Back in March I went out for my first “group” bike ride BUT before I tell you how it went, let me tell about my first “serious” bike ride.
Way back when I was about 15 I went bike riding with my cousin Yvonne. Now I wasn’t riding my own bike, I was riding on the handle bars of the bike. We were going downhill and somehow we hit a pot hole and we both went flying in the air and hurt ourselves bad. Pretty much after that I was prettified about riding bikes again.
About 5 years ago I got a cruising bike and I rode the bike around the block, nothing serious. The bike spent more time in storage than outside. Now fast forward to April 2011, I got my “sweet” riding bike a Cannondale (Synapse) part carbon frame and part aluminum. Here is where the story really starts. :)
I went for my first serious bike ride and I was taken to a parking lot to learn how to hook and unhook my shoes. I did OK although I fell on my first try unhooking. We went for a 7 mile ride and when we got back I was able to unhook without problems. OK, yeah for me! So we decided to go for a longer ride. I was taken to a little town called La Conner, WA during the Tulip Festival. I rode in between cars, people and other bikes for another 13 miles and I did great. Come the end of the more than 20+ miles, I am 6 ft. away from my car and I can unhook and I fell and scrapped my right knee bad. I still have the battle scars to prove it.
Fast forward to March 2012, I got my bike from the shop and went riding around back roads and spent most of the time hooking and unhooking my shoes to make sure I didn’t make a fool of myself when I went riding with the group. The next morning I was ready to ride at 6:30am. The ride started at 7am. I got to the place and met the other riders about 50. I made sure to tell them that I hadn’t ridden my bike in 7 months and that I was not fast so I was the last one of the pack but I prefer to call it the “rear guard”. I was doing about 12-14 miles and they were doing about 18 or more so I fell behind. Somehow I missed the point they turned and I ended up riding about 3 miles farther on Silver Strand bike path to Imperial Beach by the beautiful little town of Coronado, CA. At a cross-road I decided to turn around and head back, would you believe that I fell because I couldn’t unhook? URGH, now I scrapped my left knee. Thank goodness nobody was around to see me fall.
As I was riding and saw the group get farther away and farther away, I kept pedaling as fast as I could but I couldn’t keep up, I kept thinking to myself just keep pedaling don’t focus on them focus on you. At one point, I saw some of the older ladies turning around ¾ of the way and I thought maybe I should turn around too but I couldn’t get myself to do it. I kept thinking, I might be that last one but I am not quitting. As life would have it I ended up riding 3 miles pass the huddle point.
Basically, I ended up riding by myself which was great in a way because it gave me time to reflect but I also knew that they expected me back so I pushed myself to make it to the starting point as close to the time we were supposed to be back at the meeting place for coffee and donuts.
Here is what I learned about myself during that bike ride. I might not be the serious competitor and I might not be part of the pack but I am definitively not a quitter. I think that is true about my life too! Although life seems to be out of my league at times and way ahead of me, I am not quitting. I am more determined than ever to give it everything that I have. I might end up with more miles and few more scrapes and battle wounds than the rest but I will make it to the end; perhaps with a lot more experience and a smile on my face and scrapped knees not only reaching the end but “victorious” in all my ways because I refused to quit on life! Lessons for bike riding!!!
Back to my admiral’s question, what lessons did you learn today?
Have fun and Be safe!