Heroes for My Daughters: Mara Abbott

Updated to add: Please read her piece for the Wall Street Journal about her 2016 Olympic Road Race. It can be found here

img_0046Last Sunday was a quiet day for sports in most US homes. Some people were watching golf or World Cup. Maybe even a few were watching the Tour de France. It was tough watching Lance go down then get back up, only to finish the day too far behind to catch up. While all that was going on, something amazing was happening.

On Sunday, Mara Abbott became the first US cyclist to win the Giro Donne, the womens’ Giro d’Italia. Not only did she win, the 25-year-old won by more than 2 minutes. Sadly, I haven’t seen any video and only a few pictures from the podium–none from the race itself.

We live in amazing times, technologically speaking. I can sit in bed and watch international sports live on my computer. But I can’t find pictures from one of the largest, most prestigious races in the world.

Mara Abbott isn’t a hero because she won this race. Mara Abbott’s a hero because she climbs mountains better than I can climb hills. From the USA Cycling website:

Abbott attacked about 28 kilometers into the stage, and only [Cervelo’s Emma] Pooley was able to stay on her wheel. By the 50K mark Abbott and Pooley shared a lead of 1:05 over the peloton. Eventually, the gap grew large enough that Abbott became the virtual leader on the course. Pooley began to fade before the second of three summits, the Passo Bernina, leaving Abbott to ride on her own through the finish line.

In Saturday’s penultimate stage, Abbott again went off the front with Pooley amidst the mythical Stevlio climb, but in the final kilometers Abbott attacked and again rode solo to the stage win.

That would’ve been a sight to see.