Local Women’s Program Produces BC Superweek Cyclists, Olympians

Local Women’s Program Produces BC Superweek Cyclists, Olympians ~ Recent Graduate of local introductory cycling program set to race at 2012 Olympics

Jasmin Glaesser

Jasmin Glaesser

When Lisa Howard lines up for the start of BC Superweek at the Tour de Delta on Friday night, she will do so partly as a competitor, and a partly as a proud teacher, as eager for her cycling students to succeed as she is herself.

Winning might be easier if she wasn’t having so much success as a teacher.

Howard runs an annual Young Women’s Cycling Camp every August through her local-based team, the Escape Velocity Cycling Club and dEVo. The program is designed to help women make the transition biking enthusiast to competitive cyclist, with lessons from group riding to racing on the road and track, and to say the list of recent alumni is impressive would be a huge understatement.

Atop the list of recent graduates is Jasmine Glaesser, who came to Howard’s school of cycling just three years ago, dominated BC Superweek last summer with two wins and six podiums, and is now headed to the 2012 Summer Olympics to represent Canada.

“Whether you are looking to pick up a new hobby, get into shape, or pursue your athletic potential, this program will help you get started,” said Glaesser, who already has two World Championship medals, and along with Laura Brown, another local with BC Superweek roots, is a medal favourite on the track in London. “There are amazing opportunities for female cyclists, you just have to jump on a bike and get rolling.”

Olympic preparations in Los Angeles will keep Glaesser from defending her titles at BC Superweek this year, but Howard has other graduates competing. Among them are Jenny Lehmann, who won the 2011 GranFondo Whistler and now races for a local Trek Red Truck team that has graduated several riders to American pro squads in recent years.

They will have their work cut out for them at BC Superweek, with a strong field of locals and American-based pro teams coming up to take part in nine races over 10 days and compete for $105,000 in prizes, especially with $8,000 for the women’s winner of the Gastown Grand Prix alone.

This year’s field features Loren Rowney, an Australian rookie racing for the Specialized-Lululemon team that includes Canadian legend Clara Hughes. Rowney already posted a UCI win in New Zealand, beat Canadian Olympian and past BC Superweek winner Joelle Numaineville to win on the road at the Redlands Bicycle Classic, and recently finished second behind teammate Emilia Fahlin at the Nature Valley Grand Prix.

The Primal/MapMyRide Professional Women’s Cycling team is sending two riders – Nicky Wangsgard and Jessica Cutler – from Colorado. So is the Colavita-espnW Pro team that Glaesser is now a part of, with fellow Canadians Mariah Jo MacGregor and Joanie Caron coming to BC Superweek. The Ottawa-based Stevens Racing team is also sending a couple of riders west.

It’s a strong group, part of a BC Superweek tradition that includes past Canadian Olympians like Gina Grain and Alison Sydor, as well as top international riders like Dotsie Bausch, a two-time US National Champion and Pan-Am Games gold medalist. It means tough competition for Howard and her students, but also hopefully some inspiration for the next group of would-be women’s cyclists.

Howard’s four-week program starts again on August 6, with two sessions a week, and includes sessions on – and certification for – the Burnaby Velodrome, a BC License for club racing, and personalized instruction from certified cycling coaches, including group-riding skills and nutrition and core strength. For some it may also lead to a spot in next year’s BC Superweek and, who knows, perhaps even the 2016 Olympics.

Glaesser is proof it’s possible.

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BC Superweek is Canada’s biggest cycling series, with $105,000 in prize money available during nine races over 10 days.

BC Superweek runs from July 6 through 15, and is made up of the Tour de Delta (races on July 6, 7, 8), Original 16 UBC Grand Prix (July 10), Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix (July 11), Giro di Burnaby (July 12) and the Tour de White Rock (races on July 13, 14, 15)


Lisa Howard
Young Women’s Cycling Camp

Kevin Woodley
Media Relations, BC Superweek

Greg Descantes
Media Relations, Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix