The WooHoos

A few years ago, I walked into my local bike shop and bought a Felt tri bike. The last time I had ridden a bike was when I proudly pedaled three blocks each morning and each afternoon to and from the middle school. The afternoon trip was much more exciting, as it was downhill.  I had a shiny new bike with a fabulous yellow banana seat and pink tassels that hung from the handlebars. I even learned to ride with no hands. I was seriously good.

I am by nature a planner, but I had done zero research about what I needed or how much it would cost. I was there on a whim.  I had been toying with the idea of doing a triathlon. I had already smoked my first marathon at 5:15 and thought I was ready for a new challenge. I bit the bullet that day and stroked a check for a Felt.

The staff at the bike store was incredibly kind to me. I was invited many times to join their riding group and I jumped at the chance. I later learned that I probably should have said no thanks but I am so glad I did not know any better. Not one time did that group of men drop me, even though I was incredibly slow. They took turns pulling me up the hills. It may not sound like much to you, but I was 20 years their senior. I slowed the entire group down! They were so endearing then, and treat me just as kindly, to this day.

The second summer, a group of biker chicks started gathering on Tuesday afternoons to ride. Most of the girls were either wives or girlfriends of the bike shop staff, plus a few random people like me. The men were training for an upcoming century and we decided we could do it, too, at a reasonable pace. So we trained together and became the Woohoos. (…like when the redneck drives by and yells out the truck window, “wooo hoooo”)

There is a strategy in riding 100 miles without dying. We rode very close together in a single file line called a peloton. You see, the same person cannot lead all the time. It requires each person to take a turn in the front. You have to keep a constant speed, keep everyone together, watch for cars, and gravel and DOGS! If one person makes a mistake, we all crash. Therefore, we learned to ride together smartly and we developed trust. It really is a team sport like no other.

I'm 3rd from the right.

I’m 3rd from the right.

Many of these women have moved away now but they will always be near and dear to my heart.


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