Through the years, riding has meant different things to me. During my youth, riding was my only means of transportation. However, as I matured I realized I had potential and could develop my skills if I worked at it. I have never been a really fast person, although I have competed in many races. I found that through competition, I was allowing myself to explore new abilities while achieving better fitness. As an added bonus, I realized it made me feel really good while developing better self-confidence. Who knew??!!
Ironically, I started cycling AFTER graduating college at Clemson University in 1998. My husband introduced me to riding and hooked me up with my first mountain bike. We spent so much time on the great Isaqueena Trails in Clemson. I love that place! Back then it was really slow moving with lots of walking. Especially when it was summer in the HOT – HOT – HOT South Carolina heat. But it was so worth it. I found that we would get to see so much on bikes. We would go to this one trail in the evenings before dusk and watch the deer feed before we would head back down. That was such a fun trail; we called it “Wounded Knee”. I realized then how much I love nature and being out there. After that, I was hooked!! I love the beauty – I love the socializing – I love the long days – I love the sweating – I love the colors – I love the smell – I love the smiles – I love the speed – I love the rush!
Once I was hooked, we started taking weekend trips and vacations just to go riding in different places. I had not yet raced, but was enjoying just the act of being out there. You can go so far, in such a short amount of time and see so much. It’s truly amazing!! The most amazing place we visited was Moab, Utah. It is so beautiful out there. I would recommend it to anyone. Even though that was fun, what made it fun was that it was different. Being exposed to different terrains, different experiences and different locations is part of the addiction.
After moving to Asheville, I bought my first road bike. Although I mostly enjoy being in the woods, I must say that I enjoy the simplicity, speed and non-technical side of road biking. Sadly, I feel like I am a much better roadie than mountain biker. Once I had both bikes, I would ride so much more frequently. I finally decided I was ready to take on racing/metric centuries. So back in 2001, I signed up for Blood Sweat and Gears Metric Century. I was so nervous. I trained and knew I was ready, but that morning I felt so sick! I had it in my head that it was a race, when in fact it’s not. After the event, I felt like I was on such a high. I felt like I had achieved a huge thing!! And I had!! Since then, I’ve competed in several cross-country races, metric centuries and endurance mountain bike races. My toughest events thus far (that I have completed) would be racing duo with my husband at the Wild 100 Back Country Mountain Bike Race in West Virginia and racing solo at the Night Train 12 hour Cross Country Race the week prior. During that year, I learned a critical lesson. During a race or an epic ride it’s not how fast you go, it’s all about forward motion, without complaining!! At times, that’s really hard to do! But it’s definitely an attitude you have to keep, or it’s no fun for anyone.
I put in many miles that year. That’s the year before we conceived our daughter, Wiley. Since then, many things have changed. Thus far, I haven’t been able to put in as many hours of riding that I would like but that’s okay, she’s only going to be little for a little while and I plan to enjoy every minute. We’ve had to adapt our riding around her. Most of my rides now involve pulling a Burley Trailer. But it’s so great to be able to expose her to all of the things that we love. We have often talked about how lucky Wiley is to live in such a wonderful place and to have parents who enjoy getting out there, with her. Not only that, I’ve found that I have several great friends with small children, and we often get out there with kids in toe. During my time off the bike, I did reflect on my many memories and just get a rush, which would bring a big smile to my face. I am very excited to be a member of the BioWheels Race Team again this year. I plan attend more events offering support while focusing on participating mainly in metric centuries. Eventually, I’d like to compete in some endurance races; we’ll see what the year has in store.
Through the years our riding experiences will change based on where we are at that time in our lives. But the most important thing to remember is to keep ridin’- it’ll make you smile!!