I think it is best to rip the band-aid off so you can get your eye rolls and groans out of the way…I am one of the few teammates that considers Triathlon their main sport. I 100% promise not to mention that forsaken sport below this first paragraph, but knowing this information makes my story to becoming a Spidermonkey little bit easier to understand.
After owning up to that truth, I’m sure I’ve lost you quite quick, so in an effort to get your attention back I’ll name drop one of your favorite monkeys, Michelle Moore. Now that you’re with me still here is the story of how I came to be a Spidermonkey, and well, a cyclist!
Michelle and I met when I was working for Fleet Feet Sports and she was at the American Cancer Society. Call it 2010-ish. I actually got into riding on my own in 2011 when my love affair with running ended. Unlike most of you, cycling for me was a gateway drug to triathlon. Oops. Ok last time I swear.
I had found something I could enjoy, cycling, but lacked the environment to get better. Michelle started encouraging me to come out to the girls rides on Tuesday mornings, which for a few weeks led to me getting up at 5:00am, putting my cycling clothes on, and getting back into bed. Yeahhhh, I was kind of intimidated.
Eventually I strung a few weeks together of showing up regularly and started to get the hang of this pace line thing. I was mostly happy I stuck it out because I could tell this would definitely help me get better on the bike.
One Tuesday I was riding with with Emily, and I asked her, “So, how many times a week do you ride?” Emily said, “4-5 times a week. It depends.” I really don’t know why this information shocked me, but I vividly remember thinking, “Woah! I only ride 2-3 times a week. No wonder these girls are so good.”
I would ride just about every Tuesday for the next 3 years and I’d inevitably be asked, “so, do you race bikes?” No, not really. Not yet anyway.
By the time 2015 rolled around I had become pretty addicted to that other sport, but still lacked the bike capabilities of my other competitors. I spent 2015 really focusing on the bike leg which of course included all the girls rides. Then with further Michelle Moore encouragement, also led to my first cross season to supplement my other bike training.
I like cross a lot, but let’s just say there is a reason I prefer to stick to the TT position for my racing. Honestly, I think Amy experiences cross race amnesia every time she suggests wanting to get me out on a mountain bike. When racing cross I can be heard saying things like, “Oh dear!” “Can I go back to Ironman?” “Oh, we’re going to ride that?” “No, I think I’m going to run it.”
I digress. After 6 or 7 races in that first season wearing my Chicago Endurance Sports kit I had finished up at Montrose and Brandon asked me “So, are you finally going to get rid of that CES jersey?” Later that evening the Kelly and Michelle dynamic duo got me to commit to joining the team for 2016.
We all know how great this team is, and it’s so fun to read how everyone got involved and the individual benefits we’ve all had from being a part of it. I suppose that for me I’m most thankful for the inviting and super supportive environment to learn how to ride a bike over the years. These days I’m very focused on that other sport, and do not train with people often as a result. So anytime I can be out on a Monkey ride it’s a very special thing for me!