And So It Began…..
I have always been passionate about health and fitness and have maintained an active lifestyle since high school. Though I have participated in many other sports and fitness trends over the years, running and working out have been “my thing.” It wasn’t until about a year ago that I was introduced to road biking. With many years of running and racing under my belt, I have been reminded by fellow athletes, as well as my own body, that I might want to explore other alternatives if I want to do this fitness thing for the next 50 years.
Though I only owned a mountain bike, I decided to accept an invitation to join a group who were going out one Saturday morning in March of last year for a tune up-ride. I showed up that morning with my mountain bike, borrowed helmet and sneakers, lol. The other riders though very welcoming and friendly, but I knew exactly what they were thinking! And OMG, what WAS I thinking??? I was so out of my league and worse yet, I was riding an Iron Sled! There was no way a mountain bike can keep the pace of a road bike. Yet, I put my game face on and we were off. After About 15 miles of trudging through the scenic, yet challenging pace and hills of Gloucester County, I had to eat a big piece of humble pie and graciously bail out from the rest of the ride. During my ride of shame back to my car, I reflected on the challenge of the ride, the friendly people, the great outdoors and how with the right equipment, this can become my new sport!
So piece-by-piece, I collected all the necessary gear as I rode through the year and my joy of cycling was born. I even did indoor training sessions at D&Q this winter.
A member of Team Evesham invited me as a guest to ride on a Sunday ride in February. With haunting thoughts of my first group ride last year, I was a bit hesitant if I could keep up with the veteran riders, but this time I showed up with the right gear and looking the part of a cyclist. We went out with a C+ group and I was easily accepted as part of the team. Everyone was so warm and supportive. Following the ride, I enjoyed the camaraderie even more at the Rastelli’s “after party”. It was then that I realized I had to become a member of this group.
I bought my first road bike this spring and I’ve been on a couple rides since the season started and each has been extremely organized, nurturing and challenging. With each ride, I am meeting new riders, enjoying the physical challenge and becoming a better biker. I even completed my first “Fix-A-Flat 101” course given by only the best Pit Crew: Sandy, Brad, Dave, and Jim. We were on the final stretch of a 36 mile ride when I got my first flat tire. Other than having the right equipment for the job, I really had no idea how to even begin. This group of competitive cyclists instantly became the kindest gentlemen. They stopped their ride and didn’t just “give me a fish, they taught me to fish.” The best part of that day was being a novice rider and being able to finish that final leg of the ride with the most experienced riders on Team Evesham and feeling like I was part of the TEAM!