Lexicon Edit: Velominata

Without a doubt cycling is dominated by males.  Stop for a second and make two lists.  One list including all the male  pro cyclists you can think of off the top of your head, male riding companions of yours, and other male Velominati.  On the other list, jot down all the female pro cyclists you can, female riding companions of yours, and most importantly, female Velominati.  Without a doubt, guaranteed, fo’ sho’ the first list you made is considerably longer than the second.  Furthermore, I’m guessing your second list, the one with the names of women, has something like 5-10 names in the pro column,  something less than that in the female cyclists you ride with column, and something smaller still in the female Velominati column.  Far be it from me to pontificate on why this might be, although I do have my suspicions, so let’s just say it just is.  But that doesn’t mean it can’t change.

That said, we’ve received some pointed feedback from the fairer sex that we’re a bit of an old boys club here at the site.  Moreover, some of our female readership has taken umbrage with our use of the term Velomihottie.  Upon further reflection, we can understand why.  In its inception, Velomihottie was meant to convey a female Velominatus, a feminine derivation of the term which denotes a cycling disciple of the highest order.  Seems simple enough, right?  However, the misogynistic tone of the word “hottie” has been pointed out as something that is turning female readership and participation away.   That is not something that we, the Keepers, ever intended.

Taking their feedback a step further and actually making it constructive, something women are much better at than men are, our female counterparts offered up a suggestion: Velominata.  This makes perfect sense, no?  It seems the correct feminine derivation of our hackneyed faux-latin masculine Velominatus.   So with that we offer up an edit to the Lexicon:

Velominata: A female cycling disciple of the highest order.

So thank you to all of our female readers, no Velominata, who visit the site, lay down the V, and appreciate this place enough to actually offer up a great suggestion.  You are correct, we can be a bit of an old boys club around here sometimes.  But if you stick around, let your voices be heard, and tell us to HTFU often enough that can change.  More importantly we want you to share your passion for cycling on these pages.

By the way, the Velominata pictured above is Katrien Van Looy.  She’s Rik Van Looy’s grand daughter.  If you don’t like this change to the Lexicon then talk to one of them.  They’ll rip your spindly little legs off.

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71 Replies to “Lexicon Edit: Velominata”

  1. Nice work, Marko. Indeed no disrespect meant, in fact, I was just proud of managing a little bit of wordplay.

    So, let me add a few Rule-compliant shots of some of my favorite women racers:


    And US favorite Kirstin:

    Kirstin laying up some Rule #9

    Any my homecountry year-round hardass, Marrianne Vos

    (Is the gangly-arm whipperoo a Dutch-only thing?)

    The badass Hanka Kupfernagel

    BTW, some of these pics were nabbed from a very, very cool site:

  2. Excellent. It’s about time we acknowledged the distaff side of our sport. I myself am lucky enough to ride with several members of Team Kalyra, who set a world record for the 4-woman 50-59 group at RAAM in 2010. Talk about ripping your legs off! Trust me, these ladies can lay down the V, especially uphill.

    This should cut down on junk descriptions and posting weight data, if I’m any judge of Velominatae (note, this I believe is the proper plural form for a first declension Latin noun ending in “a”)

    And that’s a good thing.

    Delenda est Alberto

  3. Nice Marko.


    VMH seems to be a term you could use to lovingly describe your significant other if she also cycles, but I would feel weird calling a female friends who cycle a “velomihottie”, so this new term is great for that.

    Trust me, these ladies can lay down The V, especially uphill.

    Uh yeah, WTF is up with that any ways? It seems like many female cyclists are natural hill climbers. Could that be due to (generally speaking) smaller body size, thus less mass to haul up the hill?

  4. So very well articulated, Marko. Thanks. I must admit, I (naively) didn’t really see the old term as overly offensive, and while I’m sure it never was intended to be, a quick survey of my female riding (and non-riding) friends revealed how litte we men really know. And when I floated the idea of the change to The Keepers, I half-expected a barrage of Rule #5-laden responses. But I’m proud of the way Marko stepped up with this post, and the responses so far indicate that we are not the “old boys club” that some may have seen us as. Vive la Velominata!

