Monday, 23 September 2013

Tour de Victoria 2013

When I started cycling this year, I wanted to do the 140-kilometer ride put on by Ryder and his pals. I talked to friends and bike shop employees to find out what this ride had to offer. I was warned about the Highlands' steep hills and windey roads. Gulp! With training, could a novice really complete this ride? Without a kit, would this novice look like a chump? Could I keep up with the back of the crowd?

I competed in two short-distance triathlons at the beginning of the season. During my training, I didn't build enough confidence to ride with a group. I kept to myself, using my long rides to solve my world's problems (getting rid of fruit flies, convincing Jose to ride with us, how to get from A to B without going up that hill; you know, every person's everyday troubles). It became evident that I wasn't committed to finishing the longest ride of my life. I looked at the other distances offered and felt better about registering for one of those.

Then summer came and with it, adventures in the sun with friends. Training was a burden to schedule instead of being an exhilarating time out to refuel. As such, I didn't sign up to ride in the Tour de Victoria. I chose to volunteer at the bag check to be part of the action.

I arrived at the check-in spot and it was evident that the bag check tent was over scheduled with volunteers. I was sent to the Feed Zone at the end of the finishing chute to hand out protein bars and a tin of coffee to every finisher. I overheard glory stories of the "most difficult ride of my life" and other accounts of the day. What I was looking for were finishers that didn't look like the others: I wanted confirmation that I could join them next year.  

Here are a few of them soon after they completed their ride:

A Cyclist's Life took the following at the top of Ash Road. (The same Ash Rd in my first triathlon)





Seeing fixies, mountain bikes, tandem bikes, hybrids alongside the road bikes helped me see that bicycles can bring all walks of life together: riders of different ages, occupation, gender, culture, abilities, etc. all being rained on as they pedal during an autumnal ride around their picturesque, hilly city. 

As much as I enjoyed being behind the scenes dressed in a comfortable volunteer's t-shirt, you better believe I am going to do a long-distance ride in the near future! In fact, MEC has their inaugural Century Ride in three weeks and I'm going to check out BC Randonneurs Cycling Club Populaire rides. I appreciate that though we all have different interests, we can be united by a common experience. 

1 comment:

  1. Well said! I love that cycling is accessible to so many people. It is the every-person that most inspires me. It is the mom hauling a kid or two, or the older man with a trailer and his two dogs, or perhaps the UVic student hustling to class (in the rain). All of us can achieve our goals! Keep riding and smiling!

    Rob (A Cyclist's Life)