Love. Ride. Respect.

This past weekend was a bittersweet experience.  Friday brought the world to tears with the horrific event that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.  This made me reconsider heading out for what was going to be a fun, bike riding, care free weekend.  Imagining what the families must have been enduring, I felt such guilt to go have fun, ride bikes and laugh with friends.  Although, the feelings were there, we went on and followed through with our weekend plans.  Being with our family and friends is always important and it was the best thing to do this weekend…..and always.

Saturday, running late as usual, Jack and I drove down to Manayunk to meet up with our buds to ride Wissahickon Park.  Thanks to the turnpike, we have about an hour and forty-five minute drive there, not too bad.  We’ve been there before but never got a good feel for the place and how to possibly map out a ride.  Our wonderful ride leader, Hope, was kind enough to lead with a great pace and show us a map of where we were and how the trail system works.  It’s quite a gem being so close to the city as there is climbing, swoopy single-track and gnarly downhills filled with rocks and roots.  It’s a great place to go for a nice ride on the rails to trails type near the river or head on up to the single-track in the woods.  Seriously, such a fun place to ride at! The weather was in the upper 40’s and sunny, quite the perfect day for mid December.  Everyone rode well and everyone had a fun time which was great! Our post race meal consisted of a pizza joint that kindly served us the greasiest food known to man.  I won’t brag about the unhealthy eating too much as I will mention below about my kit…

Suz killin' it on her new EMD hardtail.
Suz killin’ it on her new EMD hardtail.

Sunday was the day of Bilenky Junkyard Cross.  I have heard about the race, I have watched videos and thought, “hell, I can do that.”  I don’t own a cross bike so, it was me and my EMD.  It only seemed right to have some sort of quirky outfit to wear so, I wore some tight jeans, a cut off plaid shirt and some high ride socks.  I was dressed nothing compared to some others and the less I stood out, the better.  Being more of a reserved girl (yes, I think I’m reserved), the atmosphere was eye-opening to me…fun…but, eye-opening.  Riders and spectators were drinking PBR, cheering, cursing and having the time of their lives.  I will be honest, I stood there, took a sip or two of my friend’s Stoudt and thought I was a bad ass.

I watched the men’s race and after about 2 hours of watching them race, the women were up.  My buddy Karen stood up front, next to Selene Yeager and waved me to line up front too.  “No thanks,” I told her.  This was all about the experience for me so sitting in the back just riding the course was fine enough for me.  The guy counted down and off we went through vans, over cars, through a single-track of car doors and trailers.  The biggest scene was going through the front loader and down the ramp into the boisterous crowd cheering and jeering everyone on.  Although some pictures I’m in, I look petrified, I had a blast! I could not stop smiling the entire 3 laps.  I didn’t win, I have no idea what place I was in but I had fun…mission accomplished!

Singletrack of car doors! Smiles!!
single-track of car doors! Smiles!!
Made it through clean!
Made it through clean!
Down, through and down!
Down, through and down!

Life can be so unexpected with things, sometimes good, sometimes  bad.  It’s important to live and grab hold of any experience that you can get.  I spend way too much energy bitching and moaning about my life and how cruddy I think things are and can be.  I need to realize that my life is great and I have friends and family that love me and who support my choices to race, ride and be excited about running over cars with my bike.  With the tragedy in Connecticut, we will all have a heavy heart for quite some time.  Let’s put our strength and focus on those that we love and those that we can help.  Give back, make a difference and reach out to others in need.

Thank you all. Enjoy your ride.

The wannabe bad ass.
The wannabe bad ass.

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