Rider Blog: Winter Mentorship – Lauren Hall
Every winter for the past 5 or 6 years, I’ve been coming to Tucson, AZ for winter training. I’ve had the pleasure of staying with friends from the peloton who owned a house here, I’ve rented a guest house from new friends, and I stayed with Kathryn Bertine one year, along with my dog – Miller. I say that because her household was a cat household, like six of them. Somehow it actually worked, all the animals got along and Kathryn and I became great friends. Now I’m here in Tucson again this winter, staying with Kathryn again but not in her old house, nope, I’m staying in the Homestretch Foundation house, something she dreamed up about 3yrs ago.
After racing Australia this January with the team, I came back to the Homestretch house and felt right at home. You guys have to see this place, it’s massive. To be honest though it’s more about what the Homestretch Foundation is, who is here and why. If you look on the web, you will see the foundation is for up and coming athletes, fulfilling their needs of winter training to propel them into the season with as much preparation they need to make it in the peloton to become elite athletes. So when I talked to Kathryn and she invited me to stay here, it was more for a mentor role for those staying and I was humbled and excited to meet the girls.
For the women who are here now, I am here for them: we ride together, we cook together, stretch together, you get the idea. As a group we all give back to the community together. Giving back to the community can be anything, riding with El Gruppo kids, talking at a local school or doing a group ride for the community to join in and hang out. The women here can ask me anything, we talk about wheel sets, sunscreen, bike races, teams, food, recovery, we cover it all and that’s the whole point. One of them has been offered a spot on a team and we have been talking about it the over last couple days. We discussed many thing from her options and what the team expects from her, to who has she confided in and discussed this with that knows her goals.
I couldn’t have asked for a better winter in Tucson this year and I hope to see all these gals on the road somewhere, at one of the races and give them a big hug. If this group is any indication of how Homestretch Foundation is going to go, I would say it’s already a success. If you know of any female cyclist trying to figure it out, send her the link to Homestretch Foundation, she will be guided in the right direction for sure.Visit the Homestretch Foundation Website