Paul Klee: Please meet the Tour de France champion who lives in Colorado and hardly anyone knows

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Paul Klee: Please meet the Tour de France champion who lives in Colorado and hardly anyone knows



The other day I met a woman who won the Tour de France and who lives in Boulder.

You may have also met her without even knowing it. As far as I know, hardly anyone knows his story.

That’s because Marianne Martin is one of Colorado’s most accomplished athletes, which is saying something, but she went out of her way to only mention her historic achievement once she can remember. Last Saturday, for example, she ran with the Boulder Trail Breakfast Club and her new friends knew her as “the redhead over there”. She will be inducted into the American Cycling Hall of Fame on Saturday. The people who know this are mostly friends and family and whoever inducts him into the Hall of Fame.

Marianne looks at the 1984 Tour de France trophy which is on a shelf at home and wonders if she should dust it off. I told her that she should instead get him on the hood of her car and drive to Safeway while honking the horn.

“Say you and your wife have come to dinner. How would something like this happen in the conversation? Marianne told me. “It’s not like you say, ‘Oh, I did that back then.’ “

Strongly disagree.

Everyone here should know what Marianne Martin did in 1984. I’m serious. She won the Tour de France, the first American and the first woman to do so. She won stage 12, the first mountain stage, a nod to the strong legs she developed as a young dancer and, possibly, the ascent of Left Hand Canyon after getting her CU diploma. She crossed the slopes far ahead of the peloton and assumed that the peloton would catch up before arriving on the Champs-Élysées. The peloton never caught up. Her reward was $ 1,000 which she divided among her team. Her share went to the plane ticket she paid for out of her own pocket. Her cycling career put her in debt for almost a decade and she would do it again.

” I did not care. I ran because I liked it (and) I couldn’t imagine doing anything else, ”she says.

Marianne is from Fenton, Michigan, who for almost 30 years has owned her Boulder photography business, Real Life Portraits. She loves photography, her horse Starbuck, and oh, yes, she won the Tour de France without training specifically for the Tour de France.

Did you know all this? I didn’t know any of this. This is all true, but this is the real part I’m not supposed to say: a little bird told me that Marianne entered the American Cycling Hall of Fame because she won the Tour de France. The fact that a little bird must have told me that a Coloradan once won the Tour de France and that no one knew its name, including me, is another indictment of the sports media. This dumb industry, including me, pays way too much attention to the drama of millionaires and not enough to Marianne Martin. This woman is amazing.

“I’m just a normal person,” she laughs.

Strongly disagree again.

“Winning the Tour is really not on my mind very often. If so, it’s more like ‘OK, I did this, so I know I can do it,’ ”she said. “I guess it’s a reminder that we can really accomplish anything. “

Marianne’s earliest memory of riding a bicycle is when she and Shelly Markee flew to a mall in fourth grade. (They are still friends.) She wasn’t a cyclist until much later, when a local bank granted her a loan to buy a used Fuji for $ 600. (She asked her dad for a bike as a graduation gift. He gave her a camera instead, so everything went well.) Right after she won the Tour and her dad flew to the France by surprise, Dr. Jim Martin visited a room. vineyard while showing his photo in a Parisian newspaper to strangers he met on the way: “Me papa!

“(He’s) the best dad a person can ask for,” she says of her 92-year-old dad.

Running is the only thing that could get Marianne out of her first true love, living the life of a river guide in Browns Canyon, Arkansas. She also suffered from anemia. Only a few months before winning the Tour de France, she did not expect to participate in the Tour de France. The race was held in July and in the spring, “I could barely complete a race,” she says. She understood for herself that a regular regimen of rest was what she needed: “People train way too much. One thing I did was rested more than anyone I know. I think that was part of my strength. Rest is so important.

She doesn’t care, but Marianne Martin should be more famous. At the very least, you should be able to read something about her that isn’t Wikipedia. Relatively speaking, a lot of people have won a Super Bowl, or a World Series, or even an Olympic medal. Only 17 people won the Tour de France Femme or the iterations that followed. (The race ended in 2009 with a return scheduled for 2022, but who knows these days?) The first champion was Marianne Martin, who doesn’t really talk much about it.

Except once. She was working on a photoshoot in Michigan when a parent couple casually mentioned that their young son dreamed of someday playing professional football.

“I had to say something,” she said.

“You asked what is the most important thing (winning) that the Tour has taught me. It’s that we can do a lot more than we realize, ”she says. “I grew up in a small town. If I said: “I’m going to win the Tour de France”, people would laugh at me. But we can. We really can. “

Agree. And the proof is Marianne Martin, an amazing person that everyone here should know.

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