Can’t wait for this documentary!
espnW: Colavita has had 12 Olympians, one world champion and 12 national champions on the team during its 13-year run, which is directly related to your role in enabling these women to compete professionally. Did you ever imagine that pasta and olive oil could yield such powerful results?
JP: It’s a great feeling for me to see those statistics and accomplishments of the many athletes who were part of our Colavita women’s team at some point of their careers. Needless to say, I hope all of them will remember Colavita when they finish pro cycling and spend more time shopping and cooking! Ha!
But seriously, I feel very satisfied on a personal level that my decision to support this team has helped so many young women athletes over years. That satisfaction has nothing to do with the business return."
Great interview with John Profaci of Colavita, on why he’s sponsored women’s cycling, and some really interesting insights into sponsorship
All those involved in supporting the grassroots levels of cycling know the reward is always worth the effort. “Because we all went through obstacles, because we love the sport and have goals and also managed studies, careers, friends, boyfriends, etc.,” Caron said. “We can show the next generation that anything is possible.
“Cycling has helped me to know myself better as a person, to be strong in the hard times on the bike [disappointments, crashes], but also off the bike,” she added. “I met some of my best friends and my longtime boyfriend. Cycling shows me how important is it to keep a positive attitude in every circumstance and keep working every day to achieve my goals.”"
On North Americans Dotsie Bausch, Amber Neben, Tina Pic and Jasmin Glaesser
Click through, and read on!
I’ve covered a lot of riders in my mini-series on social media and women’s cycling, but eagle-eyed readers have been asking why I haven’t mentioned these three riders yet. It’s because I was saving them for a special post! These three are riders who transcend the (admittedly arbitrary) categories – and I’m always so happy to follow them, for everything they do!
Bridie O’Donnell – Vanderkitten-Focus
First up, the undisputed queen of commentweeting, Bridie O’Donnell. She’s the perfect person to follow, for everything you need to know about women’s and men’s cycling – in fact, if you only take one recommendation from this series, follow Bridie!"
My post on three of the women’s cycling superstars of social media - Bridie O’Donnell, Amber Pierce and Kathryn Bertine. Click through and read it!
It’s the most asked question of every athlete in every sport: Did you win? The answer is usually a cut-and-dry yes or no. And then there is cycling, where winning and losing is complicated; individuals and teams blur the line of what it means to truly win.
From the domestique who DNF after helping a teammate get into winning position, to the best rider in the field who flats before the sprint, it’s hard to bestow the title of winner and loser. There is also a diverse classification of sprint points and prize money that adds various layers to the definition of winning. So when the inevitable, “Did you win?” came this past weekend at the Tour of Elk Grove, Team Colavita’s last official bike race of 2012, I answered the spectator as honestly as possible: “We didn’t finish first.”
We didn’t win, but at the same time, we didn’t lose. Our team was saved from sponsor-withdrawal extinction at the last minute and came into the race season in May instead of January. Our journey was different than most."
Glaesser is a third-year math major at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, where she is hard at work developing a new equation. It goes something like this:
1 rookie + 2 world championship medals = 1 Olympic berth.
Glaesser, 19, ventured into cycling at 15 when a barrage of injuries as high school runner plagued her athletic progression.
“I saw a chiropractor, and he told me to pick another sport,” Glaesser said.
Glaesser’s father, a computing science professor at Simon Fraser, owned a road bike and it intrigued his daughter enough save up to buy her own. “There was an indoor velodrome nearby with a local learn-to-ride program, so that’s how I started.”"
For Kristy Scrymgeour, the owner and manager of Specialized-lululemon, partnering with Right to Play isn’t just about what her athletes can do for society, but also for the life lessons she wanted to impart to her team. “As a pro athlete, you’re given a lot and you are well looked-after. The pro athlete life can be kind of selfish, but that’s how it has to be when your priority is training and keeping yourself in top form. Giving back is one way that athletes see that what they are doing can also help someone else.”
Scrymgeour has seen the gift of giving go both ways. While her athletes raise funds by leading group rides and holding auctions for Right To Play donations, the emotional act of selflessness comes back two-fold through inspiration.
“Cycling is a pretty hard sport, it’s really tough,” said Scrymgeour. “Sometimes you think, ‘Why am I doing this?’ So for the athletes, knowing they are doing something good can be a huge inspiration. Clara Hughes [six-time Canadian Olympian and six-time medalist] once said to me that she probably would have given up sport years ago if she didn’t realize she could help affect other people’s lives in positive ways. When athletes get to that stage where it’s ‘Oh, it’s just another hard day …’ then I can say, ‘Hey, you don’t have to do it for yourself, you can do it for someone or something else.’”"
Nice piece on the way different USA-based women’s teams are supporting charities while racing - with a great little profile of the always-awesome Bridie O’Donnell, too
Ah, the dynamic of 200 alpha women riding within three inches of one another for weeklong stage races. On race day, everyone brings their game face. Friendly takes a back seat to focus, though it is typical that riders who know each other will say hello and chat during less intense moments of the race.
Rarely are people outright mean, though it is always fascinating to hear the adrenaline-induced comments that arise in conjunction with bad bike-handling skills and unnecessary sudden movements. Some of these athletes definitely have the vocabulary of sailors, or perhaps hidden talents as creative writers. Yet there are encouraging words found within the peloton as well, and it is not uncommon to hear riders from opposing teams offer kind words to one another.
With our team being a new squad with some young riders, many competitors have expressed nice sentiments about how it’s good to see the Colavita name back in cycling and how having more women’s pro teams is good for everyone in the sport. Sure, they want to kick our butts while racing, but in the big picture of the progression of women’s cycling, teams know we need to support one another. It’s good sportsmanship. Plus, no one wants enemies when traveling at 30-plus mph."
Love this - Bertine answers some questions about the day-to-day life in the pro peloton
Somewhere in the middle of my Olympic quest, I knew there was much more going on in women’s cycling than my personal journey. Just how much I’m still uncovering. In an effort to show the incredible beauty and fixable problems within our sport, I’m committed to producing a documentary about women’s cycling where all the pride and prejudices can come to light. Filming has begun.
This project will be my new journey for the next year, as will continuing my rookie year with Team Colavita. I’ll keep you posted along the way with my “Riding with the Pros” column. After all, the other part of that mental contract we cyclists sign says:
“I am OK with shooting for big goals, trying without any guarantee of success, living life to the fullest, embracing disappointment and success with equal fervor and remembering to think “Wheeeee!” on all downhills.”
As for Rio 2016, who knows. I don’t rule anything out. That’s the great thing about journeys. Anything is possible. Unless the broom wagon gets me. If you don’t see any updates soon, start checking race route ditches."
Really heartfelt, bitter-sweet blog from Bertine - on not getting to London 2012, the things that put it into perspective - and being Bertine, on turning negatives to positives, and what’s happening next.
As always, there’s so much good stuff here - and here’s to her dad getting back to 100% fitness, and racing that triathlon. Huge thanks to Bertine for all her great blogs and insights into racing - and best of luck in the future. Can’t wait for that documentary!