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Interview: Dotsie Bausch - Coaching With Vision
By Imelda March
Date: 3/12/2010
Interview: Dotsie Bausch - Coaching With Vision

Interview: Dotsie Bausch - Coaching With Vision
Moving on with Dotsie Bausch - We hope to build women’s cycling locally, regionally and, eventually, nationally by setting an example for our competitors, sponsors and fans

Dotsie Bausch identified a void in the development of well-rounded female athletes in Southern California and, together with veteran rider Pam Schuster, formed the InCycle/Time To Track presented by Empower Coaching Systems cycling team. Comprised of an eight-rider squad that will primarily compete throughout California, the new team of young riders will race in regional and National Racing Calendar (NRC) events while being mentored and groomed to compete on the national and international circuits as professionals and, perhaps, Olympians.

While success on the bike is important to the team, InCycle/Time To Track presented by Empower Coaching Systems will define success differently because the mission of the unit emphasizes fostering a fun, positive, respectful and nurturing environment to support young females in goal-oriented pursuits in cycling and life beyond athletics.

Dotsie was on the initial T-Mobile Women's Team

Bausch, a six-time National Champion and a Pan American Championships gold medal winner who has been racing as a member of the U.S. National Team since 2002, had so much fun last season racing around the globe mentoring young Australian, New Zealand and Canadian riders on the Jazz Apple Team that it inspired her to focus on the talent right in her own backyard.

“The women on InCycle/Time To Track presented by Empower Coaching Systems were specifically selected because of the enormous potential they have shown in winning races and as quality women who realize the importance of giving back,” said Bausch.

“When I first came into the sport, I was blessed to receive generous mentorship from Jim and Katie Stafford, who demonstrated that they believed in me no matter what. They taught me cycling and the importance of team concepts, and they encouraged me never to give up on myself.

That is the legacy Pam and I want to impart upon the young women coming up in our sport. We hope to build women’s cycling locally, regionally and, eventually, nationally by setting an example for our competitors, sponsors and fans that we are athletes who promote generosity, kindness and fairness in sport, and that we are only as great as the sum of our parts.”

Dotsie Bausch is in her eighth year of racing professionally (you may remember her by her maiden name Cowden) and has been coaching for five years. She was a member of the U.S. National Team and has competed in the biggest races around the world for professional teams including T-Mobile, Colavita-Sutter Home and Jazz Apple.

Dotsie at the Philly Liberty Classic
 Photo © Scott 2910 Scitt Shaffrick

She earned a bachelor’s degree from Villanova University, where she majored in communications and minored in philosophy.

I caught up with Bausch fresh off a jet arriving from Europe for a chat about women’s racing, life, upcoming UCI races and the London 2012 Olympics.

Imelda March: Please tell us a little about Empower Coaching Systems. When were you founded, what does the company do, and what function will it perform for the team?

Dotsie Bausch: Empower Coaching Systems is a coaching program formed in 2008 in partnership with Andy Sparks. The team will focus on road and track cycling disciplines. My partnership with Andy Sparks is a perfect coaching marriage since Andy brings track and I bring road experience to the partnership.

Andy is currently working at the UCI World Cycling Center, in Aigle, Switzerland. I just returned from a 10-day training block with Lauren Tamayo and Sarah Hammer. We were preparing for the upcoming UCI Track World Championships that are scheduled for March 24-28, 2010 in Denmark.

