Monday, June 4, 2012

Friends make it so much more fun.

Just a few of the wonderful people I ride with
May is over and I rode much more than originally planned, but still less than I could have. The whole May is bike month side tracked me a bit, but it was so much fun trying to get lots of miles to try to get our club in 1st place for MIBM. We are so close with today being the final day to log miles, we are behind by a couple thousand miles. Even if we didn't take top spot, we rallied as a team and did much better than last year, more than 83K miles and 133% of our pledge is impressive. Regionally we logged more than 1.5 million miles.  

A rare meeting of the mountain climbers on a big ride.
No surprise my new friend Richard knows Helen.
                                                               Completing my first full century with 60 people who all knew each other was great. I have met so many wonderful people in the cycling community, and with my husband riding with so many groups I run into people all the time who know him as well. Since I started riding almost 2 years ago, I have been the slowest person on nearly every ride and have always appreciated and been surprised at how many people show up to support a beginning rider and all the encouraging words. I'm slowly moving up to being able to keep up with the back of the pack and can hang with the big dogs if they are riding a recovery pace. One of the things I love about cycling is there seems to be something for everyone, I ride with people who love to climb mountains and think The Death Ride is "fun", people who do doubles and Brevets, and then there are racers of every sort. I know many multi sport athletes who run marathons, Tri's and Iron Man competitions. Thanks to our years with the Mountain bike race team we know plenty of off road people as well, some enjoy a nice scenic ride through the woods while others enjoy the thrill of bombing downhill on ski runs. Then there is the group I fit in, the sane people who pedal for a bit of fun and fitness, or that have a cause they want to support. The "sane" group still find ways to challenge themselves and occasionally one will get the bug and join one of the extreme groups. The one thing we all have in common is our love of the people powered wheels, not matter what style of riding we do.

Our Halloween ride.
I'm not sure if only nice people ride or if riding makes people nicer, but I have felt welcomed on every ride I've been on and encouraged by friends and strangers along the way. This weekend was no different. Several of us tackled the Auburn Century, most of the people I know were doing the 110 mile 12K feet of climbing and for many of them this is the hardest ride they have done. I was riding the 40 mile 3K+ route, and this was the toughest climbing ride I've done. I've done that distance and that much climbing, but not that many feet per mile. After the ride so many of the people who did 3 x's as much riding and climbing asked me about my ride and congratulated me. I stand in awe of the endurance of these people, but they recognize that we all worked hard that day. I always seem to meet people on rides as well. I realized that I often don't even introduce myself, but I chat with many people along the way. I know it helps me to chat and keep my mind off of all the time I'm pedaling, I really hope they enjoy it as well and just aren't strong enough to break away from the chatty cyclist in pink.

Princess Promenade, one of my first organized rides.
If I were to try to list all the people that have encouraged and motivated me on my rides it would sound like an acceptance speech from the academy awards or something. Many have become good friends and others I only see on the road. I'm starting to get to know enough people that even when I set off on a ride all alone I often will meet people who know me or someone in my group. I love wearing my Hammerin Wheels jersey, although many people know me because of my jersey with the dog on the pocket. I've also discovered that my love of pink makes me easy to spot in a crowd or on the trail.

June is dedicated to climbing, it started with the Auburn ride and will continue with hill repeats and the summer hill series my friend Daphni will be leading. I'm considering tackling a route similar to the 40 mile route I did this week, but somehow they found more climbing. I will conquer Iron Point aka Costco hill, soon. For today, I stay off the bike and bake, it's cold and wet outside and I can afford the carbs today, so bread and cookies are cooling on the counter.

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