SBT GRVL expands DEI goals through partnership with Ride for Racial Justice
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — From the very beginning, SBT GRVL wanted to be different. In its first year, the Steamboat Springs gravel bike race had 30% participation from women riders — a number they campaigned to hit but were not satisfied with.
Achieving a 50-50 participation rate between men and women was the original goal, but it’s no longer the only one. On Tuesday, SBT GRVL announced a partnership with Ride for Racial Justice, which sets 25 registration slots aside for cyclists who are Black, Indigenous or people of color (BIPOC). The program will cover entry fees and provide financial support to cover costs such as transportation, lodging, coaching and gear.
“When we started SBT, we thought of, what do we want to stand for? What’s important to us?” said SBT GRVL co-founder Amy Charity. “We kept coming back to wanting to invest in our racers, invest in our community and invest in causes we believe in.”
Any BIPOC cyclist 18 and older can apply to the program up until Dec. 2. Ride for Racial Justice and SBT GRVL will then select 25 applicants who will be able to take part in the race, scheduled for Aug. 15, 2021.
Registration for the third annual but second in-person SBT GRVL Race opens on Dec. 4.
“It’s not limited to Colorado or certainly not to Steamboat,” Charity said. “This is something we’re hopeful is across the country and then expands with the communities of these 25 people. Of course, we want this to grow. We’re hoping in future years we can double it, triple it, and continue to do this effort.”
Ride for Racial Justice is a new Denver-based nonprofit co-founded by Marcus Robinson and Neal Henderson.
Amid the social justice movement and unrest that followed the death of George Floyd, Robinson was afraid to go out and ride his bike because he felt there was a target on his back. He and some friends organized a group ride to bring awareness to others who may feel the same. He was shocked when 100 people showed up for the event.
Realizing they might be onto something, Robinson and Henderson organized a few more community rides. The Fort Collins event ended up attracting more than 250 people, a number that baffled and delighted the pair.
“We were not a parade. We were actually talking about how we could change things and have conversations in a comfortable and safe atmosphere,” Robinson said. “People were energized; it was transformative. We were like, ‘Are you kidding? Are we doing something?’”
Robinson was supposed to compete in the inaugural SBT GRVL, but when he tore his hamstring, he reached out to race co-founder Mark Satkiewicz to say he was deferring to the next year. The pair became quick friends, and as Ride for Racial Justice grew, Robinson reached out to his friend in Steamboat.
Satkiewicz died in August, but Charity picked up where he left off and ensured the partnership with Ride for Racial Justice continued.
“He was the best partner I could ever have. … The more we talked, the more it became, what can Steamboat do,” Robinson said. “He said, ‘What you guys are doing aligns with our mission and our goals and everything we’re doing at SBT GRVL.’ He said, ‘We need to do something.’ … and here we are now, and I owe it all to Mark. Everything that we’ve done, we owe to Mark.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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