Three Time Idaho Women’s Challenge Cycling Champion Homeless in Seattle
The Idaho Women's Cycling Challenge was first sponsored by Ore-Ida in 1984. The cycling event, designed to be the longest women's cycling event in the world and to offer women a challenge like the men faced with the Tour De France, attracted the top female athletes in the world.
They came from France, Germany, England, Canada, Australia and of course the United State. In fact the winner each of the first three years was Rebecca Twigg, the top American cyclist and among the best in the world.
The Idaho Women's Challenge began with a hill climb on Bogus basin Road and continued with road races from Boise to Idaho City, Lowman to Stanley, Stanley to Ketchum with time trials and criteriums thrown in for good measure.....It was a grueling week many felt the ladies couldn't handle but they thrived!
Especially Rebecca Twigg, winning in 1984, 85 and 86! The races were a fun time for me as I followed them each mile, each hill climb, each time trial as part of a production team of five producing nightly recaps for a local TV station.
Rebecca Twigg was the star of those first three races and our nightly shows as she won Idaho and then captured Olympic medals.
That's why when today I saw an article in the Seattle Times about Rebecca Twigg I perked up. Unfortunately the article was about Twigg being homeless on the streets of Seattle for most of the last five years.
Like the Women's Cycling Challenge which met it's demise in 2002, both Twigg and the race have been forgotten. Twigg saying she has lived in her car, with friends, in shelters and on the street.
Question is how could a champion like Rebecca Twigg with all her passion and drive become homeless?
In the article Twigg, who claims she hasn't owned a bike in decades, say's when you are born to do something, then it's gone, sometimes you can never find the right fit.
Twigg was certainly the right fit in the 80's, meeting every challenge the Idaho countryside threw at her and then some. She was an inspiration to female cyclists to come, even the best Idaho has ever produced in Olympic Gold Medalist Kristin Armstrong.