Lauretta Hanson writes about living her wildest dream thanks to all the courageous women who have fought for change.
A while ago, I came across a quote shared on Instagram by Ellen Noble (a member of Trek Factory Racing XC and CX). I was at a point where I was struggling both physically and mentally, but this quote provided some motivation and much-needed perspective:
You’re someone’s wildest dream - maybe a parent who made sacrifices for your chances, maybe a soulmate out there who is looking for you but doesn’t know it yet. Maybe an earlier you, who never dreamed you’d make it here. But here you are. The Wildest dream. Alive today.
– Lin-Manuel Miranda
I’m Lauretta Hanson, and I’m living my wildest dream.
I grew up in a small town in regional Victoria, Australia and began racing with my local club at eight years old. After nine years in Australia followed by a further six years in America, I now find myself living in Spain, racing some of the biggest races in women’s cycling. Even better, I am fortunate enough to be doing all this with and for one of the biggest teams within the women’s pro peloton: I am one of 13 riders that make up the Trek- Segafredo women’s team.
In my wildest dreams, I never thought any of this was possible.
As a kid growing up, I didn’t even realize the opportunities that were in front of me, and it’s only recently that I’ve realized that most of these opportunities are relatively new.
I grew up in a cycling family. My Mum was the Australian national road champion in 1981, but as women’s road cycling was yet to become an Olympic sport, career prospects were limited. Instead, she chose to focus on her studies. Aside from a few scrapbooks of paper clippings, I knew little of my Mum’s success. When I started racing, it was purely for fun. But when opportunities began to appear and started to open, my Mum (and family) supported and encouraged me to grab every one of them.
I was granted opportunities that never existed for my Mum. These opportunities, an accumulation of the efforts of women before me that were unafraid to chase their wildest dreams and courageous to reject the norm. Women like Annie Londonderry, the first woman to cycle around the world, and Alfonsina Strada, the first and only woman to race the Giro d’Italia in 1924 – against the men! – and (Trek ambassador) Kathryn Bertine who, along with Marianne Vos and Emma Pooley, successfully petitioned for La Course.
Today, we continue to have women pursuing their wildest dreams, and along the way, opening pathways for those who follow. Kathryn Bertine is still tirelessly advocating for women in sport. The Donnons des Elle au vélo are riding the Tour de France route, completing each stage one day before the men. I am grateful for these women because it’s through their efforts that here I am – living my wildest dream. And, also, probably my Mum’s.
It is through women like Alfonsina Strada, and all those who have and are currently working and fighting hard to succeed in women’s cycling, that our upward trajectory for equality in sport continues. We now have the Cyclists’ Alliance, more races, more teams, more supporters, more media, and, overall, more opportunities.
It’s true, we still have a long way to go, but when I look back at the former ‘me’ whose dream I am now living, I can only see what’s possible: that one day women’s cycling will be living its wildest dream.
Lauretta Hanson is racing her first season in Europe with Trek-Segafredo and is learning to laugh, cry, and suffer a whole roller coaster of emotions, hoping one day it will feel like the norm.