The Homestretch Foundation was founded in 2014 by former pro cyclist and filmmaker, Kathryn Bertine, to help women cyclists achieve equality in the sport. In addition to providing free housing in Tucson, Arizona for up to ten professional endurance athletes (most of whom are female), the Homestretch Foundation also provides them with training support.
We believe that female athletes should have the same opportunities and support as their male counterparts. We were the first corporate sponsor of Kathryn's 2014 film, Half The Road: The Passion, Pitfalls & Power of Women's Professional Cycling (it's awesome). When we heard about the Homestretch Foundation, we knew it was important. Since 2016 we've provided funding to make sure that the athletes have access to free, weekly motorpacing sessions—a key (but expensive) element of training that pro riders use to build critical race fitness.
Listen to Our Interview with Homestretch Foundation Founder Kathryn Bertine
Find out more about the Homestretch Foundation and Kathryn Bertine on The Sufferfest podcast, Everybody Hurts.
Meet The 2019 Stretchies
(From L-R) Top Row: Farid Noori, Janelle Cole, Sean Gardner. Middle Row: Ellen Noble, Lea Davison, Nicole Bruderer. Bottom Row: Emily Flynn, Lori Nedescu, Mia Cheeseman
Hometown Guatemala City, Guatemala
What’s the most you’ve ever Suffered on the bike?: In Europe in 2017. It was my first time there and my first year as a professional. It's one thing to watch it on TV but quite another thing to experience it. I remember one stage in Lotto Thuringen Ladies Tour just trying to hold on the wheel in front of me and feeling like my legs and lungs were going to explode. To make it more interesting, add some cobbles and high winds. Every day for 7 days straight. Fun times for sure.
Favorite structured workout: When I have to do 3-5 minute efforts. They're hard but not too intense and you can suffer without completely running out of air...until you get to the last ones. I like them because I can do them on the trainer, rollers, road, wherever. Also because it reminds me of when I raced on the track back in Guatemala.
What’s the best part about being a Homestretch athlete?: My favorite part is the friendships you build. Cycling is a hard and not very common sport in Guatemala, I feel like people don't understand what I do and that makes me feel like I sometimes don't belong. At the Homestretch EVERYONE BELONGS. We help each other become better athletes by creating a healthy environment to develop into a professional cyclist. Everyone is part of the group just by being themselves.
Hometown: Winchester, Ontario, Canada
What’s the most you’ve ever Suffered on the bike? Honestly, it was probably just this past February when I climbed to Summerhaven at the top of Mount Lemmon. I did a 20-minute power test at the bottom and then rode the rest of the way tempo. As I got closer to the top I was just dying. I hadn't done any big rides and was really starting to feel it. The cold at the top did not help either. My boyfriend said he never heard such cries of pain.
Favorite structured workout: I prefer sprint-y workouts which make the ride go by quicker. So something like 10-min of 30-sec sprint, 30-sec threshold.
What’s the best part about being a Homestretch athlete? The best part is being able to hang out with athletes from all over the world with similar goals. We help motivate each other and all learn from each other. The group meals are also pretty awesome! 😋
Hometown: Grand Rapids, Michigan
What’s the most you’ve ever Suffered on the bike? Stage 4 of Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l’Ardèche 2018, up Mont Ventoux. I got a spectacular flat on a descent just after the first real climb, and the cars had just passed my group. After waiting 30 mins for the sweeper van, they presented me with a neutral wheel with a 25 cassette… with over halfway to still go on a stage with more climbing than I’d ever done in my life. I finished over an hour down, as the very last person, with an average cadence of 50 up that HC climb, sweeper following me the entire time. I even had to get off and half-kneel on the road for a moment: I almost passed out right there with the sweeper guys preparing to do first aid and begging me to get in the car… I refused. I’ve never felt as close to death by utter exhaustion before or since, but dang it, I finished.
Favorite structured workout: low-cadence, high-torque intervals up Mount Lemmon. Once I had the proper segment for this workout memorized, there was nothing like just totally smashing these intervals. I could see exactly how much I was progressing each week by the landmarks I was passing...and I loved doing them in the early morning, no cars or other riders on the road to distract from my goal of complete physical annihilation :)
What’s the best part about being a Homestretch athlete? The community of Tucson's cycling athletes, advocates and enthusiasts who support the Homestretch Foundation in countless ways. From the incredible local races—oops, I mean, group rides—to local business including CrossFit Fixx, Applied Physical Medicine and Sabino Cycles, HSF athletes are surrounded by caring individuals both in and outside of our training home. I’ve truly never felt so welcomed and valued as a newcomer into a community, and I will be forever grateful for the whole-hearted encouragement and support I found in Tucson.
Hometown: Currently I live in Rochester, MN
What’s the most you’ve ever Suffered on the bike? Oh there are many rides that have been epic Sufferfests for me due to either high intensity, extreme endurance, or unfavorable weather conditions. One ride that sticks out for being extra Suffer-y was an epic ride in France that consisted of 120 miles & 15,000ft of climbing including the Croix de Fer, Col du Telegraph, and Galibier. It was spectacular! But also included high heat, grueling climbs, freezing rain, and gusting winds... although the fact that I'm gluten free and can't eat the baguettes might have been the biggest suffering of all!
Favorite structured workout: I have a climbing sequence that includes doing a steady 2 hour ride with a structured climb of: 10' low z4, 3' z5, 3' z2, then sprints of 20", 15", 10", 5" w/ 3' z2, and a final 3' z5.
What’s the best part about being a Homestretch athlete? Although road cycling is a team sport, and I love my team, it can be very isolating; especially since a year ago I moved to a place with real winters and spend 4 months alone in a basement focused on personal achievements and performance development. Coming to the Homestretch has allowed me to connect with other cyclists at a personal level that extends beyond performance concerns by cultivating new friendships, volunteering in the community, enjoying house dinners, group activities, and networking opportunities.
Name: Sean Gardner
Hometown: Richmond Virginia
What’s the most you’ve ever Suffered? Enough that I don’t want to think about it.
Favorite structured workout: 2x45 minute tempo intervals.
What’s the best part about being a homestretch athlete?: The family dinners where everyone gets to eat good food and hang out with each other.