The ice on the hoods of our Jeep and VW would have been pretty any other day, but not today. Today, I had the Tamale Bike Tour. My husband draped an arm around my shoulders and asked if I was up for it. I nodded. I’d already paid my twenty bucks. Might as well try, right? So, I loaded up my bike and said to myself, “It’s only fifteen miles.”
At around 8:40 AM, various riders assembled at the intersection of Mines Road and Toll Road 255. The die-hard cyclists gathered at the front. They were going to do the 40 mile ride. I hung in the back, with the other cyclists slated for the 15 mile tour. This was my first time back on my Orbea since November, so there was no way I was tackling 40 miles.
The cold slid through the ventilation in my cycling shoes, cut through my gloves, and nibbled at my nose, but I knew that if I could get through the first few miles, my body would warm up, thereby making the ride a bit more enjoyable. By that time, all the other cyclist were well ahead of me. I rode by myself for the entire fifteen miles, and I didn’t mind. My mantra has been the same since I first started exercising: “Dream on.” I sang Aerosmith’s ditty over and over, sometimes in my head, sometimes out loud.
My husband waited, camera in hand, to welcome me at the finish line. He greeted me and with those words I knew he was going to say but still wanted to hear anyway: “I’m proud of you.” I smiled and said, “It was nothing,” when it was really everything. I was the heaviest cyclist out there, but I was out there. I burned 840 calories in weather that normally would have kept me in bed. And I now have a base to begin tracking personal records, or PRs. Let the races begin!