I was a little nervous, the feeling that comes to you whenever you face something new. I had been invited to ride with the Trace Bike Club through a fellow biker. She told me that she would be riding that day also, but training on a different route.
I showed up at Loveless Cafe, where the club meets to begin their routes. I didn’t see my friend anywhere, so I realized I was going to have to maneuver through this one myself. I saw all the bikers gabbing and getting ready, so I tried to pretend to know what I was doing to cover my insecurity. I started making small talk to the bikers around me, learned a few names, and then realized I was going to have to pick a group to ride with. A group seemed way too ambitious, C group…I didn’t want to be at the back! So I chose B group, having no idea how fast they would go.
As we moved out onto the 23 mile loop, I became suddenly attentive to all the hand signals and verbal commands. This group was little talk and much speed. I knew I was in it now, so I just plunged ahead to keep pace. At one brief stop, I realized I actually knew someone in the group. I felt more at ease.
But the next part of the route was the kick, a long ride down Highway 96. I drafted here behind the acquaintance I knew. She pulled me along at a good clip, but I didn’t feel spent. It is the power of drafting. Sometimes I will turn my pedal once for every two times the lead bike does. The windbreak it creates still stuns me. I starkly realized the difference as I took the lead next and created the draft for everyone else.
For me bike riding has been about learning “we.” As opposed to running, which I could do on my own, I don’t like biking by myself. I not only feel safer with others, but the power of the draft is huge bonus.
This is such a good analogy. For so long in my life, all I have honestly known is “I.” I tell Heidi that I am a recovering narcissist. She helps me by pointing out when I use “I” or “we” in my conversations. It’s not just a grammatical switch. It’s a heart switch. I am slowly learning connection after all these years.
I am finally learning “we.”