Bad Ass Girl Power

In case you didn’t know, it’s that time of year again…Tour de France! Woo hoo! It’s like the Superbowl for cycling nerds (ahem, Michael). He got me interested in it a few years ago and while I scoffed at the idea of watching cycling on TV, I had to admit it was pretty compelling and sometimes frightening (remember last year’s horrific accident involving a car, a cyclist and barbed wire?).

Well this year there is a group of women riding the same route as Tour de France one day ahead of them–all 2,162 miles! There are two women on the team from Portland too! “I’d like to prove we can do it,” says Jennifer Cree, a dental hygienist from Portland. The women will ride the entire Tour de France—from the prologue in Liége to the famous finish on Paris’ Champs-Élysées!!

How amazing is that? I really want them to be successful. I think it’s incredibly empowering and inspiring. Unlike two years ago when I thought I was an Olympic athlete and was humbled beyond belief, I have no delusions that I could do something like the Tour de France. But it’s nice fantasize about it!

“The Rêve riders hope to inspire more women to ride and to raise money for the Bikes Belong Foundation. The goal is to bring in $60,000 for the Boulder, Colo.-based group that encourages people to ride bicycles, particularly women and children. Surveys show that women avoid bicycles because they don’t feel safe, so the Rêve money will help implement physically separated bike lanes in six cities — Portland, Chicago, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Memphis and Austin, Texas.”

It’s for a good cause, too. Portland has a great infrastructure for cycling but there is still a lot to be desired. On my commute to and from work there are lots of areas on my route that are scary and unsafe–and do not have bike lanes.


I’ve been trying to research how long these women have been training and I’ve come up empty. Perhaps in future news articles they will say because I really want to know what kind of training they did.

“Every waking moment is about the ride, now. They’re doubling their workouts, wolfing down calories and battling doubts. “

Luckily they have sponsors and top-of-the line gear (check out that link for amazing photos). They will need it! Check out  Stage 16 (120 miles, 15,000 feet elevation gain, up and over the famed Tourmalet summit in the Pyrenees)!! I also loved seeing that Ninkasi beer is a sponsor. Too funny!

I love inspirational stories like this. I think it’s great that young girls can have athletes like this to look up to. How cool would it be if you and I could do something like that? Cycling doesn’t have to be the realm of men. In fact, I think woman have an advantage with having more lower body strength.

“It never gets easier, you just go faster.” ~ Greg LeMond.

Stuff like this inspires me. I think about it while I’m out there on the road riding my bike. It gives me focus for my own training and inspires me to keep going when it gets hard. I will be following their story and cheering them on. Will you?

QUESTION: Are you watching the Tour de France?

The End of Tour de France

How do you stack up to the Tour de France riders? I am no where near them, that’s where! Here are some excerpts from that article:


Pretty amazing stats, huh? How do you compare to that list? Watching the Tour de France the last few weeks has really inspired me to get better on the bike. The Tour de France is officially over for 2011. There were a lot of exciting moments, a car crash, amazing views of France and some drama in the peloton.

Starting Saturday trailing Andy Schleck by 57 seconds, Australian Cadel Evans produced a “masterful performance”  in the 42.5km time trial to seize a 1:34 advantage. It really is a sweet story of Cadel Evan’s rise to glory! “Over the years, Evans has been better known for failing to live up to expectations than for overachieving.” So this win really IS  a story of perseverance, patience and hard work. It says if we stay steady, working towards our goals, we can accomplish whatever our desire is. Whether it’s a bike race, losing weight, going back to school, anything.

Andy, Cadel, Frank

”Cadel was the best of the Tour and he deserved to win,” Andy Schleck said. ”Second isn’t bad, and my brother was on the podium too. I’ll be back to win this Tour. We have a date for next year.”

The Tour de France is over, the training for the Portland Century is ramping up, and it’s nice to be home after a lovely weekend camping. While the food was excellent at my family reunion, it’s nice to be home eating my normal food again! Our diet may seem pretty plain but it works for us and eating lots of veggies makes me feel good. Too much gluttony just makes me feel bad.

When I got home on Sunday I had a quick moment to check my garden. The lettuce is even bigger. Plus the zucchini went from being “sort of good” to “holy shit there’s TONS of zucchini!” Like seriously. I harvested a few that had to be picked asap.


Anyone need zucchini?? Dinner was grilled zucchini fresh from our garden.

My friend Star also left us some special bean soup she made. It’s a Navajo recipe she highly recommended we try. She left us some when she checked in on the kitties while we were away (and by “checking in” I mean spoiling them rotten with catnip and shrimp!).

The soup was hearty and delicious. The corn made it sweet. I also made us a fresh salad from our garden.

It was a simple meal and didn’t take long, but that worked well since we have no groceries in the house. I loved the fresh zucchini from our garden! It was slightly sweet. I need to find some more recipes for using up all the zucchini we’ll have this summer.

QUESTION: How do you “detox” after a weekend of indulging? Did you see the finish of the Tour de France?