Seeing Furtado’s portrait on the new Juliana Bicycles website reminded me of the this one time when I rode with her, briefly. It was during the 1995 Mt. Spokane NORBA. Like all racing stories, it starts with, “felt like I was dying, suffering like a dog…”
Then I was flying down a fire road, into a hairpin, up a goat trail, shifted hard, and the chain snapped. Four dudes that were behind me quickly passed and my day was done. In a panicked state, I fumbled with the chain tool for 10 minutes or so, put it on backwards once (wrong way through the pulleys), and then after what seemed like an hour was back on the bike.
I chased like a MOFO, with the hope that someone flatted ahead, or one of their Tioga Disc Drive wheels exploded, and pedaled a frantic pace until the women’s field arrived. After the initial humiliation of being caught by them, it was very pleasant to ride briefly with Juli Furtado. She was the smoothest rider I’d ever seen. Like a machine, she rolled up in a small group, we chatted (they probably thought I was near a heart attack or something), and then just motored on. At times, even now, when I’m struggling on the bike, I remind myself to smooth it out. Just pedal and relax like I saw Julie do.
Had a 28-inch waist back then and a sweet Specialized S-Works StumpJumper with a Manitou front fork
Later, at the finish, did a wheelie for like 8 minutes and eventually wore out those Umma Gummas.
Back to Julie’s new bikes, she brought back the original women’s MTB bike with the help of Santa Cruz. For the ongoing wheel-size debates, those aren’t 650b or 29rs.
Women’s bikes 27.5