Friday, July 01, 2011

Alessandra to Mexico

Here is an update about one of our friends in Peru.

Alessandra Davila is the Women's National Cycling Champion of Peru. She lives in the city of Iquitos along the Amazon River located 600 miles in the jungle. She received a notice this week she was invited to Mexico City to participate at their Olympic Cycling Training Camp. She will ride several races in Mexico and then go to Costa Rica for more events. Her coach is a tough former pro rider from Columbia with Tour de France experience. He was impressed enough with Alessandra to donate his time to help her train. She is now 25 years old but the Peruvian Sports Council would prefer to support younger 18 year old riders. Her coach was able to convince the Council that Alessandra was the best woman rider in Peru and she was chosen to represent
Peru at the training camp.

Her success in bike racing has continued to beat the odds for a Peruvian women from the jungle. First of all, bike racing is an expensive sport in Peru. Few riders can afford a decent bike. We have helped Alessandra get equipment and clothing during the past four years to continue racing. She now has a Calfee Dragonfly Carbon Bike. Her bike is a 16 pound beauty with the best components. Alessandra saves it for special races. We didn't tell her how much it costs but it is worth more than most Peruvians make in a year.

Since Alessandra is from the jungle region she needs to travel to the city of Lima to attend national quality races. Her transportation and travel logistics are other obstacles she has had overcome. Her story reminds me of a Navajo women basketball player who was the point guard for the University of Arizona in Tucson. Her friends and family would travel 300 miles from the reservation to see her games each week. Being a Navajo college basketball player is as unique as Alessandra being a cyclist from the jungle.

Alessandra is proud of her jungle heritage when other racers from the city call her "Jungle Girl". She is a good sport and refers to her family as her tribe. She says she gets her strength from a special diet of bananas and monkey meat (not true). She went to the University to study the environment and worked as a tour guide for jungle expeditions. Sometimes her Malaria flares up and she needs to rest a few weeks. She wants to be a lawyer working to save the jungle from oil and lumber exploitation. For fun she likes to sing Karaoke tunes in night clubs. She was the city Karaoke Champion and her specialty is singing difficult bilingual Shakira pop tunes.

During the past five years we have helped sponsor many bike races in Peru. Many of the riders are actually good athletes. It has been exciting to watch them develop and get stronger. For Alessandra to finally get a chance to leave Peru and ride with the best women in South America is a big opportunity for her. She understands how fortunate she is to have our support from the United States and she is the lucky 1% who has has a chance to go to the Olympic Training Camp. She needs to raise the money for her round trip airfare from the jungle to Lima and then to Mexico City and Costa Rica. Her flights will cost about $1,600. The sports council is paying for
her living and racing expenses during the month. We have raised about $1,200
so far for her airfare and travel. She begins the training camp on July 15th so we are trying to raise another $400 by then.

If you know anyone interested in helping sponsor Alessandra please forward this update to them.

Donations can be made to:..........
F.P.C Global Outreach Fund
P.O. Box 303
Sharon, WI 53585

Alessandra is good about sending her progress reports. I will keep you updated about her racing accomplishments.