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Cycling with Style July 30, 2010

Posted by Pam in Training Rides.
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Audrey Hepburn….can’t get any more stylish than that.  She was such an icon – so glamorous – so graceful – so gracious.  When I’m on a training ride, I envision that I have this same style and panache.  Gracefully pedalling up and over the hills as if they weren’t even there.  Hair tucked neatly away under a long flowing scarf that billows behind me as I ride.  Effortlessly – painlessly – breathing normally.

Well, such is the dream.  I have no such glamour as I mount my bike wearing lycra, funny socks and shoes, water hydration system, gloves (of the protective sort rather than the dainty elegant sort) and not to mention the helmet.  I don’t recall EVER seeing any pictures of Audrey with a helmet and definitely NONE of the items I’ve just mentioned.

As for the ride itself, there is MUCH effort. Some of those routes are just downright painful, but the downhills usually make it all worthwhile.  There is no glamour to my posture or my heavy breathing.  Sometimes the panting is so hard I feel as if a huge dog is chasing me down, but then I catch my snap and remember that it’s only my own huffing and puffing.  I don’t “glisten” as I exert myself…it’s a full blown out sweat…very un-Audrey-like. 

Riding time over and I get back to the starting point to remove the aforementioned “gear”.  Forget about neatly tucked hair under a scarf, it’s actually molded in the shape of the helmet itself!  No glamour there.  I’m a mess for sure, but I’ll be back again and again and again.  Why?  Because my team depends on me to be there and to be in the training trenches right alongside them.  Not only for the team but for all of those with MS that we’re riding for…riding to raise money to fight MS; to provide assistance programs; to educate and raise awareness; to motivate others to donate to the cause; to inspire others to join us. 

We, as a team, may not be a pretty or glamorous sight to behold, but as long as we’re training with these intentions at heart, we’ll be CYCLING WITH STYLE……

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4 out of 5 Grandma’s are Cyclist Friendly July 23, 2010

Posted by Pam in Training Rides.
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I’m the first to admit that I’m not an avid cyclist.  As soon as the 2nd day of BikeMS is over, my bike typically takes a hiatus on the hook in the garage and doesn’t come back out until it’s BikeMS season again.  I’m amazed and intrigued by the passion of those that continue to cycle year round and just for the sheer joy of it rather than for any particular event. 

Since I’m not out on the road all the time, it was quite a shock to me the first time I was honked at and yelled at by motorists to get off the street and stay off the street, however, in MUCH more colorful words.  Here I was out doing something to prepare me for an event that was geared towards raising money for a great cause, the MS Movement, and I was being cussed out.  To this day I still don’t understand that mentality.  I know that some cyclists can be unpredictable, do not follow the cycling rules and can be quite aggressive, but the same is true for some motorists as well as motorcyclists.  I am all three…granted not at the same time, of course…so I can see the varying perspectives from all points of view.  If everyone followed the rules, then we’d all live peacefully in harmony with each other…lol…perhaps, but it’s worth a shot.

My thoughts on this topic came about from a rather amusing event that occurred on a team training ride last Sunday.  Sunday rides are typically a good one without a lot of cars on the roads…UNLESS, you’re on a route that leads to church.  One of my teammates found herself with a flat, on a country road, with tall grass as a shoulder.  Not much room to move all the way over, but we did the best we could.  This just so happened to be the time that traffic on this lonely country road revved up as there was a church about a mile away from us.  The flat changing ritual commenced and I posted as lookout for cars.  The first to approach us was an elderly lady, probably on her way to church.  However, she did not take kindly to having to slow down and wait for cars to pass before driving around us.  This was readily apparent by the movement of her mouth and the hand flailing gestures she made in our direction.  Would she have reacted differently if she had known we were only out there preparing for a charity ride?  If we had big banners on us saying “We’re riding to fight Multiple Sclerosis”, would that have made a difference?  Probably not.

