It’s a legitimate question that I would not blame anyone for asking. “Why on earth would you and Brent pay $30 each to register; stuff your bikes and all your gear in the car; drive 13 miles to Cedar Hill; and wait in a long line of cars to park in a busy shopping center… all to ride a 40-mile route (64, in Brent’s case) that goes RIGHT PAST YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?” Yeah, I know — we could get the same workout in much less time for free, just riding from home. But this was our first year to be in town for the Cedar Hill Rotary Club’s “Head For the Hills” Rally.
Anyway, it’s about more than the number of miles on the bike. First, there’s the atmosphere and excitement of a rally vs. rolling down to the end of the driveway and riding solo. You have actual people to ride with. Rest stops stocked with fresh fruit, bakery cookies, pretzels, cold water and the ever-important Porta-Johns. Blessed police officers and volunteers controlling traffic so that, in many places, you can blast right through a red light (slight pause while I shiver with glee).
And then there’s the finish. As riders arrived back at the start/finish line, a small crowd of people cheered for us and ride staff handed out completion pins. Under a large shade canopy, masses of cyclists relaxed, enjoying free soft drinks and some free food courtesy of several nearby restaurants. We congratulated each other and swapped “war stories” about the ride. This stands in sharp contrast to the end of a from-home ride when you just hang up the bike and say, “Well –guess I’d better go shower.”
Life is like that. Everything, good or bad, is better when it’s shared with others. The support and encouragement of all those volunteers along the route made the whole ride easier. Riders in a group can warn each other about traffic and road hazards. Even the steep hills and potholes seem less annoying when you can gripe about them to a fellow rider. And the victory celebration — well, all I can say is that I felt a sense of community with everyone, from the Category 1 racers to the absolute beginners who had just done their first ten-mile ride.
So don’t fall into the rut of doing life alone. Have you got some good news or achieved a big goal? Don’t just sit there — grab a few friends and go celebrate it! Or on the other hand, are you shouldering a burden of grief or frustration? All the more reason to get together with a trustworthy friend or two. I’ve learned that, while just talking it over won’t make the problem go away, I benefit from that sense of being heard. Besides, it is always a good idea to “head for the hills” and get some perspective on the situation.
This morning I’m thankful for my community of Company Girls! Stop by for coffee with us…
Thanks for reading!