Sunday, May 9, 2010

Organized Rides

yesterday I rode in an organized ride, which is not always high on my list of "have to-do's". I know some people who register for and ride in just about every event they can find. I'm a little more selective. my reasoning goes something like this: we have so much beautiful, accessible terrain to ride through around here, with places available to stop and purchase my own little treats (G2's and water and gatorade and lemonade and bananas--if they're green enough--and granola bars and once in a great while a brownie or rice krispie treat or a payday...): why do I need to pay a bunch of money to ride with a bunch of strangers? I don't need any more water bottles or t-shirts or socks or anything with ride names tattooed on them. I have enough bib numbers on my magnet board, and medals on ribbons hanging alongside, enough pins and stickers and all the other stuff you collect when you participate in enough of these things.
I don't need to ride in a lot of these organized rides.

however, there are obviously some exceptions.
but these are rides with unique attributes that earn that exception status, at least in my book.

the MS ride. this will be my fourth, and it's a huge event run by a staff of dedicated, organized, powerfully positive people. it raises money to continue researching cures for MS. I know entirely too many people affected by MS, so I feel some sense of responsibility to raise money for this ride and show my support by participating in it. as a matter of fact . . . if you'd like to throw a little money toward that cause you are invited to visit my personal page on the MS fundraising site and contribute any old time: susanMSfundraisingpage

any challenging ride I am doing for the first time. okay, you know me, I like to conquer things. I don't think I need say anymore.

the ironhorse classic. I did this last year for the first time, and while I was panting and grinding my way up the first pass I swore I would never do it again. well, I'm doing it again. eyeball roll. for two reasons: I love durango and find it absolutely, stunningly beautiful and it's ambiance and setting just draw me; and this year I'm going to get up those hills without dying, like I did last year. or losing my tooth in a shot block, like I did last year. it's about redemption.

bikes for kids. this is the ride I did yesterday, and it left me with such a peaceful, positive, glowing aura that I will have to do this again. the organizers of this event run a program that is all about giving bikes to 2nd graders who would, without this program, be unlikely to have a bike. this year they're giving away 1000 brand new bikes to kids around the salt lake valley, and my entrance fee to ride yesterday contributed to that process. knowing what my bike has done for me allows me to feel the excitement, joy, freedom, and power these kids will come to know as proud owners of bicycles. how could I not want to help? in addition, this program was founded and is directed by someone I worked with years ago in another life, and I am thrilled that she has found this intensely beautiful thing to do with her time and energy. if you'd like to check them out, visit

other rides I do because my bad ass cycling team friends are doing them. this is kind of a new category for me: since I'm on this (fundraising, not racing) team, I feel some pull to join them on group activities. such as this coming saturday, when I'll be riding the salt lake century. I don't really like this ride, as it's just a long and flattish cruise around the north western part of our valley. it's a good way to be a team player and to get a bunch of miles in. sigh. they participate in a few other organized rides that I plan to skip, however. where's my backbone again? oh, yes, there it is.

and, oh yes, lotoja.
okay, I haven't been talking about this.
it's not because of their hanger screw-up, either. it's just because it's a big deal for me, and it wasn't a good ride for me last year, and yes, I signed up to do it again. and yes, I got in.
yesterday morning after the bikes for kids ride I was talking to two men who were parked next to me, stowing their bikes while I was doing the same. we both had lotoja stickers on our rear windows (you can find us everywhere . . . but especially at biking events), and the subject came up. the younger guy had registered to ride lotoja for the first time this year, while the older has already done it 4 times. I asked if they both got in, which they did, and I said to the first-time rider, oh, I'm sorry.
I mean this, and I don't.
it's just a darn long ride that necessitates a significant training commitment.
but it's also a darn long ride that you really can't just go do on your own.
so yes, I am doing this again. and probably again after that, so I can earn my big 1000 mile award for riding 5 of them. will work for carrots.

so, there's my organized ride scoop. I don't always adhere to my own theories, they tend to more be a jumping off point. in other words, these rides come up and my first answer is no, I'm not doing that. and then I think about it a little more, contemplate, wait for gauntlets to drop at my feet, or carrots to swing from little strings out in front of me, just beyond my reach.

some of you might consider me a little off my rocker, but let me just leave you with this thought: some of my biking buddies spent their day yesterday in buena vista, colorado, participating in an Adventure Xstream race, which involves mountain biking, trekking, orientation, tyrolean traverse (??), and kayaking. they called it quits after seventeen hours, as apparently the course was just grueling.
helps me look a little more normal, doesn't it?
that's what friends are for.

see ya at the races.

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