Wex on the Road, on a Bike
"You may have to come and pick me up along the side of the road, if I can't do this." --Tim Fulton, Wex media coordinator, at 5:30 AM, Saturday, August 29.
Back in April I traded in my motor vehicular habits for a more economic and environmentally friendly form of transit--a bicycle. Since then, I've really grown to love my bike and value riding it as a part of my routine. When I heard about Pelotonia, the grassroots bike tour to raise funds for Ohio State's James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, it seemed like a great opportunity to challenge my boundaries as a cyclist. I had never ridden more than 15-or-so miles before. With the fine folks at the Wex pledging to support part of my ride (read: donate money), I set out to accomplish my goal: crank out 50 miles on a one-speed bicycle.
I began training independently in June by doing consecutively longer rides each week. The summer proved busier than I'd hoped, and I ended up "falling off the wagon" in mid-July. As you can imagine, I was a bit worried in the days leading up to the tour. All I could do was carb-up and hope for the best. The constant checking in from my coworkers ("Are you nervous," "I could never do that," "If you die on the ride, take off the Wexner Center shirt first") didn't help my nerves.
On the day of the ride, I awoke at 4:30 AM, ate breakfast, and arrived at the starting line. Although I didn't know anyone else riding, there was a great sense of community among the more than 2,200 riders, all there to have a good time for a good cause. The tour began, and my goal was just to pace myself to ensure that I'd complete the 50-mile ride on my one-speed. (Riding uphill was quite comical.) As I pulled in to the 12-mile rest stop, I was feeling pretty good. I wasn't too fatigued, my muscles were holding up, and I was experiencing the beginnings of the adrenaline rush that comes with a long ride. To affirm my optimism, I saw Mayor Coleman pull in about 5 minutes behind me. If I was out pacing the mayor (who completed a mini-triathlon earlier this year) at 12 miles, I knew that everything was going to be just fine.
Three hours, fifty miles, and four Power Bars later, I was on a bus back to Columbus, tired, proud, and looking forward to conquering the 100-mile ride next year.