Dotsie Baush leads Sarah Hammer and Lauren Tamayo
Photo © 2010 Luis Barbosa

The Team and the Women's 'Racing Market'
Riding for InCycle/Time To Track presented by Empower Coaching Systems in 2010 will be youngsters Katie Donovan, Priscilla Calderon, Beatriz Rodriguez and Steph Roorda, along with veterans Lee Adams, Bonnie Breeze and co-captains Bausch and Schuster. A former competitor as a professional triathlete, Donovan morphed into a full-time cyclist last season before going on to win the Ventura Stage Race and set the record for the fastest women’s times ever recorded on both days of the epic Everest Challenge.
See: Riding the Everest Challenge

Heading into her fourth season, Calderon won a State Criterium Championship in 2006. Also embarking on her fourth season of racing, Rodriguez’s resume includes winning the 2008 U23 National Criterium Championship, the 2008 SoCal Cup Series, and a state cyclocross title. Roorda, who raced with Bausch last season at Team Jazz Apple, is entering her second season on the road. She won gold in the team pursuit racing for her native Canada at the World Cup track event last December in Cali, Colombia.

Bausch, who is targeting the 2012 Olympic Games as a member of the team pursuit, will represent the U.S. in that discipline at the UCI World Track Championships in Denmark in late March. Still fast after 18 years of racing, Schuster won the SoCal Cup Series last season. Adams, who is team manager, placed third at the 2006 Master’s World Championship Road Race. Breeze has 20 years of racing under her belt, highlighted by winning back-to-back Master’s State Championships in 2007 and 2008.

IM: What differentiates your team from Peanut Butter & Co.TWENTY12?

Dotsie Bausch: We are not about the Olympics. After my experience of being an assistant director with Jazz Apple, my juices were flowing to continue to develop and mentor women riders. I would have continued with Jazz Apple had the sponsors renewed with the team. Once it was announced that they were folding, I got working on assembling a team in the U.S.

IM: If a rider wanted to join your team, what would be the requirements?

Dotsie Bausch: They would have to be a category 1/2 racing classification. Women in these categories may join us but the rider would have to move to our area since we have a limited budget and that is how we sold the team to the sponsors. We were grateful that a number of sponsors stepped up to the plate to support us.

The women we have are the next wave of women racers in the U.S.A. The Olympics is not our major goal. Our goal is to tactfully teach the women to race properly/safely within our region and the surrounding races. We aim to develop women who are category 1/2s and who are ready to make the next step to NRC teams.

The Races & Racing Development

IM: What industry relationships will enable you to fulfill the goal of getting your team of women racers to competitive races?

Dotsie Bausch: We will definitely work with Mike Engleman of the U.S. Women's Cycling Development Program in order for our team to participate in the bigger races. We wish to support the NRC program by participating in the Redlands Bicycle Classic, Cascade Cycling Classic, Tour de Gila and, if possible, the Nature Valley Grand Prix (NVGP). The NVGP does so much for women’s racing that it is hard not to show support.

IM: What role should professional teams play in the development of junior riders both athletically and intellectually?

Dotsie Bausch: Good question and good point. The men are skipping college and going for pro almost immediately. Women find the sport in college while getting an education, or from other sports. They pick up the sport because of injury in other sports. Women like me who pick up bike racing after college stay with it for a long time. I started with the CA Aids Ride then decided to try racing. Professional women arrived armed with doctorates and PhDs. Women are finding racing later in life so they already come educated and stimulated. They are choosing to do it as another challenge.

The big problem of education is more on the men’s side. It is important to foster education in young athletes but the young men are the ones who are skipping getting educated. Junior boys do not talk about school, it is not even on their radar screen, and further, collegiate racing is not an avenue to men’s pro racing. The men want to go straight to Europe. They think that maybe they can study correspondence or they can go to school when they are finished with racing. Then again, junior boys are more delusional than the women junior racers. I don’t think the racing should occur at the expense of their education. Cycling is a legitimate career for the men but unfortunately not for the women.

IM: What role should professional teams play in developing and ensuring the future of women’s racing in their area/U.S. and ensuring that it improves both in size and sponsorship?

Dotsie Bausch: If the sponsors see that women’s racing is a legitimate way of moving their product then the money will come; otherwise, the sponsors will not buy into supporting it.