  5. @Brett
    Nicely done, all. I can live with the various Adrians out there, who miss the fun of this site, but la vie velominatus is and should always be inclusive. It would be a shame if our brashness turned out to be exclusionary to others who ride.

  6. Yes, kudos and full respect, Marko, for righting our patriarchal sins. (I had thought about suggesting this term, but when Steampunk outed me as That kid in school I thought I should not confirm him in his view.) I think it would be a shame, though, if VMH were abandoned entirely and not available as an affectionate and respectful term for the significant cycling other of a Velominatus. Rather, I suggest that Velominatae (Sgt, I agree with you on your Latin declension (see, Steamy, you were right)) feel free to use VMH to also refer to their significant cycling other, should they wish (‘Velomihunk’, I guess).

  7. Nice work here.

    Loving the latin.

    There are definitely some serious grimpeuses out there. Follow them at your peril. Or, be a good domestique and keep them out of the wind on the flats.

  8. sgt:
    Excellent. It’s about time we acknowledged the distaff side of our sport. I myself am lucky enough to ride with several members of Team Kalyra, who set a world record for the 4-woman 50-59 group at RAAM in 2010. Talk about ripping your legs off! Trust me, these ladies can lay down The V, especially uphill.

    yeah, they pretty much drop me every time unless they are on a recovery ride

  9. Nice work! Velominata it is! Good move by the Keepers on this one.

    And, just to note, I always thought the term Velomihottie was to be used in reference to one’s own female bicycle riding partner; that’s how I used it.

    Nice photos, Frank! Some good celebration shots in there.

  10. Great Marko & nicely put. I don’t think the site was ever the OBC, but boys will be boys.
    Like the new term as well.

  11. It’s a long time since I did any Latin but IIRC a noun is either masculine or feminine, not both – similar to French.

    So velominatus means, well whatever it means, irrespective of gender – a velominatus, the velominati.

    The ‘a’ ending is not necessarily feminine. Agricola (farmer) for example is masculine, and the plural is agricolae.

    A neuter noun ending would be velominatum (singular) and velominata (plural).

    So basically we are all velominati.

  12. @ChrisO

    Not exactly. Latin is an inflected language and as such has nouns, pronouns, and adjectives that must be declined in order to serve a grammatical function. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_declension . But nouns also frequently have gender as well. Most nouns ending in “a” are first declension, and feminine in gender.

    There are exceptions as you note above, as there are in other Latin root languages like “la mano” and “el agua

  13. Continued (fucking iPad)…

    Velominatus/a are perfectly correct Latin noun forms, and besides, I like the distinction.

    FYI I made a serious attempt to learn Latin a few years ago so I could read inscriptions on European monuments and ruins…. Fucking hard language. I’ll stick with Spanish and passable Italian, thank you very much.

    Delenda est Alberto

  14. So, while explaining the update to the lexicon to my Velomihottie this morning she replied: “Well that’s silly.”

    She rightfully pointed out that Velomihottie should really be gender neutral and used to refer to any good looking cyclist. For instance, she would refer to Cancelara as a VH.

    So, I would say keep VH and add Velominata.

  15. Ok if we r going with trying to improve the chick-friendliness of this site (that phrase probably doesn’t assist) then surely there is a lexicon entry begging to be made about Jeannie Looooooongo and multiple decades of the V?

  16. And pretty sure Longo would be able to punch the living suitcase out of Reeeshard. If only she did…

  17. Marcus :
    And pretty sure Longo would be able to punch the living suitcase out of Reeeshard. If only she did…

    That Chick is a BEAST! And she and Reeeshard probably shared more than just a few wins together, more like a few needles and pushers.

