Monday, April 7, 2008

Saturday Ride

Wow! What a week. When I first started thinking about what to share about the weekend workout I thought it would be pretty humorous but from the time I got my bike on the rack and headed home from our ride today I've been pretty emotional. As you know, riding hills is not my strong suit and has been causing me a bit (a LOT) of anxiety. I sent off an e-mail to Couloir the other day asking her to give me a face in the crowd to look for today that would be slow but knew what they were doing so I would have someone to follow and not end up lost and by myself somewhere with a flat and tears of frustration welling up and over. She e-mailed me back that I'm not the only one feeling this way and I would be fine. Hmph. So this morning bright and early as I was getting ready to head out I said a prayer just asking for someone to stand out to me this morning that would be my shining light. I pulled up to the Fred Meyer meeting place and got everything in order and headed over to the group and as I pull up there is a group of 4 girls smiling and inviting - I know them all just a little bit - I've run with Michelle once, swim with Abby on the rare Wednesday mornings I make it to group, Sheryl was at our first dessert get to know each other and I had the great honor of being the first person to knock over Amy's brand spankin' new bike at our first bike clinic (a whole other story about feeling like an inept oaf at triathlons). So I knew them, but not really. Yet there they were - like God had an arrow pointing from the heavens down to them: Here, Julie - here is what you asked for. WOW!


So we talked about our fears and anxieties and realized we were all in the same place and made a pact to stay together today. We had a very emotional talk from a current teammate/past participant who told her story about her loss in 2006 of a loved one that started us out with high emotions and also a lymphoma survivor friend of Coach Seth who was going to ride with us today. Nothing like starting your ride with your eyes all red from crying.

Now this is where it starts to get funny. Abby was riding on new clipless pedals for the first time. About a block out of the gate, we are in the turn lane with cars around us waiting at a red light. Abby goes over - I see her coming but there is nothing I can do as I am also clipped in. Down we went. Up we came! FAST! You've never seen two people get up from a fall faster than when they are in the middle of moving traffic. Off we go...

We're moving along good, feels good, slow and steady ~ talking, laughing at how good it's going, things are good, pftttt...Sheryl's front tire blew. Um, anyone changed a flat before? Nope. That's ok, Sheryl and Amy have seen plenty of tires changed...Michelle has been to Seth's tire changing clinic - they got it fixed...eventually...with NO help from me :-( I'm so proud of them (note to self: start practicing hands on flat tire changing at home so I'm ready when it happens to me)and then we were on our way again.

The hills are ok - I have to get off and walk twice - hey - I'm not the only one! Hooray! We can do this! Then Sheryl's chain starts slipping and to the rescue are Scott and Tim. STUDS! They are good at what they do yet they make us feel like we are too! Every look, every bit of easy conversation, all their help and uplifting talk make us feel ok about being at the back of the pack. Makes us forget we are at the back. Kelly has been following along keeping us company. She's sweeping to make sure no one gets left behind. She's moving along beside us talking and pedaling like it's a skip in the park as we (some of us a bit more than others...sheesh, I'm loud!) huff and puff beside her. She's our angel in the back for a good bit.

Tim decides to take a picture of us all, I see Abby out of the corner of my eye - she's going down again in her clipless - she's ...wait a she trying to grab at my coat sleeve?...The good part of me is thinking how can I keep her from falling...the bad part of me is saying - GIRL...Get your hands off of me - I AM NOT GOING DOWN AGAIN! She steadies herself - it's ok. Lots of hooting and hollering :o)

We finally get to the downhills and it's a blast - and it's fast - and it's scary. We make it to the bottom and we are ready to head back. We won't get in our 44 miles today but we've come so far. We head back and I realize that when you think that you're the only one struggling and you feel like crying, you are not alone. There might be someone struggling even more than you, but more important, there are lots of people who care and if you let them, they will get you through this - a huge lesson for this girl to learn today.

It's all good.

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