One of the best ideas floating around comes from Mike Tamayo (the husband of Lauren Tamayo). His belief is that if every men’s Pro team mandates that their teams field a women’s team that would feed itself in promoting women’s racing. If the UCI would set such a rule then we would see more women’s teams and better opportunities for women who aspire to be professional bike racers. Who will break the news? (DP Editor) Mike Tamayo met with U.S.A Cycling officials about this and they feel that it is a good idea but implementation make take many years.

My belief is that, for women racing to grow, professional women need to give back to the sport. Since my focus is on the track, I have time to mentor because my summer will be dedicated to developing. When the team’s season ends I can focus on my track season. Women have to be part of the mix for any advancement to be seen in our sport. The women understand the market very well and unfortunately not a lot of men do.

We fortunately have Mike Engleman who has been the Good Samaritan for the women in recent years. He started with Team Mobile as an assistant director and saw the need and stepped up to the plate to find talent and help develop them.

IM: Will the team remain all American or will you welcome up-and-coming foreign riders?

Dotsie Bausch: We have a Canadian woman on the team, but our sponsors are from Southern California and that is how we sold the team. In the future, we could build it differently.

IM: The on/off again, women’s portion of the Amgen Tour of California has been brought back. Will your team be there?

Dotsie Bausch: Since I was part of the discussion of bringing back the women’s race, the answer is yes, InCycle/Time To Track presented by Empower Coaching Systems is planning on sending two to three riders to the Sunday, May 16th Sacramento Grand Prix.

Walk the Walk

IM:  What advice would you have for any individual whose goal is to create a new women’s cycling team? And how do you engage young women to want to ride and race their bikes?

Dotsie Bausch: Do you mean how do we identify the women when they are much younger? I would have never stuck with the sport if I found it at the age of 10. Women seem to be more diverse in their sport selections. They like to try new and different things. I don’t see it as a problem that the women find it later in life because when they find it they tend to stick with it. If the women find it that young, they need to keep education as a goal because they will not make the kind of salaries that the men are able to command. It is not a high paying field and must be supplemented with education as these women prepare for their future.

Forming a team is always a monumental task. However, one of the obligations that my riders have written into their contracts is to mentor category 3/4 riders. We have eight women whose mission is to attend three races each in which they will race the first half with the 3/4 riders while providing instruction about what to do in a criterium. This provides 24 times that a category 1/2 woman racer helps out a category 3/4 woman with ‘on the saddle race tactic’ instruction.

The current system does not have a strong built-in system of training intermediate and beginner riders. Most women arrive at teams with very little knowledge about race tactics. Also, forming a new team takes lots of work and dedication. Aside from all the logistics involved, the most important thing is to build a proper racing foundation and have racing goals.

Racing Under a Gould Standard

IM:  I’m sure you are aware that at some races the winning Elite Men home winnings are generally more than the women’s take home pay. Thus, what are your thoughts about the Gould Rule and/or the “equal pay for equal work” issue? Should that be implemented?

Dotsie Bausch: Obviously, I care and I think it would be fantastic; however, the reality is who is going to put forth the money? The women in all the sports suffer from the money issue. Women’s tennis is the only sport that is differentiated. The public seems to care more about women’s tennis than any other sport. It is a great idea, again, where’s the money going to be coming from? The public is more interested in watching men’s cycling and not as much women cycling.

What are the sports in which women make equal money and why? Is this a question that needs to be addressed? Is it exploitation? What do we do about women’s cycling lycras? Do we need them to be skimpier? It could get ridiculous! Sports in which women are sexy draw the eye of the public and sponsors. People get excited about the sexy things and sponsors are only interested in the number of eyeballs that will see their product.

A request for additional comments on the issue of “equal pay for equal work” was sent to Linda Jackson, found, manager and president of Team Tibco; Mike Engleman, Founder and Manager of the US Women's Cycling Development Program (USWDCP); and Paul Forsythe, founder and manager of Team Kenda.
You can read the responses in here:  Women's Racing & "The Gould Rule"

IM: Do you think that the Gould Rule should be implemented within all races within the U.S.? Should it be specific to category 1 and 2? What about the category 3 up-and-coming rider?

