peloton, which disproportionately impacted sponsorships for women’s teams. (Women were doping too, but because doping is expensive and there’s no money in women’s cycling, it was much less widespread and public.)

The “free market” is all about risk and return on investment. As long as the perception is that there’s no appetite for women’s racing, or that women’s racing is less-than, no matter how bonkers those perceptions are, it’ll be a labor of love for everybody involved. It’s rage-inducing. But maybe those crowd-sourced primes will help!

Meanwhile, in the comments on one of the Colorado Classic live streams, one gentleman mused about whether they were racing as teams “like the men do”. And if they used the same gearing as the men. Another dude argued that if the women can’t compete with the men in the Tour de France, there’s no point to the sport.

The “super prime” at the Downer Avenue crit in Milwaukee (part of the Tour of America’s Dairyland) is a long standing semi famous crowd sourced prime funded both by crowd donations and a beer tent. They move the prime finish line so its in front of the beer tent . . . I was there spectating a couple years ago and the prime was $4000.

So are these primes bigger than the prize for a podium finish?

Not in the case of the Colorado Classic…which had a huge purse for the winner. $75k, I heard. Not huge in the overall scope of cycling but a nice lump for NA ladies racing.

We do something similar at Littleton Twilight crit. Go around with a bucket for the women and men p/1 races and put it towards a prime lap. Usually gets around 2-400$