Trek Women
October 16, 2008

On the Other Side of the Bike

Img_3349_2 Whew - I made it.  Last Saturday was my first big event for Bucks County Bicycle Company - the Trek WSD Breast Cancer Awareness Ride.  It is a completely different experience to be on the other side of the bike and be the event planner.  I spent two weeks stressing over the creation of safe, enjoyable and scenic routes that would be welcoming to all abilities of riders.  I hoped that I had ordered enough food and drinks and that  while I felt unsure and disorganized in my mind, it would appear flawless and well planned to those attending. 

It went even better than I expected.  We had over 45 riders (a huge increase from our 12 last year) of all abilities and everyone seemed to have a great time.  We had the exact right amount of food and a beautiful sunny, cloudless day.

Our pre-registration numbers only had 4 riders for the 10 mile ride, so I decided it would just be easiest if I led the ten miler and focused all my ride leaders/assistants on the 25 mile ride.  Well, when registration was said and done I ended up with a dozen riders.  I felt a bit like a summer camp counselor or perhaps pre-school field trip chaperone in that I kept counting all my riders to make sure I hadn't lost anyone at turns or left them behind.  It's definitely hard work to be the leader and find the right ride speed and ability to signal turns, making sure others follow.

We had a few great stories come out of the day - One rider had just bought her bike this summer and six miles was the longest she had ever ridden at once.  She successfully completed the 10 miles, easily I might add, and quizzed me afterward on clipless pedals - I think she's hooked.  We had one woman who had just finished chemo in July and the ride was her second one of the year.  And lastly, my favorite story of the day. . . Prior to the ride start I had one gentleman in cotton T-shirt and shorts quiz me quite emphatically about the one hill that I had mentioned was on the 25 mile ride (when you ride down to the river, you have to come back up somehow).  He said he had only been riding two months and how steep, how long etc. . .was the hill.  He then asked what would happen if he went part way and didn't/couldn't do any more.  I was momentarily startled because I hadn't considered that as a possibility.  I told him that a ride leader would call the store and I would come pick him and his bike up if that were the case.  I felt a fine line right then - here was someone I had just met and I didn't want to tell him that perhaps he should just come on the 10 mile ride and not attempt the 25.  I didn't want to speculate on what he could or couldn't do - it just didn't feel like my place.

Well, he made it back - beaming.  He then told me that he hadn't heard me separate the groups into the two rides and he ended up on the 25 mile ride when he really did intend to be on the 10 mile.  He made it the whole 25 miles, hill and all and was thanking one of our ride leaders profusely for encouraging him the whole way.  I am pretty sure that I will see him at this event again next year!

It was a great day and it was great to meet and talk with so many riders.  Our store raised over $625 for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and everyone enjoyed the ride.  It's good to be on the other side now and looking ahead to the next event.  I learned a lot and have a ton of respect for event/race directors.  I think I'm going to aim for 75+ riders next year. . .

-Jen

PS.  Many thanks to my fellow Trek chic Laura, who endured many issues in coming from Washington DC to support the event.  I was so glad to have your support!

PPS.  Many thanks go out to all the employees at the store, many of whom I met just that morning, who helped get everything ready.

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