Letters to the Future of Women’s Cycling
A bicycle is a gateway to a boundless world. A ticket to freedom, independence, and confidence; a bicycle can take a rider to towering heights, and guide them through the lows of life. A bicycle is a vehicle for change and a mode for empowerment.
In this spirit of progress, Cannondale asked that their riders, ambassadors and employees pen letters to their future selves, or future daughters. Together, they shared their hopes and aspirations for women in the sport of cycling.
One of these was Rachel Hedderman, Team Tibco-SVB Head Sports Director.
This is Rachel's letter:
As I write this I realize that I am now into my 20th year of cycling being my full-time job, my full-time passion, a huge part of my life, and I can see that over the past 20 years so much has changed and yet so much has stayed the same. The landscape of women’s cycling is changing, evolving, growing, more races are being broadcast and to bigger audiences, and there’s a push for increased professionalism and structure. But the heart, the drive, the competition, the raw energy that has always been a part of women’s cycling is still there, the competing for competition's sake, riders pushing themselves and each other to the absolute limit. My hope is to see that continue, I want the sport to keep growing, to reach a bigger audience, to inspire more young girls to ride bikes, to race bikes, to see female professional cyclists as role models, as heroes whose footsteps they can aspire to follow in, but I want to see if keep the grit, determination and passion that has always been at its core.
Women’s cycling has already given me so much, I’ve met so many amazing people, my now-husband included, I’ve traveled the world, seen places and people and cultures that I might otherwise never have experienced, and I achieved my childhood dream of representing my country at an Olympic Games. For me cycling has bigger feelings, higher highs and lower lows than “normal” life, from the euphoria of crossing the finish line first, or the pride of seeing the team execute a race plan to perfection, to the disappointment of abandoning a race or the fear of hearing those fateful words over race radio: crash, caduta, chute, to the butterflies I still get in my stomach at 5km to go when that result is within grasping distance. I have learned to step outside my comfort zone, push myself further than I ever thought possible, achieved things I never believed I could, and for that, cycling, I thank you.