Intrigued by these thoughts, I decided to take note of the drivers’ reactions as they passed us.  Four more cars passed until the tire changing event was complete.  All four cars were driven by elderly ladies.  Each one of those ladies smiled warmly at us and gave a friendly wave.  It was heart warming to see, especially after the first driver’s reaction.  They didn’t know the reason we were out there either, but should it have mattered?  We certainly wouldn’t have yelled at them if they had a flat tire and blocked our cycling route.  Peace and harmony, peace and harmony…

I guess the take away thought from this is, Team Captains, make sure your riders know the rules of the road.  If they are pretty new to cycling, give them a heads up on the types of motorists they may come across and tips on how to handle them.  The moral of my Sunday morning ride story?  4 out of 5 grandmas are cyclist friendly….pass it on 🙂

Team Training vs Club 100 Ride July 19, 2010

Posted by Pam in Training Rides.
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Deciding what to do when it comes down to scheduling a team training ride versus a ride with other Club 100 members is a tough one.  I bit the bullet this weekend…LITERALLY…and scheduled both.  Not being an avid cyclist this was not an easy decision as I have yet to do back to back days of riding this season.  Now, 20 and 26 miles may not seem like a lot to some people, but I could really feel it the second day.  All of this was compounded by the fact that just Thursday I was wafting away in la-la land to the sound of a drill as a wayward tooth was “canalled” (yes, I’m sure that’s a word). 

Saturday’s event with the Club 100 was wonderful.  We had quite a few riders show up for about a 26 mile ride depending on who you asked.  This route had me reminiscing about the former Bike to the Beach Day 2 route – flat and windy – I could almost smell the ocean!

As a "newbie" - Start of my first MS ride ever - 2001

  We had wonderful support by the Club 100 Committee and the MS Staff complete with Starbucks, great signage, rest stops and the illustrious BikeMS Toyota truck as SAG.  If you’re not part of the Club 100 now, I encourage all to make it a priority for this coming year.  All you have to do is be one of the Top 100 fundraisers and you’re in!  Of course, those last few days waiting for the final tally can be a nailbiter and tends to take on characteristics of waiting for an online auction to end to declare you the WINNER!  This year I proudly wear #95.  🙂

Feeling guilty for ditching my team on Saturday to be coffee’d and taco’d (similar to wining and dining) by Club 100, I scheduled a Sunday “short” ride for the team.  In anticipation of some “newbies” showing up I was really hoping for a 10 miler.  Alas, the newbies seem to be in hiding this year and the good riders showed up, so we were up for a 20 mile ride and my legs really felt it…and so did my tooth!  Despite it all, we had a great ride with wonderful company and a nice breakfast and time for socializing afterwards. 

…..still wondering where all the newbies are!  They should be here by now….

Look At Me! July 13, 2010

Posted by Pam in Intro.
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(taking a deep breath…and here I go…) 

“Look at me” is NOT something people would normally hear me say.  I prefer to stay out of the spotlight, possibly quietly admired from afar, but NEVER right in the spotlight.  Here I am though, Team Captain…again.  The opportunity had presented itself numerous times over the past several years, but I never sought the spotlight…didn’t want that position…no way, no how!  Well, fate found a way and a how…and surprisingly, I’m really enjoying it – the challenge, the people, the quiet admiration from afar, even the “glad it’s her and not me”.  🙂

There is joy in knowing that I’m helping others.  That I’m helping others to help others and providing them with the encouragement that has been given to me to help them achieve their own goals.  My goal this year is to encourage other team captains and most importantly POTENTIAL Team Captains to hop aboard and Join the Movement.  Hopefully, I can provide some guidance, ideas and support along the way.  So, I’m proof positive that a bike rack (same as a wallflower, but in the bike world) can move to the front of the pack and lead.  I’m looking forward to having you come along for the ride or venturing off to lead a ride of your own.

ps:  you don’t have to actually “lead” the ride either….I’m quick on a typewriter, but not that fast on a bike…at all! 😉

Check back soon! July 9, 2010

Posted by Pam in Intro.
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Just getting my bearings straight on this thing called blogging, so please check back soon for something a bit more substantial other than “Under Construction”…..