Do you remember when you first learned to ride a bike? That feeling of newfound freedom, the exhilaration of being able to go wherever you wanted (or as far as your Mom would let you), knowing your bike was your passport to places unknown.
Riding with your friends, streamers flying in the wind, baseball cards in the spokes making that cool sound as your tires spun around and around.
I remember getting my first 10 speed. I wanted this bike so badly, I could hardly stand it. On Christmas morning, I walked out into the living room and there it was. Black, white & red. It was gorgeous. I rode the hell out of that bike for years. Then I learned to drive.
Over the years, I would ride occasionally but never with any regularity. Then, I found my friends. This is the story of how we met…
It was about 8 months ago, I had only lived here 5 weeks or so at that point and knew no one. I had always enjoyed riding bikes and had heard about this charity ride and thought that I would like to do it. The ride was called “Bike It for Life” and there was a casual meet and greet one afternoon at someone’s house. I don’t know about you, but I get a little anxious going into an entire room full of people who already know each other… Making friends as an adult isn’t very easy, but I knew I wanted to ride and to do that I needed to get out of my comfort zone. Every cell in my body was rebelling against me as I walked up to the door. Just as I approached, CC was opening the door for the pizza delivery guy and yelled “Hey! I guess you are here for “Bike it for Life!” and with that sentence, I was welcomed inside.
I remember sitting at CC’s table, talking to KM and DM… KM had the kindest eyes I had ever seen. I must’ve looked terrified because he was so sweet to me and I have never forgotten that. I remember seeing JM, who has become one of my favorite guys on the planet, walk up the stairs that day too. It’s funny when you look back at when you first met people who are such a big part of your life now, I never imagined that this group of guys would capture my heart, become some of the most important people in the world to me and change my life forever.
My cycling group is more than that, they are part of my family. We spend hours upon hours on the road together, training together, changing flats together, laughing together, teasing each other, sharing our nutrition bars and gu, hanging out together after rides and I absolutely adore these people.
In a few short days, we will be riding in the Smart Ride. It is a 2 day event, 165 miles from Miami to Key West. We have been training for almost 6 months for this event, giving our weekends to the road. It hasn’t always been easy, sometimes it’s been downright brutal, but as one of my teammates said last weekend “I think of the person who would gladly trade my pain to be able to do this”. Smart Ride is hoping to raise $1,000,000 this year, on the 10th anniversary of this amazing ride. I am beyond proud to be a part of it and a part of my team.
I settle into the saddle and feel my feet clip in to the pedals. Slowly my body melts into its familiar routine.
Serenity washes over me as the stresses of life fade away. I am granted a temporary reprieve from the constant stream of “things I need to do” and my brain has clicked over to auto-pilot… pushing my legs, gripping the bars, focusing on nothing but the road ahead. I am one with my bike.
All I hear is the sound of my own breathing, the only thing I feel is my heart beating in my chest. Tire greets pavement as it whizzes past in a blur. The wind races through my helmet, I feel it against my flushed skin. I have given the road my all. I owe it everything and nothing.
I am drenched in sweat, yet fully cleansed.
To make a donation to Smart Ride, please click on the link below…