There are a few things in life that I have commitment issues with, but biking has not been one. I was not an athletic kid growing up. Sure I did the softball, soccer route, but that was short lived. I tried cross country, but I wasn’t lean or fast and I do NOT like running! I had a mountain bike and “10 Speed” as a kid. My brother took me on some trails and I remember being very scared to go down a dirt hill. I bought my first mtb in 2004 the summer of my divorce. I have always been intrigued, even as a young girl, with watching people on their mtbs going fast around curves, down hills , and doing sweet jumps. Still to this day I don’t know what I thought to get out of buying that bike, but I haven’t turned back since.
There are sooooo many very funny and fond memories of riding dirt such as Chapstick and photo breaks or walking up hill breaks. One of the funniest memories was when I was riding with a dear girl friend of mine and a cycling coach in London, KY. I thought that we would drive down there and come back in no time at all. We were so excited about this ride. We had our iTunes, water, Clif Bars, chips, camera, Chapstick, etc. The day was gorgeous! We start on the ride, which was GREAT. It goes around , up, and down Laurel Lake in London, KY. The first thing that happened was with my friend. She had her long blonde braids flowing in the wind and her British accent echoing in the trees, riding along the trail with grace and ease. She was in front of me and I could see her at every turn….then, I didn’t. She had ridden right off the side of this small bridge. At one moment she was there, then the very next she was gone!!! After we knew she was ok, we just almost died laughing!
I seriously thought we were going to be riding about 12 miles or so—it ended up being 18! At that time I hadn’t done ANY long rides like this but did do some races to know what exhaustion felt like. That day I coined the term “5 personality changes of mountain biking”. These personality changes go from feeling great about getting out and riding through the thoughts of “why am I doing this?! This is not fun anymore!!!” to “I will never get on a bike again, my butt and girl parts hurt….is that a cramp in my toe…is my toe asleep?!?!” all the way to coming at the end of the ride, realizing what a great time it was and thinking “wow…I want to go again!”
What inspires me now to get out and ride has been the cycling team that my friend Stephanie and I founded. We have 15 gals on our team of all ages, lifestyles, and life stories. There is one girl who has struggled with mental health issues, was hit by a car while cycling, and has come out on top. We have another lady who is a survivor of breast cancer, has 2 kids under the age of 10, and is a successful spin coach. Every time I ride with one of these gals, or any of them I am inspired to continue my efforts and pass on the passion and love of cycling to other females.
Starting out 7 years ago buying that bike, knowing two girls who rode, only to now have created and co-lead a women’s cycling team,. Through this I am helping encourage and teach others how to ride, etc.; this is one of the biggest joys of my life!