Mountain Bike ‘Groundhog Day’ as male rider Sylvia Castaneda sweeps Women’s division of Vittoria Eastern States Cup
July 12, 2015
In a story that will sound like ‘Groundhog Day’ to those familiar with the Michelle Dumaresq saga, a male competitor named Sylvia Castaneda was given the green light by mountain bike racing sponsor Vittoria Tires to compete in the prestigious Eastern States Women’s Cup on the basis that he claims to feel that he is mentally female, or has an internal female essence.
Like Dumaresq, who became the male Canadian National Women’s Champion of Downhill Mountain Bike Racing for three years under a similar policy until his retirement, Castaneda ran his first race in the novice female rank and swept the entire division, and just like Dumaresq, beat the top time of the entire elite female professional category by more than two seconds.
“Sylvia Castaneda of Boston, racing in her very first downhill event, was easily the biggest shock of the weekend. The fast and fearless Castaneda not only won the female beginner class by a whopping 41-seconds, she was also the fastest female on the day, beating the women’s pro division winner by more than two seconds. Talk about starting off with a bang,” reported PinkBike, who opted not to mention the fact that Sylvia is in fact a male competitor. A fairness complaint, left as a comment on their post by an event attendee was also not responded to. Castaneda would have placed 2nd in the male novice category for the 19-29 year old age group in the June 14 Pats Peak New Hampshire event. He would not have placed at all in the professional male category.
Sylvia Castaneda is a man named James “Jamie” Hargreaves, with a history of competing (and not placing) in male races, sources report to GenderTrender. He works as a bike mechanic for a large shop in Boston’s west end. He has also used the alias “Jamie Liddell”, adopting the surname of his apparent life-partner, another transgender male.
Boston’s Community Bicycle Supply, “Sylvia’s” official sponsor, opted not to mention or celebrate their sponsored rider’s “shocking” winning sweep on either their main business or their several times daily updated facebook site. Not a whisper for their triumphant “female” champion.
Like Michelle Dumaresq before him, Castaneda/Hargreaves does not believe that his male physiology, bone structure, musculature, and history/socialization as a male athlete advantages him over the females he is competing against, says a source who knows him (and who wants it stated that they are a strong supporter of LGBT people with many beloved friends and family members falling into that category). Sylvia/James truly believes that he has a “female mind” and that this mind-set makes him unquestionably female biologically. He believes that males who are predisposed to “femininity” are not physically male because femininity is the definition of womanhood and the mind overrides corporeality. Or something.
Perhaps like many transgender male athletes he views himself as a “disadvantaged” due to the social stigma he receives as a male who embraces “femininity”, and dominating in competition against female athletes is an entitlement that “equalizes” that “disadvantage”. Or perhaps, like Dumaresq, his narcissism is so great that he believes his male biology has disappeared under his command (and some hormone pills!), and his sudden fabulous win streak in athletics is based on the fact that he is simply one very, very special lady.
Vittoria Tire, sponsors of the Eastern States Cup, agrees with this definition of “female athlete”: any man can be one. Rather than support women’s sports and the kick-ass female mountain bike division, they opted to prioritize the rights of any men who “identify” as “male-bodied females”.
After ignoring women’s fairness concerns following the male rider’s sweep of the women’s division, Vittoria responded by licensing James/Sylvia for his second race in the women’s division for round two of the New England Cup on July 4, in Killington, VT, this time in the top rated amateur women’s category. To no one’s surprise, he again swept the women’s division, besting all actual female amateur competitors and also all of the women’s professional category, except the #1 elite top women’s rider Mary Elges, who bested him by over three seconds. James/Sylvia would have failed to place at all in his top male amateur category at this event, much less the pro male category. Funny how PinkBike didn’t even mention “Sylvia” this time in their report of his second event.
What is striking beyond the extraordinary “Groundhog Day” synchronicities of the previous Michelle Dumaresq and the current Sylvia Castaneda incursion into women’s downhill mountain bike racing, (both sweeping the entire female division on their first novice race, both exhibiting utter entitlement to do so as men who feel “disadvantaged” by the existence of female sporting events), is the larger “Groundhog Day” of the male sporting authorities, media and sponsors shitting on women’s sports in general: Male sponsors like Vittoria Tire blatantly tokenizing and disrespecting elite women athletes. Male sponsors like Boston’s Community Bicycle Supply robbing female athletes of their right to compete fairly against other women. Male licensing boards prioritizing male feelings over basic female rights to licensed women’s athletic competition. Male sports media ignoring and censoring coverage of women’s sports. “Transgender” policies adopted by male sports authorities which solely benefit male competitors, to the sole detriment of female athletes. Rinse and repeat. Endlessly. Groundhog Day.