Sunday was the 1st Annual Pedal 4 Kids bike ride in Ft Lauderdale to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Florida. I rode the A1A course with fellow friends and teammates and, as always, made new ones. The morning started off rough. About 5 minutes before the start of the 60 mile ride I realized that, thanks to the bike shop which I had taken my bike to for a tune-up the day before, my pedals were on backwards and I couldn’t clip in, making my bike unrideable. Really?!? That never happens. So in efforts to save time I didn’t go into a fit of rage or curse the name of the idiot (for lack of better terms) that worked on my bike, but instead I ran to the event-sponsored bike repair tent to get it fixed. What they told me broke my heart. Not only did they not have the tools to fix it on the spot, they also recommended I get new pedals. Apparently, putting them on backwards had ruined the tread and would make them unsafe to ride. I painfully told my teammates to go on without me. As Petunia (my bike) and I began to make our way back to the car, one of the event volunteers asked why I was backing out. Backing out? Wait, Emily doesn’t back out. I immediately made my way to a different tent set up by another bike shop who just happened to have the proper repair tools needed. In short, they were able to fix my pedals and assured me I had nothing to worry about. At this point, it was nearly half an hour after the start. I wasn’t really sure what my intentions were but I knew I was going to ride. So I got on my bike and flew. And I mean FLEW. I passed the leaders of the 30 mile group (who started 15 minutes after my group). At the 30 mile turnaround I wasn’t sure where my teammates were or if it was even feasible to catch up to them. Realizing I might have to do this entire ride solo, I continued on. It wasn’t until I almost reached the 60 mile route turnaround that I caught up to one of my teammates and got a hell of a reaction. “How the hell? I thought you couldn’t ride?!” Nobody tells me no. My legs were dead but I was ecstatic. I felt so accomplished.
This is when the ride became fun. We eventually caught up to our other teammate who had pulled off road due to severe leg cramps. His calves were twitching uncontrollably and there was no chance of a comeback (we have footage. It’s both gross and awesome). We went to the next rest stop and called the SAG van to transport him to the finish. It was a valiant effort on his part, seeing as though he had never completed much more than a 30 mile ride. I think he learned a lot of Do’s and Dont’s about riding that day. Good for him. The best way to learn is through experience, after all. Everything I know about cycling I have learned from other riders and my personal experiences on the road. And I LOVE to be a part of other people’s learning experiences. I hope to see him on many more rides.
After catching almost every bridge on the return trip, fighting the battle against killer headwind and struggling to make it up the 17th Street Causeway at the 58th mile, this seemed like the longest ride ever. But worth every second.
If you take away anything from this story let it be this: Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Don’t let minor obstacles obstruct your pre-determined goals.
Overall, it was a great day shared with great people. And the Bison burgers at the finish made it all worthwhile.