Palo Alto’s premier women’s cycling team celebrates ten years of success
Words by Matt Niswonger • Photos by Anthony Ortega
When Linda Jackson gave up her investment-banking career in 1993 to become a professional cyclist, she had no idea where it would lead. She just knew she wanted to race bikes. After six Canadian National Championships and a spot on the Olympic squad in 1996, it was clear that following her passion for cycling was the right choice.
She retired in 2000, but her passion for the bike remained high, and in 2004 she became involved with a local women’s cycling club started out of Palo Alto Bicycle Shop. Using her business background, she reached out to possible sponsors for a serious women’s racing team. Palo Alto based software giant TIBCO signed on as the title corporate sponsor, and many in the cycling industry offered support as well, including PowerBar, Park Tools, and long-time ASJ supporter Rudy Project. That’s how Team TIBCO was born, and the rest, as they say, is history.
By 2009 TIBCO had become the top women’s cycling team in the country, with riders placing high or winning major races in the U.S. and Canada. In 2010 the team expanded to Europe, and in September 2011 Team TIBCO rider Megan Guarnier won the prestigious Giro della Toscana with the U.S. national team.
Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the team has become a long-term platform for developing top racers and future Olympians. From a loose group of Palo Alto Bike Shop customers, the team has grown into a force to be reckoned with comprised of three official teams, including the elite UCI team, an amateur squad that races predominantly in Northern California, and a third squad focused on the USA Cycling NCC series.
“I am proud of my success as a racer, but watching the women’s team grow and help create champions has been the most rewarding part of my cycling career. I’m excited for our future in international competitions,” Linda told ASJ recently.
This summer TIBCO riders will be racing in the circuit race and time trial of the AMGEN Tour of California, with announcements coming soon on the official website at www.teamtibco.com. Further on the horizon, TIBCO will be looking to develop and support its riders to qualify for and prepare to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“The Team TIBCO story is a tribute to the strong cycling scene in Palo Alto and the Peninsula, the tireless efforts of Linda Jackson, and the growing influence of women’s bike racing in general,” said team spokesman Jeff Sobul in a recent phone interview. “I’m proud to be a part of it, and I’m looking forward to great things from Team TIBCO in the coming years.”