I am beyond excited to announce that Cardinal Real Estate Partners is sponsoring an elite-level amateur women’s cycling team. The mission behind the Cardinal Classic Cycling Team is to give talented women riders in the Southeast region a shot at landing an elusive pro team contract. These riders also have Olympic potential, and I am looking forward to seeing them bring home some serious medals in the future.
On June 19-20, I was lucky to watch the team race against 60 top female riders in the USA Nationals. They raced against the best in the country, including four summer Olympians and past world champions. Given ours is a relatively young team, the goal was to have the riders survive the races and finish. They exceeded our expectations.
The Cardinal Classic Cycling Team team represents grit and dedication, risk and courage.
Riders include a harpest, a microbiologist, and an MBA student (with ambitions to be Ph.D.) at UGA. They also are very much a TEAM that cares about each other, and they are serious about being leaders in the sport and role models for young women.
I’ve often written about my love of cycling. I competed at an elite level after college when I lived in Vail, Colorado. I raced 20-plus mountain bike races a year, and my fellow cyclists and I benefited from sponsorships by companies such as Carrera and VBS. I understand the joy of being in the flow of cycling. It’s one of the few things I do to find my flow and where I don’t have to think about what I am doing while I am doing it. I can just be present.
The Cardinal Classic Cycling Team comprises five riders, a director who helps with coaching and preparation, a manager who supports rider selection and logistics, and two-to-three mechanics who assist with the more significant events. Most of these riders are designated as Category 1 riders (1 is the highest level, followed by professional), with two riders due soon to upgrade to Category 1. Through my friendship with Shane Martin, I learned about the team. Shane is a retired elite cyclist who happens to make the best bike apparel I have ever found, and it’s designed right here in NC. Check him out at Classic Cycling.
Shane’s enthusiasm for the team, which he is managing, got me thinking about how much sports and being part of a team meant to me and my development and friends and colleagues who became the leaders they are today through their sports involvement.
Unfortunately, there is a considerable discrepancy between the amount of sponsorship and opportunities available in men’s and women’s sport.
Women’s sports sponsorship accounted for only .4% – less than 1% – of total sports sponsorship between 2011 and 2013, according to Women in Sport, a group driving innovation and programming to tackle gender inequalities.
Women’s sports sponsorship has almost been an afterthought as men’s sport has dominated both sponsorship and media exposure. Of all sports media coverage, women’s sports coverage typically accounted for only 7% of air time, Women in Sport reported. However, there’s been an exciting shift recently as more people wonder why there isn’t more investment in women’s teams. Studies show that increased support of and exposure to women athletes increases girls’ participation and helps shape tomorrow’s leaders.
Working in commercial real estate is all about grit; it’s about hard work and long hours, and working as a team.
The athletes on the Cardinal Classic Cycling Team are emblematic of attributes I hold dear. These riders are all about determination, hard work, long hours, and working together. I view this as the perfect opportunity, the perfect sport, and the perfect time for Cardinal Real Estate Partners to step in with a three-year commitment.
We are very excited to see these women turn pro and perhaps compete in future Olympics. I look forward to supporting them and telling their stories in future issues of Cardinal Insights.
Here are a few links to learn more about this fantastic group of athletes…
And check out our jerseys!