One week ago, I had the distinct pleasure of leading a group of women on a 25-mile off road ride through some of South Florida’s most natural flora and fauna. The purpose of the ride was to honor some of the strongest women cyclists on the planet who would be competing in the 2017 Le Course by Le Tour de France–a 22.5 kilometer (14 mile) women’s cycling race held in France July 20th. Although actual pre-ride registrants totaled 20, eight bright-eyed and bushytailed riders from as far south as Broward County showed up at 7:30 for the 8AM ride. What touched me most is that I hadn’t before met half of the eight riders. Additionally, two or three of the riders had never ridden a distance greater than ten or so miles. I am beyond humbled these women entrusted me, a complete and total stranger to some, with their safety and wellbeing. Wow! Let that sink in. And do you want to know something else? That’s exactly what I was hoping for.
I remember how terrified I was when I embarked on my first long-distance off road ride. I thought I would be left in the dust by the seasoned men and women who rode with us that day. Thankfully, that didn’t happen, but the thought was there nonetheless. What I stressed to the women who signed up for last week’s ride was that I would be there with them every single pedal stroke of the way. I wanted them to know they were safe with me; there was absolutely nothing to fear. The pace would be moderate and I had no pre-established time for completion. That took all the pressure off not only me, but the women riding with me, too.
The ride went off without a hitch. Yes, it was hot, after all this is South Florida. But we left early and were back at the parking lot by 11:15—and that included a brief SAG stop manned by none other than my husband and son. Bless them. The ride was a success. How do I know? Because everyone said they didn’t want the ride to end. Additionally, they all asked when we could do it again. A few even suggested the following day. Yep, sounds like success to me.
I can’t wait to ride with you again, ladies. Hopefully more of you will join us, too. The more, the merrier!