The next time you’ve sweating through a particularly tough assignment, think of Heidi Swift.
The 34-year-old Portland freelance writer is about to tackle the toughest assignment of her career — riding in the 2012 Tour de France, and writing about it.
Swift is one of six amateur women cyclists on a fully sponsored team riding the 21-stage, 3,497 kilometer Tour de France a day ahead of the official race. They’re calling it the Reve Tour. It’s the first time that a team of women has ridden the entire course, according to a June 16 article in the Oregonian.
Swift is a long-time cyclist who penned a biking column for the Oregonian from 2008 to 2011, and regularly contributes to Peloton and other magazines — though she’s doing a lot less of that right now as she trains for the race, according to the newspaper.
She’s keeping a weekly training diary on a blog she writes for Peloton called Swift. Once the Reve Tour starts on June 29, she plans to post daily updates.
Though Swift was an all-league cross country runner in high school and played college softball, she didn’t take up biking until later. At 21, when someone explained to her what a century was, the only thing that popped into her head was, “A hundred miles? On a bike? That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard of in my entire life,” she writes in a recent Swift post.
Blogging Her Way to Opportunity
Swift gives partial credit to making it so far to blogging, which she’s done for 11 years on her own blog, Grit and Glimmer. She says:
…this opportunity in France is, in some ways, a direct result of my dedication to write for writing’s sake. I started writing online simply to have a space to share what I thought was poignant or important. That rolled into a cycling column for the Oregonian. The rest sort of spun out from there.
And here I am, heading to France on a fully-sponsored team to try to ride all 21 stages of the 2012 Tour de France course.
Could I ever in a million years have predicted this?
Could it ever have happened if I’d given up on writing for writing’s sake?
I’ve re-imagined and re-designed and re-named this blog three times in 11 years. But it’s always been here – a place where I go to connect and express and let it rip.
Follow Swift and her teammates on the Reve Tour website.
The 2012 Tour de France takes place Saturday, June 30 to July 22. Follow the stages and find out more at the official Tour de France website.
Photo courtesy Michael Robertson and Velodramatic.com.