Maria Vazquez smiling as usual | © VeloDramatic
From the moment I met Maria I sensed that her Rêve experience would be a life changer. I've got to thank my pal Willy Nevin for recommending this gutsy, grounded, wonderful woman for the team. She rode for her boys determined to teach them that impossible dreams can be reached and surrender is not an option. It was Maria, hit by a car on stage 13, that gingerly got off a hospital gurney, grabbed her x-rays, gritted her teeth and rode the next day, and the next... all the way to Paris. A few nights later, she was with us in a Spanish emergency room to make sure a Dutch rider got his broken collar bone looked after properly. Surrounded by family, her boyfriend Steven proposed overlooking the Eiffel Tower and since returning to Puerto Rico she's worked to get her cycling coach certification and generally been accorded a heroine's reception on the island. Well deserved Maria.
Filmmaker Dave Christenson enjoying a coffee during a rest stop | © VeloDramatic
Can't say enough good things about Mr. Christenson. Whether he was filming, co-piloting or ripping the legs off everyone (and I mean everyone), Dave's humor was the life raft that popped to the surface every time the logistic suction threatened to pull us under. No one could match his furious uphill accelerations or his ingenious profanity. He'd be my first pick on an expedition to Mars.
Matthias waves from his perch atop a guard rail as we go by | © VeloDramatic
Matthias rode the Tour for Kika in 2010. It changed his life and sparked a new career that brought him back to share his experience and sport massage skills with the Rêve team. Were that all there was to it I'd be selling him well short. He drove the team van and did his best to contain the mobile landfill site it became daily. Ultimately it was his bike that saved Heidi's tour on the Tourmalet.
Eva the indispensable | © VeloDramatic
When the going got tough, muscles were sore and nerves frayed Eva's positivity made a difference. At least once a day she'd shoot me a knowing look that assured me at least one other person was seeing it all. Thanks Eva.
Driver, camera wrangler and cool customer Jennifer Guy | © VeloDramatic
Finding a safe, confident and assertive driver who can put the car where I need it, stop on a dime, think ahead and match creative impatience with biting sarcasm isn't easy unless you're Jennifer Guy. If we had actually taken the road to Doudeville that day I think we would both have died laughing.