The first time I met Connie Carpenter, although I knew of her accomplishments, I had no idea of the presence this woman held. When I stood in front of her, face to face for the first time, I was instantly consumed by the command she held of the air around her. I checked my posture. I smiled. I looked her in eye. I did all the things my Mother taught me to do. I was like a kid, trembling inside, trying not to melt under pressure, about to shake the hand of her hero.
“She has freckles. I have freckles.” I thought. While she stood there, stylishly in her light blue and black Rapha cycling kit, bicycle by her side, and me with the same, I was still reaching for a connection. Connie Carpenter is on another level. And then she spoke. Her words were elegant and thoughtful and suddenly human.
She had joined us for the Rapha Women’s 100 in Boulder but was about to depart early to accommodate another rider who wasn’t feeling well. A true ambassador of the road.
I’ve since had the opportunity to speak with Carpenter a few more times about the future of women’s cycling. I hope to have another opportunity to ask a few more questions, to learn about the days when women’s racing had a place alongside the men. Maybe we can draw a little something from the past to help direct the future. At the very least she has many stories to tell, stories that bring us closer to our place in the world of cycling.
Thank you Rapha for sharing this story of our American Hero.
More about the film:
This film, produced by Rapha and Ben Ingham, is about two of America’s finest and most inspiring road racers, Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter-Phinney. For anyone who saw them race, Davis and Connie came to represent the best in American road racing, combining bold racing with uncompromising attitudes on and off the bike. Their careers saw them move from domination of domestic races to international and Olympic success.
Filmed at their home in Boulder, Colorado, Davis and Connie uses interviews with both riders, along with accounts from contemporaries such as Andy Hampsten, Douglas Emerson and Coors Classic race promoter, Michael Aisner. Through archive footage, it also documents their journey to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, and deals with Davis’s subsequent experiences of living with Parkinson’s disease.
Following Davis’s diagnosis, in 1999, these two celebrated riders went on, in 2004, to establish the Davis Phinney Foundation, an organisation that informs and supports families living with the disease, and which has raised millions of dollars for cutting-edge research into treatments. With the release of these two special edition jerseys honouring Davis and Connie, Rapha will contribute a percentage of the proceeds from the jerseys to the foundation’s ongoing work.
In conjunction with the release of the film, Rapha has produced two jerseys commemorating the careers of these two cycling legends. Find them on their website.
Sarai Snyder – Boulder, CO