SBT GRVL looks to diversify participation after selling out in 6 days
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — SBT GRVL, a new cycling race coming to Steamboat Springs on Aug. 18, 2019, sold out in six days.
The race, which offers three gravel routes through Routt County, attracted over 1,000 entries, but race director Mark Satkiewicz said he plans to implement initiatives that would allow other people to potentially race.
“We have 47 of the 50 states represented, which is incredible, and I think that’s a huge, huge thing for Steamboat,” Satkiewicz said. “I think that’s going to be the big story of this event. Everybody seemed very interested in doing this type of race. They’re extremely excited about Steamboat and Routt County, and we’re really excited to host them.”
Routt County participants are encouraged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org during the month of December to secure a spot in the SBT GRVL race.
Having a national presence is important for SBT GRVL because it helps promote Steamboat as a summer destination.
Of the 47 states represented in the race, Colorado has the largest presence with over 500 participants signed up so far. Of those, 68 are from Steamboat Springs. California has the second-most representation with 71 people while Utah is third with 44.
States with more than 25 racers signed up include Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Texas.
Satkiewicz said the only states not represented are Rhode Island, Mississippi and Louisiana, but he hopes that will change with time.
Satkiewicz believes Routt County residents didn’t anticipate the race to sell out so quickly, so anyone who still wants to participate will need to contact him at email@example.com during the month of December to secure a spot.
But SBT GRVL is also looking for a more diversified group. As of right now, only 20 percent of the participants are women, and the race is open to kids.
“We only have about 20 percent women registered for the race, and down the road, we’re going to have some other initiatives to promote women in cycling,” Satkiewicz said. “So, we definitely see those numbers coming up. We’re going to have this summer program to encourage kids to participate.”
SBT GRVL is working closely with Camber Outdoors, a company based in Boulder that provides programs to encourage women to participate in outdoor activities. There are already many elite women competing in the race, which has a prize purse equal to the men’s, but it’s the recreational riders who need more of a push.
“One of the big priorities for us with the feel of the race is we want it to be inviting and inclusive,” Satkiewicz said. “You don’t need to be training 20 hours a week to complete the event. You just have to have a bike and a couple of friends, and you’re in. We’re going to make sure women are aware that we want them to race, and it’s not over the top.”
In addition, SBT GRVL will start hosting local rides at the end of April to help people get comfortable with the terrain. The kids’ initiative is set to begin in June, where sponsors and local organizations will aid in decreasing the price for entry and encouraging kids to go on gravel rides.
“That concept of investing in the racer is huge,” Satkiewicz said. “We did a good job of getting the word out. We have great partners that believed in what we were doing right out of the gates. That helped validate that this was a really significant event and something new.”
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