Written Oct 2014 by Deborah Peterson Watts
I started riding with two girlfriends back in 2002 on my Raleigh comfort bike, just to get out of the house and lose weight. That bike was so heavy it took two people to load it into the back of the truck, it had seven gears and white wall tires it looked so retro that Leo High School used it for a prop in their play, “The Taming of the Shrew”. I was determined to get into shape and rode that heavy bike 800 miles that first year and dropped 40lbs! It felt so good to be in better shape.
Jump forward to 2008. I decided to try doing a triathlon. I bought a nice Specialized, full carbon bike that has a ba-zillion gears and could get me some speed, because that’s what tri-athletes do, right? Come to find out, I swim like a rock and run like a sissy, but I fell in love with that bike. It was a beauty and it gave me a sense of power.
First two years I rode by myself because I didn’t know about the wonderful bike clubs and cyclists who shared the same passion I have. The third year was the beginning of a whole new wonderful world of riding when I found the 3RVS Bike Club. The first group ride I went on was the April Welcome Ride. Being a novice I had the bright idea to ride my bike the 10 miles to Leo and do the whole Churubusco route. I had a light breakfast and with much enthusiasm, I jumped on the bike and headed to Leo. I got there with a big smile on my face, and away we went through the countryside, the hills, the wind, and the cold.
Needless to say after we left the rest stop in Churubusco I started to BONK! I did everything wrong: didn’t dress properly, didn’t eat properly, and didn’t realize the cold and wind could be such a brick wall. I limped back to Leo with a guy from Canada who was sympathetic to my plight and made sure I wasn’t alone. Then I had to face the 10 mile ride back home! What’s funny is now I ride from my house to Churubusco just for fun! I bonked quite a bit that year and I still do, but riding with people who know how to prepare for a long ride, and who are so supportive has been such a blessing.
This year was special because I turned 60 in August. I think the goals I set were to prove to myself that I wasn’t old. My first goal was the RAIN Ride, and it was a true “Rain Ride”. It rained from mile 64 to mile 94. I loved it! I also accomplished a second goal on that ride by shaving 45 minutes off the time I’d set to do it in.
Next goal was the ODRAM, One Day Ride across Michigan, 145 miles. OMG 100 miles of a 15 to 17 mph headwinds, 13 hours of torture, but I finished it. On to the Hilly Hundred. I only pushed my bike up one hill. Yep, it was Mt. Tabor.
I took on the clubs September Bike Challenge and came in 4th place and was the top female rider on our team for the National Bike Challenge. On October 15th I reached 5002 miles for this year, my goal was 4000, and I’ve put a total of 15,750 miles on my bike.
I have met the most amazing people along the way and have made the best friendships a person could ask for. I set goals I thought were too hard to achieve, and I achieved them. I’ve pushed myself and let myself down, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I look forward to meeting new people and making more friends in the years to come.