Yesterday I participated in Ride Cincinnati, a 100k charity ride to raise money for local breast cancer research. I decided to ride from the house, which is odd, because 100k is usually my limit for mileage in one ride these days. There was a time in my life when this wasn’t such a long ride for me and I would usually run or swim laps after my ride.
Those days of endurance training are long gone.
Anyways, I got up at 4:45 am and was ready to leave by 5:45am. Walking outside my door with my bike felt so good. The air was moist with humidity, the birds were just waking up and I could hear them chirping loudly. I was immediately reminded of all of those early morning training rides I used to do when I raced.
I headed downtown, the start of the ride was just 7 miles away. It was still dark out and there were no cars on the streets at all.
I was pumped.
I met up with Stephen and Amy and Francisco shortly after I arrived at the Purple People Bridge. Amy’s friend Sherry was also there, her start time was 7am for the 45 mile distance. The start time for the 100k was 6:30am. Most of the people I saw were decked out in team spandex and matching outfits. Amy, Stephen and myself all had on Spun spandex – which isn’t my thing these days but a shop has to have it so I order small batches at a time. Francisco, just coming off his bike tour across America, had to ride one of my commuter bikes cuz his bike is in the shop awaiting a new drive train.
The four of us had never ridden together. I had ridden with all of them at different times, but never in a group. I told Stephen to push the pace a little. He obliged.
We stopped at the first rest stop and got some fuel and took a potty break and then we were off again. We rode two by two, mostly me sucking someone’s wheel, pushing the pace just a little more than I would normally ride these days. I saw lots of teams out there. Girls I used to race with. I felt awkward and weird but happy to be riding my bike with my new friends who I would have never got to meet without Spun Bicycles.
We skipped the second aid station and kept going until we reached the turn around. We all ate some food, thanked the volunteers, took some pictures, and headed back out on the road. The sun was out in full force and the temps were high and the humidity was crazy. We kept on. Francisco and Stephen waited for us at the top of all the hills.
About 15 miles from the finish, we stopped at the last aid station and refueled. This was where the 25 distance riders had their turn around. That’s when I started noticing all the different bikes around me. I saw recumbent bikes, cruisers, hybrids, and all the flavors of bikes. It made me happy to see so many folks out on this charity ride just enjoying riding bikes for a good cause. It wasn’t about a race. Or how fast they could finish, or their team. It was just a big gigantic bike ride with a lot of stoked people on the bikes they like to ride.
We finished the ride and met up with Sherry who completed her longest distance ride to date – 45 miles. I was so proud of her and to see her so totally pumped with her accomplishment was awesome. We took a few more pictures and Amy and Sherry left. Francsico, Stephen and I headed back home on our bikes. I rode back to Price Hill and they went back to Northside.
I guess what I am trying to say is that after all these years of trying every discipline there is in bicycling (besides touring), I am very happy and content with riding bikes for the pure joy of it. There is no competition. There are no bib numbers or timing chips. That’s all over for me. I ride bikes cuz I love them.
We welcome all the flavors of bicyclists to our shop, no matter what you want to ride.