Before I was a bike fiend, I was a gym fiend. Probably due to my addictive personality, I used to immerse myself in working out the same way my life revolves around biking today. Seven days a week... two, often three hours at a time... aerobics, step classes, boot camp,... spin classes, lifting, jogging. Although I enjoyed the gym very much, I was very disciplined. If I was invited to something fun one evening, I'd still get my workout in first.
In the spring of 2008, George got into biking. He said, "I think you'd really like these group rides the shop sponsors. You should borrow a demo bike and ride with us." I dismissed the idea because I was very opposed to spending a lot of money on a bike. I had a $200 Royce Union bike from Sports Authority that suited me fine, thank you very much! All the bells and whistles like carbon frames, skinny wheels, and pedals that attach to your feet just seemed like stupidity to me. Why would anyone in his or her right mind spend over $500 on a bike?
I resisted his invitations for most of the summer, until one day I realized that my non-athletic boyfriend (who hated the gym) had basically found a sport he was interested in. He was asking me to do it with him. I decided I should be a good girlfriend and try it. What was the worst thing that could happen? Either I'd hate it or I'd get really into it. There are worse things in life than buying a new bike.
I went to his local bike shop, Action Wheels in Mantua, NJ. One of the mechanics, Adam fitted me for a nice women's specific bike called a Ruby. He loaned me a helmet. He insisted I use pedal cages for pedaling efficiency since I didn't have shoes to clip in yet. Absurd to me, but I humored him. George suggested that I buy a pair of bike shorts with a chamois pad in the seat, I put my foot down there. "My work out shorts will be fine for one ride," I said.
I went out for my first time on the Tuesday D ride, (They have A, B+, B, C, and D, with A being the fastest). I was amazed at how fast I could go, and it was effortless. I was up to 15 mph without even trying! After 20 minutes of riding on the road with the group, I was hooked. Within a week, I bought that bike! As I plunked down my credit card for a carbon bike, helmet, pedals, shoes, gloves, glasses, socks, trip computer, wedgie pack, tubes, CO2, water bottles, blinky lights, a jersey, and shorts, I felt a bursting excitement in my chest. I couldn't wait to ride as much as possible! I wanted to get faster. I dreamed of owning enough clothes to ride all week without running out of things to wear. George had created a monster!
My interest in biking grew stronger over the next year. I would look forward to bike rides so much that if a sudden rainstorm prevented my ride, I would become so disappointed that I'd mope around the house for hours. I'd even keep checking the radar to see if the storm might lift soon. George say, "Give it up, the road will still be too wet." I'd say, "If it stops raining, I'm riding! I don't care! I have to get my work out in!"
As I added mountain biking and racing to my repertoire, I have become even stricter with my training schedule. I must stay on schedule at all costs. I am striving to meet my goal of doing well in the Elite women's field. I believe I will reach this goal, because I will not give up until I see how far I can go in women's mountain bike racing.