SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Women are taking a bigger role in this year’s Amgen Tour of California, and one of the teams competing is made of women from the Sacramento area.
For several years, women have met at Folsom Bike to train for competitive races. But now some local riders are getting a chance to race in the country’s premier cycling event.
“It was pretty exciting, I was kind of in shock,” said Heater Lipana.
Training for years for a race they didn’t know would come, Lipana, Diane Moug and Marley Smith are getting the opportunity of a lifetime to race in the prestigious Amgen Tour of California.
“I was really happy for all the women,” Smith said.
For the first time on the tour, there will be a women’s circuit race around the Capitol, and then a time trial in Folsom. But unlike the men, some of these women are not full-time cyclists.
“I have three children,” Smith said. “I balance teaching indoor cycling classes where I spend a great deal of my training.”
Lipana not only rides, but also runs her own staffing company. She wants to show her 13-year-old daughter that anything is possible.
“I think it’s really important for your kids to see that you have goals as well, and it teaches them that they can strive and obtain these goals too,” she said.
And it’s not just their own children. These women hope to also inspire girls who may never have believed they could ride competitively.
“If young girls are watching the race which I hope they are like you know I can do that. I want then to know that they can do it,” Lipana said.
Few opportunities for young girls is the reason Moug didn’t start riding until she enrolled at UC Davis until two years ago.
“I moved down here and I needed to meet people and learn where to ride. Everyone here raced and I didn’t think it was something I was capable of,” she said.
She quickly earned a spot on the club cycling team, and now competes across the country. Moug hopes to have strong showing in Sunday’s circuit race.
“I mean two years ago I never would have,” she said. “If someone would have told me this, I would have laughed at them and said there is no possible way.”
The men will grab the headlines and lead the sportscasts next week but for these three, the uphill climb to put women’s cycling at the forefront is an effort they are happy to be a part of.