PHOENIX, AZ (BRAIN)—Brandee Lepak is bringing women in Arizona a race of their own.
Lepak is working with race promoter DCB Extreme Adventures to bring the first women’s-only mountain bike race to Arizona.
“For years Specialized has been saying, prepare yourselves for this wave of women cyclists,” said Lepak, who with her husband Alan owns Global Bikes, a Specialized dealer. “In this last year we finally started seeing a huge increase in women getting out and riding road bikes and mountain bikes. There was not a women’s event in Arizona. So we decided to try it.”
Dubbed the Wahine Warrior, the race will be Sept. 25 at McDowell Mountain Regional Park in Fountain Hills, Arizona. The Cat 1, 2 and 3 races are sanctioned by USA Cycling and open to women only. The expo and demo area is open to men and kids.
Lepak said her goal is to remove the intimidation factor for women. She said because she’s not an avid cyclist herself she has a good idea of what women need. “I’m able to hear what’s intimidating to women and what’s holding them back,” she said.
Global Bikes will offer regular women’s clinics and host five mountain bike skills clinics this summer to help women prepare for the race.
Lepak is promoting the race through in-store marketing collateral, the store’s Facebook page, mountain bike club web sites, the women’s YetiBeti team and Shepedals magazine.
“We’ve sponsored events before, but never from the bottom up like this. We’ve definitely gotten feedback that we’re crazy, but I’m turning over every rock to find any women who’ve ever even considered doing a race,” Lepak said.
Lepak hopes 500 women will participate. At $40 per entrance, that would cover the cost of the event. She said her goal isn’t to make a profit, but to bring more women into the sport and create a legacy for women’s mountain biking.
“For my kids to be able to say my mom was able to bring the first women’s-only mountain bike race to Arizona would be cool,” she said.