ROMP dinner with Julie Furtado
Last Friday Kenneth and I went to the annual ROMP Christmas party and heard Julie Furtado speak. Julie Furtado is one of the greatest women mountain bikers of all time. To quote an article in Outside Magazine, "Furtado bolted from obscurity to win the 1990 cross-country world championships after having raced only a handful of times." She is a former VeloNews American Cyclist of the Year.
Furtado retired from cycling following a 1997 diagnosis of Lupus. PR Newswire had this press announcement when she announced her retirement:
Julie Furtado Retires
November 5, 1997
Juliana Furtado, the most dominant rider ever in the young history of
mountain bike racing, tomorrow will announce an end to her competition
career after being diagnosed with lupus disease six months ago.
Furtado, a five-time national cross country champion and three-time
World Cup Champion, once towered over the grueling two-wheel off-road
racing scene, sometimes going on long winning streaks never seen in the
incredibly close, competitive sport of cycling. For nearly five years
she served as leader of the Team GT powerhouse, and in 1996 she realized
a lifelong dream of competing in the Olympics, earning a place on the
first-ever US National Mountain Bike Team. Before switching to cycling,
Furtado had been a five-year member of the US National Ski Team, missing
her first opportunity to compete in the Olympics due to knee injuries.
While Furtado made the Olympic cycling team last year, and raced in
Atlanta, her performances widely varied, and she started the 1997 season
with doctors believing she had contracted Lyme disease. Furtado, from
Durango, Colorado, continued to train but struggled during much of the
year and only competed in one event before being rediagnosed with
systemic lupus , a chronic inflammatory disease.
Now Furtado, at age 30, has decided to retire from athletic competition
and seek new challenges