  18. Nicely done, Brett… and great photos Frank. Nice to see Nicole up first… I remember seeing an interview with her after that awesome Rule #5 and #9 combo with her Beijing Road Race Gold (that yell at the finish line… awesome), where she was asked who her heros/heroines were, to which she replied “Eddie Merckx”… I always thought it slightly sad that her greatest hero wasn’t a velominata… Having said that, there are several velominata I ride with (who kick my butt uphill AND on the flat) who have her top of their list.

  19. TBH, there are still problems with using the term veominata – it still makes a distinction between male and female and there is really no need for that. I would vote for velominati for all genders.

  20. Here, here. I love women cyclists that come out and play with the boys. Especially when they kick my ass. In fact, I’m going out for a ride with one of the people I most enjoy riding with in about a half an hour. She’s one of the few cyclists (male or female) that will go out with me in inclimate weather. She lives for riding/racing and she dishes out the “V”. When I started riding a few years ago I was so proud when I could finally hold her wheel for two hours. Now that I’ve gotten stronger and the roles have changed in who tries to hang on to who she’s really supportive of me and encourages me all the time.

    Thanks Anna.

  21. @Mike Hurl
    Respectfully, I have to disagree. Men and women are different. That’s why we use the words “men” and “women”. In English, we do not have a gender neutral term when discussing people. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I don’t want to be an “it” any more than Liz Hatch or Lizzie Armitstead want to be “its”. Yes, they are bike racers, but they are female bike racers. Distinguishing between men’s cycling and women’s cycling is not condescending unless one chooses to make it so.

  22. A++ A fond memory is having trouble holding Connie Carpenters wheel in an open 1-2 race and the same with Beth Hieden, they both used low key men’s races to tune up. As far as I remember there was no difference in their performance and 2/3 of the field – as for the 1/3 I was in it was fun to try and hang on for a lap.

  23. At the end of the day it is hackneyed faux-latin and Velominata was what was suggested so we’ll keep it at that and yes, it makes complete sense to keep Velomihottie as a term of endearment. I’d never thought of it as being gender neutral. Strong work everyone.

    I’m really looking forward to riding again his summer with my VMH. She didn’t ride last summer much as she was cooking the baby (due any day now) but man, seeing her climb out of the saddle is really fun. I’m not sure if it’s her Italian bloodline, her size, or natural talent but I seriously see visions of Pantani when she does it. She dances on those pedals.

  24. Steampunk:
    For what it’s worth, I love getting Latin lessons from Billy Crystal.

    A man of many talents…. @sgt that is. Billy I’m not so sure about

  25. I can’t believe you let yourself get pushed around. After reading the second paragraph and with a statement like “some of our female readership has taken umbrage with our use of the term Velomihottie”. What crap is that? You may ride like a lion with a suitcase of courage but you wrote this post like a triple chainring grinding/trouserband riding/rearview mirror looking/hairy legged/reflector laden/rain pant wearing/pie plate equipped/12-28 mashing wuss. I will admit that there are some bonafide women riders that throw down the V – absolutely but I think that “Velomihotie” is a term of utmost respect showing prowess on the bike and overall hotness off the bike – a double threat if you will. A feat that many attempt and few attain. Velomihotties possess an almost mystical quality when they are present on group rides and are often subjects of mythical lore among cyclists. May Merckx have mercy on your soul.

    Mongol General: Wrong! Conan! What is best in life?
    Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.
    Mongol General: That is good! That is good.

  26. Anna Meares for female cyclist of the year – unbeaten as far as I know this track season, which has included the commonwealth games and 4 WC rounds, and setting records in the process. Also like the fact that she’s a track sprinter who ISN’T suffering some personality/aggressive/sociopathic disorder.

  27. @Buck Rogers
    Longo’s being dishing the V for decades. She whups up on girls (girls!) that could rip my guns to shreds, and those girls could be her granddaughters. Say what you like, she’s a hardman.

  28. Very well done Marko!
    Velominate (fem. plural) from Italy say thank you!

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