On May 15, 2012 I walked into the Pedal House in Laramie with Matt. I slapped down what I felt was an absurd amount of money on a shiny silver and pink mountain bike. I rode it around the block, shaky and unsteady from 14 years of not touching a bike. My quads burned. I was uncertain. The shop owner asked me how it felt and I answer “umm, alright?” I didn’t know what a bike should feel like. It honestly felt like scary hell.
Matt and I took our new purchases to the Laramie Greenbelt. I think I made it about a quarter of a mile before my legs wanted to give up, and I couldn’t catch my breath. I think we did about 4 very slow miles before heading home. The next night I started crying when I couldn’t pedal up the gentle incline on the Greenbelt. How was I ever suppose to get good at this whole bike riding thing, especially compared to Matt who had two years of being a roadie behind him?
What I didn’t know at the time is how much that “absurd” purchase would end up changing my life. I lost 20 pounds, that’s the obvious. What’s more important is that I feel and look healthier at my today’s weight of 145 pounds than I did in my “skinny college girl days” when I weighed 130 pounds. I’m toned, and have scary quad muscles, and barely anymore love handles. While others around me hop from one diet fad to another, all while sitting on the couch and complaining about not being toned, I picked up a bicycle and just pedaled. By doing this I alienated many of my “close” friends, who deemed my new hobby childish and a waste of time and money. “Why would anybody spend $1100 on a bicycle? That’s a child’s activity.” That was actually said to me.
As other friends faded away, I’ve been blessed with making many other friends through cycling. In November I connected with the Fort Follies, a women’s cycling club in Fort Collins. I love the fact I have other girls in my life who are cycling nuts just like me! Matt and I also could share a passion, and as I became better I also became funner to ride with (bless Matt’s heart for putting up with my putzing along in my earlier days!).
I’ve noticed other aspects of my life have changed, too. I still eat rather unhealthy (I strongly believe carbs are complete meal – yum, potatoes!), but am acutely aware to add in more fruits and veggies, and I seek out organic/unprocessed foods when I can. I can actually down an energy gel with minimal gagging these days too. And weird green veggie fruit smoothies? Yeah, I have the stomach for those, too!
I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned comes from not giving up. I tend to give up on things when I don’t get the instant results I want. Hence the 400whp Nissan Sentra in the drive way with the dead battery that hasn’t been driven in years. It didn’t instantly run a 12 second quarter mile on the drag strip, so I gave up on it. I think this is the most surprising thing it comes to me with the bike. I don’t win many races, and I haven’t instantly become a pro mountain biker, and yet I still do it. I’ve learned to refocus my goals, and set real, obtainable ones instead of just aiming straight for lofty ones that need the baby steps completed before getting there. So instead of saying “I want to win the 20 mile race” I say “I want to finish the 20 mile race.” So far it’s working and I haven’t stomped away and sworn off bikes forever (though the Deer Trail Road Race made me want to never enter another road race!).
This is quite the rambling blog entry. But it’s quite the anniversary to celebrate. Buying that mountain bike (which I oddly enough posted up for sale yesterday) was perhaps one of the best things that could’ve happened to me.