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Marisa (back, pink) mountain bikes at Perry Hill in Waterbury, VT. Photo credit: Zach Walbridge.

The debate surrounding women’s specific bicycle frames has been ongoing for several years. Women’s specific bikes have been around since the early 2000s, but some of the major brands have started phasing out the practice of designing bikes specifically for men or women.

Specialized in particular is aiming to gender-neutralize their bikes. New for 2019 / 2020, we are seeing several women’s models being dropped and replaced by the more neutral frame design. Specifically, the Specialized Ruze (a 27.5 plus tire hardtail mountain bike) and the Specialized Ruby (an endurance road bike) will no longer be manufactured. This follows the gender-neutralization of the Specialized Diverge, Stumpjumper, Tarmac, and Sirrus in the past couple years. So why, after fighting so hard for women’s bikes, are these manufacturers deciding to do away with women’s specific frames?

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Riders slog through muddy roads during the Rasputista Gravel Bicycle Race in Vermont. Photo Credit: Nolan Myers.

Not only did you need to be “Broke, Rad, Athletic and Determined,” but you also needed a snorkel because man, Rasputista was WET! When Rasputista said on their website “It’s not about the racing. It’s about challenging the human spirit,” they weren’t kidding!

Looking back on it, April 27th would have been a great day for a meteorologist because no matter what weather they predicted, the odds were ever in their favor. There was a little bit of rain, some sleet, a glimpse of sunshine and oh some SNOW! Yes, that’s right there was some white stuff coming down from the sky and yes, I was very confused. But, hey, it's Vermont and weird stuff happens all the time.

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Rasputista Gravel Bicycle Race: Making a Joke Into a Reality. Photo Credit: Zach Walbridge.

What is Rasputista?

Broke, Rad, Athletic, and Determined. Sure, the first letters of all those words spell out my first name, but that’s all you need to be a part of one of Vermont’s gnarliest gravel road races. As a college kid for only 25 dollars I somehow made a joke into a reality and will find myself on the starting line of the 2019 Rasputista Spring Classic! The race is set for Saturday, April 27 in Burke, Vermont.

So…what exactly is Rasputista? Rasputista is a 45-mile road race and for all the mathematically inclined people out there that’s 211,200 feet of pure dirt roads. All of which can be found in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. On their website they advertise it as, “It’s not about the racing. It’s about challenging the human spirit.” 

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