I ride bikes. Scratch that, I LOVE riding bikes. My family is very health conscious so I was a regular at the gym play room when I was a kid and then, for my 11th birthday, I got a gym membership of my own. That gift began a lifetime commitment to fitness. Soon enough though, I realized that gyms are boring! So I tried every sport in the book (basketball, soccer, track, swimming, water polo, softball, you get the idea) and sucked at pretty much all of them. I came to realize that I’m terrible at anything that needs hand-eye or foot-eye coordination. It was pretty frustrating because I always knew I could be good at something if not for the passion and discipline I would bring the sport.
Finally, in 2008, I accomplished one of my goals of doing a triathlon. I was in San Diego (the mecca for triathletes) for a 6 month internship and joined the Tri Club of San Diego. They have an incredible calendar of multiple training sessions per day and it was so easy to jump in on a few of those before and after work. They also held FREE monthly sprint distance triathlons and before I left to head back to Boston, I had done six. SIX! I also managed to squeeze in the Pumpkinman Olympic Distance at Lake Mead in Nevada.
When I got back to school I realized how crazy expensive triathlons are so I looked for a new outlet. I always loved to swim so I did some of that but it’s so fricken lonely. Then I found Green Line Velo. It’s a Boston-based bike race team started by a couple of kids that graduated from my school. I joined one of their community rides and, in my first day, met several people who would become my best friends. Triathlons drifted to the back of my mind for a while and I got fast on a bike.
I joined my school’s bike team my junior year and felt really sad that I hadn’t joined sooner. Collegiate road racing happens for all of March and April and became my favorite time of year. My last year at school I volunteered to captain the team (along with Mike, my now boyfriend) and we had one of the best adventures I’ve ever been a part of. While it was an incredibly intense nine weeks, it was well worth it. We would leave midday Friday, drive several hours to our host housing (usually a teammates’ parents), sleep for a few hours, then race both Saturday and Sunday. Monday through Thursday was spent cramming in ALL classes and homework (this was pretty hard during thesis time).
In the last few years I have discovered an amazing world of cyclists. People that are so dedicated and excited to be a part of the sport that they’ll do anything to see you get into it as well. Seriously. Next time you meet someone on a bike, mention that you were thinking about going out on a ride sometime; they will inevitably invite you on various group rides and make it impossible for you to resist. And honestly, don’t even try. The people I met on Green Line Velo and my collegiate team have become some of my closest, most encouraging friends. They’re amazing people and they’re totally worth the 7am wake ups and ridiculous training rides.
^ that’s me in the white helmet with a great friend of mine, Carolyn, in the pinstripes (photo credit to another friend, Chatura Atapattu)
ps. I fully intend on reentering the tri world but may have to wait until my real life job starts panning out and I can afford it.
Questions: Have you ever thought about riding bikes? Why haven’t you started already? Please comment, I’d love to hear what everyone else has to say.