This past weekend I had the opportunity to ride in a womens'-only bike ride called the Goldilocks.
I had heard about it from a friend, and thought it sounded so fun! I had big plans to ride far. Riding in a longer event (100 miles) was a goal I've had for awhile on the backburner. I thought that I was in pretty good shape and that this would be a good precursor for that.
This was back in January, before I got sick. I'd been doing kettlebells 5x/week. If you've done kettlebells the right way before, you will know what a strength and stamina workout it is. I felt stronger than I had in years and years, and excited and ready to take on the physical challenge. I'd been debating between a bike ride and another half marathon when this opportunity presented itself.
I signed up to ride 60 miles.
Well, we all know how things went pretty much right after that. I have only just begun exercising again this week, so needless to say, the kind of physical shape I was in was definitely in question.
But I knew I'd paid for it, and that if I was in terrible shape, that this would be a "in-bad-shape-friendly" ride, complete with rest stops and a team of "helpers" on call should anything happen from a flat tire to an injury to quitting. I really didn't want to think about quitting - I am not a quitter - but I knew it would be a possibility if I did try.
So I mustered up whatever guts I could find and picked up my packet a few nights prior. At that time, I had to make a judgement call based on what I thought my doctor would say: I changed my distance to 20 miles.
Even at 20 miles, I still had my doubts. But I'd caught the bug at the packet pickup party and was really stoked to at least try.
The night before, I was so nervous that I only slept about 5 hours. The morning of, I was so nervous that I thought about quitting. Luckily, Wes had gotten the day off, and the pressure was on (I wanted to make him proud), so I didn't feel like not trying was an option. We packed everything and everyone up and took off for the ride.
I calmed down a little when I got there and saw how different the atmosphere was from the running races I've done. We didn't even get timed (when you race, they give you a little chip to tie on your shoelace that records your time when you cross the finish line). Some people were still arriving at what was supposed to be the start time for the 20 mile (running, you have to be there an hour before the race begins - at least, and then they divide you up by your pace). I saw a group of women wearing plastic butts over their shorts. I saw old and young, fit and not-so-fit, serious biker and leisure biker types. I saw all kinds of women.
The one thing they had in common is that they were all happy as clams to be there. Everyone was friendly and enthusiastic. When women get together to do something like this, we are really fun. It wasn't hard for me to catch the enthusiasm myself and realize that it was all in fun.
And you know what? It was fun. Really, really fun. I enjoyed it so much that I am already counting down to the next time I can do it. It was right at the top of my list of fun experiences. Riding is something I will definitely be doing more of.
Added bonus: it's good exercise that I can do right now. I actually made really good time. I rode 20 miles in about an 90 minutes so, and I thought it was going to take me 2-3 hours. I got to the rest stop in less than an hour. Wes and the boys were waiting for me there. Wes has never before been able to be there for an event like this that I've done, so it was a real treat to have him there. I loved that. I actually don't think I've ever had anyone at a race coming to cheer me on before, so it was really a big treat. Here's a couple pictures Wes took with his phone.
The finish line was filled with people ringing cowbells and music blaring. They passed out cowbells for us to ring for others and the boys got a total kick out of that. They gave us these darling necklaces instead of medals, which I liked. They had a nice spread for lunch too (unfortunately not GF) from delicious deli sandwiches to fruit and chips and drinks to cake bites from the Sweet Tooth Fairy. They ad a bike parade for the kids, as well as an obstacle course for them to ride their bike through. They gave out free helmets too. We all had a lot of fun! I'm already registered for next year. :)
I was all geared up to be dysfunctional for the next couple days. I thought my legs would be mush (my knees are sure done after a half marathon!) and my bottom would be sore from sitting on a hard seat (although I wisely bought some biking shorts at the bike shop our friend owns because I saw the padding on the inside and thought I could use allt he help I could get. Much to my amazement, I wasn't even that tired the rest of the day. The biggest surpise of all: I didn't even get sore one bit!
I am so glad I tried, and that I had this fun experience. I'm grateful that I know now that I have something I enjoy, something to challenge myself with while I work on getting slowly into shape, and something that our whole family can enjoy together. (Wes was so proud of me, and we;re already talking about trying another event together.) Thanks Goldilocks! I had a fabulous ride.