My cycling goal? Ride until I’m old, really old.
Since retelling a whole life story is of no interest to me and likely uninteresting at best for others, I decided to choose three cycling stories that taught me something.
First, that one can survive a bike crash, gracefully. I never would have believed this before one June Sunday morning Spidermonkey ride. I ended up in an ER with a dislocated elbow, endured the worst pain I had ever experienced, and my elbow required surgery. Today I call it an easy-peasy recovery, one in which I was back on a bike in 10 days and returned to my massage therapy practice in 12 days. The drugs were amazing and in a way, worth it. After about four or five weeks, I was back on a team ride and noted at the end that my legs and lungs were the limiting factors, I had completely forgotten about my elbow.
Another story stands out because it helps me laugh at myself and be prepared. One Saturday night ages ago it seems, I agreed to do a local Sunday morning triathlon the next morning. This was to be a fun family event with my experienced triathlete sister. I was NOT a cyclist, nor a swimmer, only a little bit a runner. All was going well Saturday morning. She opted to begin with me in the next to last heat in a pool. She left me in the first lap. Still, I celebrated one leg down! Next, I found my mountain bike and never made it out of the transition area … serious flat! Zero air pressure after I rode a few yards. Completely laughable and, to my surprise, a clear message that I should give it up. But, along comes a kind and generous woman who had already finished the complete event, and said to me with enthusiasm, “Here! Ride my bike!” So I did. To me it was a super fancy Specialized road bike. I felt light and super fast! In reality, it likely wasn’t as this was a Niles YMCA event, she was lending it to a completely thoughtless mountain bike cyclist/stranger, who failed at checking her tires at anytime before the race. Lapped my sis on the three loop bike part of the event. Huge reason to giggle as this was HER event after all.
My last story deepened my trust. Before I even knew the Spidermonkeys existed, I rode one season on the Monday night Chicago Cycling Club rides whose purpose is paceline training. One longer than normal ride, it seems we were still northbound and it was getting dark quickly. Up to then, my only night riding was in the City under streetlights galore, so my wimpy blinky lights were all I had. I figured out that being in front of a guy with beacon quality lighting was safe. No noticeable adjusting the speed for darkness had me silently worried. I could see enough to follow the wheel in front of me but what I couldn’t see were potholes, rocks, etc. Trust became all I had. I learned that if the wheels two up were smooth sailing, that was the specific path to follow. Each block increased my trust and therefore the excitement and thrill. It was like meditating to me. Trusting me, my bike, the road, the sounds, the skills of all the other riders. I completely relaxed and gave into trust each moment. After I was home safely, pure excitement was gushing through my whole being. I felt my happy heart pounding and a wish to experience more of this.
It was in the retelling of this story to a friend who told me, “You need to date a cyclist!” So, in a way, I credit her and the Universe for putting Charlie and me together. He’s not a Spidermonkey but rides sometimes with our group. While we met the old fashioned way via friends at a Chicago summer neighborhood fest, our second date was a ride and we’ve had many more since.
I ride just the right amount. I’m getting to do other things like part-time parenting, my massage therapy biz, so although I don’t ride as much as many of you, I’m still getting to do pretty much exactly what I love pretty much most of the time.
When I’m not cycling, I visit offices and events offering on-site chair massages, making life better for people who work at a desk. I also see clients privately in my massage space at Lincoln/Roscoe/Paulina, around the corner from Roxanne’s killer spin class.
Sixteen years ago, a friend offered to teach me a 15 minute chair massage routine and I have never looked back since. The same year, a week long meditation retreat in Northern California deepened my decision to change careers. I started working as a massage therapist with only three months of training and after a few more months of seeing clients, I began formal education to become a nationally certified practitioner. I love helping people feel better in their bodies, helping people notice what a powerful resource the nervous system is. Not just for the health of our approximate 100 trillion cells that make up one human body, but also for our thinking and how we view our experiences, all through bodywork. Life is an amazing and exciting gift. There is no need to suffer inside our bodies while enjoying this gift.
Oh, one photo is of Charles and me. Another is of Charlie’s son and me, eagerly awaiting the Spidermonkey crew cycling by our Damen Avenue apartment. The last one is me working on a very exhausted Emanuele Bianchi at the Chicago Velo Campus during its construction. He wrote to me, “Those were 36 very hard days and that massage was something really good for my body.” What an honor! And, more recently, I’ve had the honor and luck to work on several Spidermonkeys.
I have a serious interest in helping with Spidermonkey MS Ride efforts but haven’t figured out exactly what that looks like yet. Stay tuned. If you have any ideas, let me know.
Lastly, silver LeMond, smallish sized, that’s my bike and me.
Thank you Spidermonkeys for being such a fun and supportive cycling team! You all are amazing and I can’t wait to meet more of you.