Dotsie Bausch:  It was really cool that Georgia Gould went out of her way to do this petition; but I don’t spend too much time thinking about it. I don’t think this is why women race. In contrast to the U.S., the European women smile very little. No one is in it for the love of the sport like the U.S. women.

In my experience, when comparing Europe vs. the U.S., the European women do it to escape to better pastures; they do it like a job. But the U.S. women do it because of passion and not necessarily because of a salary.

Health, Recognition, Life Goals

IM: Is there a race/promoter that your team will be aiming to support due to their strong commitment to women’s racing/equal pay for equal work?

Dotsie Bausch: Oh! That is a good question, but I need to put more thought into that. When I formed the team, I asked the women what were their goals and I did not address my requests from them in this manner. But I will say that Nature Valley Grand Prix is definitely one of the races. But we did not approach it as supporting a specific promoter.

IM: You are a strong advocate of women eating well. What advice do you have for women who are experiencing body image issues i.e. bulimia? You have a personal experience with this?

Dotsie Bausch: Gosh, this is a loaded question. I know from experience you need to identify the source of it. It is really diving in and finding out what the source of it really is. Eating disorders are a control issue and can become an addiction. Women need to find out why are they struggling and finding help. The women need to admit that there is a problem prior to finding a solution.

It is all consuming and can take over a woman’s life. I got healed because I recognized I had the problem, admitted about the issue and got therapy work. It was real hard work and it was not easy. Tough work!

Dotsie the Fashion Model

IM:  You have a goal of selecting athletes of the month for your website. How would you determine who makes the mark?

Dotsie Bausch:  Oh wow! The athletes of the month are chosen from our client base. We have about 40 clients and that is how we will select them. We identify them from different angles and not just from racing results. For example, they got 10th in a race. How did they get there--physical, mental, etc.?

IM:  Are you still doing modeling work?

Dotsie Bausch: Oh God no! That was 15 years ago.

IM:   What is your current goal? Are you looking forward to London 2012? Will you race on the road or on the track?

Dotsie Bausch:  Personally, I will not be racing on the road. The U.S. Track Team Pursuit is among the top five women pursuit teams in the world. We have our sights set on developing the U.S. and have a shot at medaling in London.

IM:  What do you do when off the bike?

Dotsie Bausch:  I run my coaching business that takes up the bulk of the time. Additionally, I have been owner of an on-line glasses store for the past seven years. But, since embarking on running a racing team, my sister has been managing the day-to-day activities of the business. I also own two Chihuahua dogs (Mini and Yodi).

IM:  Dotsie, you are married. How do you balance the life of a pro athlete with marriage?

Dotsie Bausch:  Women are multi-taskers; the guys can only do one thing at a time. Life is so much more enjoyable with a partner. Kirk loves cycling and we can train together and this facilitates being together more. Kirk races with the big master teams in southern California. South Cal has the best weather for riding. NorCal does not enjoy the same nice weather like us.

About the team: The team is named for its sponsor, InCycle/Time To Track presented by Empower Coaching Systems, a cycling coaching venture of which Bausch is a partner, Champion Systems, Amgen Cycling Club, EPIC Performance Hydration & Recovery Drinks, Selle Italia Bicycle Saddles, SpiderTech, Smith Sunglasses, Hibiscus Sunglasses, Sequoia Technology Group and Great Scott P.R. Productions.

Catch up with InCycle/Time To Track presented by Empower Coaching Systems by visiting:
Facebook: under Empower Coaching
Hibiscus-Sunglasses: (Dotsie’s online business)

About the author: Imelda March is a member of Team Kenda and is the newest contributor to the Daily Peloton Cycling News team. Imelda is an experienced racer who will drop in to report on women cycling issues and racing. She lives in Chicago where she often has to watch out for the city’s crazy drivers.

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