Six women rode the same course as the Tour de France in July as part of the Rêve tour (www.reve.cc). They climbed mountains and rolled through sunflower landscapes on the latest road bike from Cannondale designed specifically for women, the 2013 SuperSix EVO Women’s model.
These six athletes, Kate Powlison and Kristen Peterson of Boulder, Colorado, Heidi Swift and Jennifer Cree from Portland, Oregon, Kym Fant from Santa Rosa, California, and Puerto Rico’s Maria del Pilar Vazquez faced many challenges including horrendous heat, bad food, and fractured bones.
Maria had the worst accident of the Rêve tour, as described by Heidi Swift on her blog:
Maria is on the ground, head resting in Jennifer’s lap. Awake but not moving. A doctor from the Dutch peloton is talking to her. There’s a crowd. Riders, bikes, someone is redirecting traffic.
After a car hit her, her fractured tailbone didn’t stop Maria from finishing the Tour. She said that she knew the next day would be extremely painful:
I decided to do it because I am a fighter and I want my children to learn that you don’t quit…pain is temporary and quitting is forever… It was the most ugly day at the Tour, dark, cold and painful…extremely painful. But at the end when it was over I knew I was going to finish the Tour, so it became one of my favorite days too because I proved myself that when you really wanted you can achieve anything you want!
Maria has epic plans for the coming years: 508 Furnace Creek on 2013, RAAM on 2014, and Paris-Brest-Paris in 2015. Kate doesn’t have specific plans, but she’s inspired from the Rêve Tour: “I think I will have to do a big bike adventure, or even a smaller one, every year now. It’s a terrific way to get away from the routine of daily life and come back refreshed and energized.”
Kym Fant described her toughest day on Stage 17: “It was hard for me because it was the day after the queen stage so I was tired and then the climbs had temps near 110 degrees. It was a bad trifecta–legs were tired, it was brutally hot and the climbs were tough!” She says her best day was the first time trial day when her family was there, and she could ride with her husband at an easier pace.
Some women enjoyed the climbs, like Kate Powilson: “Any of the climbing stages, especially when they came after a long series of flat stages, were the ones I enjoyed the most.”
Maria raved about her Cannondale EVO SuperSix : “The bike is super strong and at the same time sexy. It is what every woman that wants to send a message out there will want, strong yet feminine.” Kym agreed, “The bike climbed and descended with speed! It also handled the cobblestones really well–smooth like butter!”
For blow by blow descriptions of the Rêve tour, go to: www.reve.cc.