When Denise Mueller Korenek was a teenager, her father decided to make the switch from jogging to bicycling. She joined him, and on their first charity ride, she drafted behind a stranger racing past to get a “free ride”. That man looked back and thought, “who is this little girl on my tail?”, she explains. He was so impressed, he stopped Denise and told her he wanted to talk to her parents. “We need to get this girl into racing”, was what he told her father. That man turned out to be Olympic cyclist, John Howard, and he would go onto coach Denise to 13 national championships until she hung up her bike at the age of nineteen.
No woman has ever done it.
Years later, when her son was thinking about cycling, Denise reached out to John Howard to see if he would consider coaching him. It was at that time that John convinced Denise to ride another charity event. While training for that event, he suggested that she try and break the world record for fastest paced cycling – a record he once held himself. “No woman has ever done this record I did in ’85. No woman has ever done it. I think you should do it. And no sooner had he said it that I went, ‘I’m in’.
The rest as they say, is history.
Check out the article on Women firsts from San Diego Magazine and learn more about Denise Korenek.