– Reported by Erin Berard
As organizers of the Tour de France Challenge 2005 (TDFC), Destination Cycling will ensure that the 43-year old Mahaney has the necessary support to complete what many people deem the most grueling bike race in the world.
Not your average summer vacation: Kevin Mahaney will cycle the entire TDF route this July.
“Life is not a spectator sport,” says Kevin Mahaney, after watching the 2002 Tour de France with his three sons and being inspired by the performances of both Tyler Hamilton and Lance Armstrong. Having a close family friend with multiple sclerosis and overcoming a personal battle with cancer in 1993, Kevin Mahaney has chosen THF (multiple sclerosis) and LAF (cancer survivorship) as the TDFC beneficiaries. “Tyler and Lance inspire me and like them, I am not complacent with the status quo. I am dreaming of something impossible that hopefully will encourage others to do the same.”
Kevin Mahaney, 43, is no stranger to athletic challenge. In 1992, he won an Olympic Silver Medal in sailing and the prestigious title of Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. In 1995, he founded and skippered the America’s Cup defense team “Young America.” In 2002, Kevin set a three-year plan to get into cycling shape, bought a bike and started training. In 2005, Kevin approached Destination Cycling to transform his dream into a reality with travel, team and technical support.
“Destination Cycling is in the business of making people’s dream vacations possible, no matter how big that dream might be,” said Joe Tonon, Destination Cycling’s Founder and Director. “It’s a major feat to ride 2,241 miles in a year, so to do it in one month, just days before the professional racers pedal through, is extraordinary. The logistics of this ride are daunting as well, but the Destination Cycling team is up for the challenge.”
Destination Cycling has organized the staff and logistics for Kevin’s ride as a true professional cycling team. Kevin will be supported by a team of eight other riders and a staff including one coach, one mechanic, and three trainers. The team will follow the same exact route as the 2005 Tour de France, covering all 21 stages and a total distance of 2,241 miles (3,606 kilometers). During July, the team will ride the route the day before the professional peloton.
”Life is not a spectator sport.” Kevin lives his motto.
“Most of the tour companies offer one set program,” explained Tonon. “What we are doing is modeling what the pro teams do.” Tonon has hand picked his team of eight riders, one coach, one mechanic, three trainers, and one doctor, with one objective – to support Mahaney successfully through all 21 stages. “Every team member is different,” Tonon explained. “We have what we call our ‘diesel engines’ that can sit at the front of a pack and ride all day to protect Kevin until he gets to the mountains. We have skinny little guys who can climb all day long and lead him to the top.”
Similar to professional cycling teams with its roles and organization, Kevin Mahaney and his team will face the same daily challenges as the pros during the Tour: possible illness, equipment malfunction, and unforeseen and adverse weather and road conditions. In fact, just last week, American rider Marc Lanoue was replaced by Belgian Franky Van Haesebroucke, former professional cyclist.
Stay tuned to PezCycling News during the month of July for weekly updates (more if the French internet permits us!), interviews and photos from Kevin and his team and they ride the Tour route a day in advance of the professional peloton. Read their first-hand accounts of the terrain, weather, food, language, and quirks along the hallowed roads and climbs of the world’s greatest bike race.
In addition to Destination Cycling, event sponsors include The Olympia Companies, Clif Bar, Kryptonite, Hutchinson Tires, Pedro’s, Smith Optics, Speedplay Pedals, and Zipp Wheels.
Besides underwriting all trip expenses, Kevin personally has donated to the TDFC, $1 per kilometer cycled. Destination Cycling is matching Kevin’s donation. Net proceeds raised from the Tour de France Challenge 2005 will be contributed to the Tyler Hamilton and Lance Armstrong Foundations. The event has raised over $30,000 already for these two charities. Individual supporters are encouraged to donate to the Tour de France Challenge online at www.ACTIVE.com/donate/tdfchallenge2005.
The following levels of support will receive special gifts: $100+ Receive a TDFC t-shirt; $250+ Receive a TDFC jersey; $1,000+ Receive a signed TDFC jersey by Kevin and the team.
For more information about the Tyler Hamilton Foundation, visit www.tylerhamiltonfoundation.org..
For more information about the Lance Armstrong Foundation, visit www.laf.org. and www.LIVESTRONG.org..