Ride the Revolution: The Inside Stories from Women in Cycling
Featuring contributions from: Emma O’Reilly, the soigneur for the U.S. Postal Service Team and one of the people responsible for bringing Lance Armstrong down as part of David Walsh’s investigation; BetsyAndreu, wife of ex-professional cyclist Frankie Andreu and another Lance Armstrong nemesis; MichelleCound, manager and partner of Tour de France winner Chris Froome; JulietMacur, author of Cycle of Lies: the Fall of Lance Armstrong; and JenSee, who interviews Marianne Vos, arguably the greatest cyclist in the world right now.
When Marie Marvingt decided to ride the 1908 Tour de France she was told “absolument, non!” Instead, she rode each stage fifteen minutes after the official racers had departed and finished all 4,488 kms of the parcours–a feat that only 36 of the 110 men who entered the race could equal. Her motto? “I decided to do everything better, always and forever.” It’s in the spirit of Breakneck Marie that this book has been written.
Photo: Marie Marvingt premier athlete and record breaking pilot!
Born on February 20, 1875, at Aurillac, France. Her father, Felix, a postmaster, strongly encouraged Marie to pursue sports. By the age of five she reportedly could swim 4,000 meters. In 1890, when she was 15, she canoed more than 400 kilometers from her home in Nancy, France, to Koblenz, Germany. She also competed in water polo, speed skating, luge, bobsledding, boxing, martial arts, fencing, shooting, tennis, golf, hockey, football, mountaineering, and also studied at the local circus learning rope work, the trapeze, horseback riding, and juggling. In 1899 she earned her driver’s license. Marvingt was just getting started.
Between 1903 and 1910 she was one of the first women to climb most of the peaks in the French and Swiss Alps. In 1905 she swam the length of the Seine River through Paris, won an international military shooting competition in 1907 and became the only women to be awarded the palms du Premier Tireur (First Gunner palms) by a French Minister of War. She dominated the winter sports seasons in France between 1908 and 1910, collecting more than 20 first place victories, including the women’s world bobsledding championship in 1910. And to get a good look at a volcanic eruption, she cycled from Nancy, France to Naples, Italy. When she was refused admission to the 1908 Tour de France because, after all, it was a man’s sport, she successfully completed the course on her own, covering more than 4000 km and traversing 8 mountain passes, while averaging more than 150 km per day. Only 36 of 114 male riders completed the course during the official race that year.
These fresh and vibrant voices examine the sport from a new perspective to provide insights that rarely make it into the mainstream: what is it like to be a top women rider or to work in their support team? Where is the women’s sport heading and when will more women be represented at the highest level of sport’s governance?
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