Shannon Baerg, member of the 2020 Element Race Team, participates in a criterium race. (Photo Courtesy of Element Race Team)

Shannon Baerg, member of the 2020 Element Race Team, participates in a criterium race. (Photo Courtesy of Element Race Team)

Victoria-based cycling group celebrates Women’s Day with launch of new team

Female-led Elements Race Team is set to promote women in cycling at their fundraising event

This International Women’s Day you may notice a few more women cyclists in the area. On March 8 Elements Sports Coaching will host a non-profit fundraising event to launch their new Victoria-based amateur female cycling team. The event will begin with a women’s ride at 9:30 a.m. starting from Oak Bay Bicycles and finishing at Level Ground Coffee in Saanich.

Element Sports Coaching founders, Tenille Hoogland and Samantha Hoft created the competitive team to inspire more women to get on their bikes and participate in cycling races and events. With the strong support from the Victoria Wheelers and the Cycling Co. they have been able to form a team of 16 women ranging in age from 20 to 60. Among the athletes that have joined the team, Heather Simonson, Tripleshot Cycling Club member and B.C. Master Woman of the Year 2019, will be a part of the amateur women’s club.

Underrepresentation in women’s amateur and masters cycling has created a major barrier and limitation, the creation of the women’s cycling team is to remove those barriers, Hoogland said.

“Representation matters, and this team absolutely represents what is possible,” Hoogland said.

ALSO READ: Victoria cycling community raises concern over new bike lane designs

The event will also host a number of women who have made significant contributions in administration, coaching and athleticism to the sport. The event will end with a post-cycling stretch led by an instructor from Lululemon, as well as refreshments and prizes.

Proceeds from the event will go towards Ride Like a Girl, a B.C.-based non-profit that provides a mentorship and bursary program designed to support young female mountain bike athletes. The event is free with a suggested donation of $20 in cash. Register for the event on the Elements Race Team Facebook page.

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