Three seasons have passed since the conversation with a friend that set my life in a different direction. Back in September I had initially approached her about running a 5K event during the Day Of The Tread in late October. She countered back with doing one of the riding events. I said “Sure, I haven’t ridden a bike in decades, but I’ll do a 54 mile ride with you. I’ll have a few weeks to train.”
It was time to go buy a bike.
Within a couple weeks of having this newfound time bandit, we had a text message thread about riding with her club. Carm: “You should come ride with my club this Saturday.” Me: “Count me in, sounds like fun.” I had no idea what I was in for. That first ride had me swept along at 26 mph in a double pace line all the while having the most intense mental back-and-forth with myself about not bumping anyone or falling behind. Thankfully I was in the middle of the pack so the pocket I was in took a lot of effort off me. But still, I went to my knees at our first rest stop.
Evidently I was hooked because I went back for more.
I’m extremely grateful that I did because sometimes you just have to do things. Sometimes you have to get out of your comfort circle and go find the magic. Within the past month, I’ve completed my first century ride; cold, wet, and bottom numbing. Twice I’ve ridden the east side of the Sandia Mountains up to Santa Fe, encountering the winds that materialize in the spring. One cold Saturday I chased the snow to the top of Sandia Crest Road with two women who appear to be just as crazy about the bike as I am. Or maybe just plain crazy. At the top of Crest Road that morning, the trees were shrouded in a blanket of wispy white beauty and the sweat-freezing temperature was surely in the teens.
There have been times I’ve pushed myself past the point of exhaustion knowing that difficult situations must happen now, because those Rocky Mountain peaks won’t be handing me all sunshine, tail winds, and puppy dog kisses. They’ll be snickering “Come on girlfriend, let’s see what you’re made of.” I’m trying not to be brought to my knees again.
I’ve made more friends in these past seven months than I’ve made in the past seven years. As I record these rides in Strava and take pictures so I can look back and know it wasn’t my imagination that I climbed that 10% grade (albeit slowly, but still…), people are starting to follow along. I’m watching their rides and catching a glimpse of their worlds just like they are of mine. My bike, herein known as Chasin The Moon, has started me thinking about chasing pedal strokes beyond my horizon. I miss sitting in the sand watching the moon set over the Mediterranean Sea. I think CTM might be pointing me back to the world that has been waiting for me.