Once upon a time a young at heart lady decided that she didn’t want to go on a family cruise to Alaska because she wouldn’t be able to suntan on the pool deck. Her parents decided to give her money since she was opting out. Never mind that her husband and kids didn’t get any money…they should have gone on the cruise I guess. Ok, so I took the money and ran straight to D&Q to look at bikes. I already had a beach cruiser named Minty Julep, but after trying to keep up with a bunch of road bikers on a 13 mile jaunt and failing miserably, I knew I had to move up to the big time. I ended up with Xena, my warrior Trek hybrid because I wanted to sit upright and have a big comfy seat. D&Q was running beginner rides out of Lenape High School on Wednesday evenings and after asking my typical 20 questions and probably annoying the heck out of everyone, I made the trip out that evening. Low and behold it was me, myself and I who showed up. The 2 ride leaders appeared in full regalia astride road bikes and that’s how I met Ian Cameron and Harvey Dawkins. Both of them were so nice to me and answered my 20 plus questions without ever showing visible annoyance with me. They showed me how my gears worked and how to shift. They also instructed me on the rules of the road and cycling terms. Ian also told me about Team Evesham. I googled Team Evesham when I got home and found the website…who knew?! I’ve lived in Marlton for 30 years and I had never heard of Team Evesham…then again I hadn’t had a bicycle in 30 years either! I emailed the contact from the website and presented 20 questions including if I would be able to ride with the group on a hybrid and if I would be able to keep up. Brad Davis was so nice with his responses that I decided I would come out one Sunday after doing a few more D&Q rides. So…on June 30, 2013, I took my first official ride with Team Evesham. I arrived at Indian Springs resplendent in my Danskin workout pants, exercise top and sneakers and my heart sank. Everyone had on bike gear and there wasn’t a hybrid to be found. Luckily I’m not as shy as I used to be so I just announced to anyone who would look at me that I was new. I remember Daphne Lafferty welcoming me and telling me to ride with the C group. The route was 32 miles…the most I had done with D&Q was 17! The route was the Medford Bagel one and I recall chatting with Daphne and Dennis Wall during the first half of the ride. Easy peasy I thought as we made it to the Bagel stop after 15 miles. It went downhill from there. Somewhere down on Eayrestown Rd. I started to get really tired and was most likely in the thralls of bonking. I kept falling farther and farther behind and I felt like crying. There were several ride leaders on that ride and I remember them taking turns staying back with me…I specifically remember Dave Bennis and Dennis being so encouraging with me. During the last few miles up Elmwood Road, Dennis got “stuck” with me…everyone else had gone up ahead. The poor guy probably could have run faster than me pedaling and he sort of got ahead of me quite a bit without realizing it. All I wanted to do was pull into the 7/11 and get a slurpy and have Dennis turn around and not see me there! Being an honorable person, I dang near killed myself catching up to Dennis and we rode into Indian Springs together. I took a few weeks off from Team Evesham after that debacle and got some of my friends to ride with me on the D&Q loop to get my confidence back. On a Sunday in July I came back to Indian Springs and brought my gal pal Vickie Wolff…so I wouldn’t be the only one on a hybrid and sneakers! While everyone was really nice and welcoming, Vickie got nervous about the ride. I told her we could go off by ourselves and ride to the Medport Diner for breakfast if she wanted. We hid behind some cars and debated even though everyone was telling us to come with them. I was having problems with one of my tires and the groups were leaving so we figured we’d have to go off on our own. Enter Dave Bennis who was nice enough to help me with my pump and then offered to take us on the route. Dave led us all the way through Marlton, Mt. Laurel and through Moorestown and was so patient and kind. We even caught up to everyone at the rest stop in Medford. I was sold and so was Vickie! To make this long story appear shorter somewhat, I’ve been riding with Team Evesham on Fridays and Sundays since June 2013. After vowing to never wear clips and ride a road bike…I am the proud owner of my Scott Contessa named EyeCee and have fallen 5 times from a standstill because I forgot to unclip. I have met so many wonderful people and have made so many new friends. I have found a hobby that I love that rivals my husband’s affection for golf. My family thinks I’m obsessed and friends can’t believe that I will get up at 6:30 on weekends to get ready to ride! I had a blast participating in the MS ride this year after not thinking it could surpass last year’s inaugural experience. The camaraderie and laughs have kept me going…so much so that I don’t sit around crying that I miss my baby girl (ok she’s 22) who’s out in LA…much to her chagrin. Team Evesham has been a life-saver of sorts for me…it’s introduced me to people I never would have ever met before, it’s brought me closer to nature (except for the dead cats on the road which make me sad), it’s introduced me to a sport which has kept me off the couch watching tv and eating bonbons and has improved my life a hundred-fold both physically and mentally.