Written by Amy Copeland
Although last year was really my first year cycling and riding with 3 Rivers Velo Sport, I consider last year practice and this year my first real riding year since I didn't start riding until mid year and spent December until this April recovering from a non-cycling injury. It has been a year of overcoming fears and conquering many goals. From the start I have considered the 3 W's my enemy on the bike- wind, water, and winter cold. I keep telling myself, "one at a time".
Step- 1 Wind: I was certainly thrown into the wind almost literally this spring with the Ronald McDonald House fundraising ride. But I overcame and took great delight in that really strong tailwind on the return trip. Okay, wind does have one up side just make sure to take it on the first half of the ride.
Step 2- Water: I've been rained on enough times on a motorcycle that I don't really want to ride in it on a bike. But seems our local weathermen aren't real accurate some days. June 28th on the Huntertown elementary ride I got my 1st real taste of riding in the rain. Thankfully it was the latter part of the ride. When you see that dark clouds rolling in, hear the thunder, see the lightning and the remind yourself your ok because you have a carbon frame, and then go oops I forgot about handle bars, pedals and other components you star eyeballing every abandoned building along the road side. Then the heavens open up to a torrential downpour, you wipe the stinging sweat out of your eyes, dig in let out a huge "woohoo" and ride it with joy, because this day I new that I had a bottle waiting for me at Country Heritage Winery and I was just a few miles from it. Ok, I'm still not sold on rain, but it wasn't the only time I got rained on this year and I haven't melted yet.
Step 3- Winter: I do not like the cold and have never biked in temperatures below 40 degrees, until this past weekend. I remember this year’s jersey ride and how miserable I was, but it was over 40. I take comfort over fashion, so dressed like I was heading for the arctic tundra complete with wooly socks, shoe covers, tights, thermal underwear, plenty of Gore-Tex, and a very unconventional fleece helmet cover. I’ve got this. 32 degrees (and windier than the weather man expected) and a wind chill of 27, it wasn't too bad, until I hit the wind head on with an overpass to climb. I thought my lungs were going to explode from the cold. But that little voice told me, "you've got this, you've got 8 other people dealing with the same conditions". After a while I forgot all about the cold, and enjoyed the open road and company of friends. And when it was all said and done, I realized that I had conquered my 3rd W- Winter... and realized that I had even thrown in a little extra W- wind for good measure. Yes, I do believe that I can be a year round rider.
In all fairness, I give most of the credit to the fine group of riders that haven been by my side throughout the year for all the encouragement, advice, and company. The 3 W’s would really suck without all of you along for the ride. And see, I made it all the way through without mentioning hills once…oops, almost.
So if its windy, wintery cold and the water is frozen in flakes, does that count for conquering all 3 at once? Maybe I should start looking for some studded tires?