Remember my blog post three months ago when I had decided to ride the Courage Classic this summer WILL YOU JOIN US? 133 miles of road biking in the Rocky Mountain over 3 days. Yikes! I had of course no clue what I had signed up for...
3 months have passed since then. The first step was to buy a road bike. I now have a turquoise bike. I partly bought it due to the pretty color, partly because I didn't really know what to look for in a road bike. I can say today that I probably should have invested a little bit more money in a bike than I did, but I honestly had no idea if I would ride it a lot or not. It is definitely a starter bike.
As I had made the decision to do this gigantic bike ride, I thought it would be good to let people know. They could keep me accountable, and I would know that there would be no way back...In talking to people, we got a great little crew of bikers from my work. They are all part of our team Summits for Samantha. As we get our morning coffee or need a little break at work, we now talk bikes :-
But you can't just talk...you actually have to get on that bike and start pedaling. My first bike ride was an 18 miles bike ride on pretty much flat roads. Since then I have extended my mileage on the bike with each ride. We have also done a fair amount of hill climbing to prepare us for the ride up in the mountain.
I can today say that I have gotten hooked on road biking! Me who didn't even own a road bike 3 months ago. I have been a gym rat for years, but now I have found a way to exercise outside in beautiful Colorado. I have fallen in love once again with this beautiful mountain State. I secretly want to move to Boulder with endless options for road biking...you can always dream.
I love my riding crew. Our core crew is Jacob's nurse Gemma, my boss Barbara, and my long standing friend Sonja. Barbara has an endurance that is hard to beat. She also maps out a new ride for us each weekend. We have gotten to explore Boulder with surroundings with the help of her. As long as Sonja is with us, I am not afraid to get a flat tire or have any other bike problems. She will get down to busines and fix it. Gemma will always cheer us on, and her optimism never leaves her. We also have Jacob's favorite nurse Whitney from Children's and Dr. C. join us from time to time. They are in their own league, leading us up steep mountains or on long stretches of roads.
Has it all been easy? No! I still consider myself quite an inexperienced rider. I am still intimidated by my bike. It took me a long time to figure out how to use my gears properly. I was lucky to run into a three times US championship biker on one of our longer rides, and he really taught me how to use my gears and also techniques to go uphill. I wore my gloves the wrong way for the longest time...don't even get me started on how that happened. My hands were sore and all. I did take a big fall on the bike. I can't brag that it was coming down a big mountain climb. No, it was in a little park, and without warning my bike and I landed in a flower bed! My legs were bruised for a long time, but nothing more serious than that. I experienced my first flat tire the other day...I didn't even notice, and continued riding for another 5 miles...Yes, definitely still a beginner.
Today, I am pretty proud of myself. Today, I conquered Flagstaff Summit and continued all the way to Walker Ranch. It is a category 1 hill climb. If you don't know that hills are categorized, neither did I three months ago. I know that I need to be able to do category 3 hills during Courage Classic, so I should be ok. A category 1 hill is the hardest hill category, and it is no joke. It is more about mental strength than leg muscles. When it gets really, really tough I start to run Jacob's name in my head. I have to remember that I do this bike ride for him and for Children's Hospital, which has made Jacob's life possible. I remind myself how much Jacob has to fight for his life every day, every hour of the day, and that is all I need to make me continue to pedaling.
If you want to check out Summits for Samantha's team video (Jacob is in it), take a peak:
Summits for Samantha 2013 video
If you want to donate to my ride and to Children's Hospital, you can do so by clicking on the link below:
And.. I will keep pedaling! Love, Maria.