Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What if I chickened out?

A few days ago, I started surfing online for organized bike rides around the Puget Sound area where I live and work. My expectation was that I would find a few but that I would have already missed them due to the rainy season upon us up here in the great Pacific Northwest. I was happily mistaken though. I found one in particular that was happening just down the street from me and it took place this past weekend. Without even thinking about it (or considering the weather report) I jumped. I registered myself and Jenny and we were ready to go.

Then I thought about it. I asked a couple friends if they wanted to go with me. They turned me down. I looked at the weather report and it called for rain, rain, and more rain. I don't have rain gear. I was invited to my grandmother's 80th birthday party the same day. I would most definitely be late to arrive. The course description for the 25 mile ride said to expect slight rolling hills. Jenny only has 7 gears and she's not so easy to maneuver up any steep hills and in my neck of the woods, "rolling hills" usually means "minor mountains". All of a sudden, I saw obstacles appear before me to pursue what I was originally excited about doing.

Here they come. Here come the self doubt, negative self talk thoughts again. I have no idea what I'm doing for an organized ride. Never done it before. And no one will go with me. What if I can't make it? What if it rains all over me? Do I really want to be soggy wet and miserable? What if I can't make it up the "rolling hills"? What if something breaks on my bike and I don't know how to fix it? What if I make a complete fool of myself? What if I stick out like a sore thumb because I'm surrounded by a bunch of northwesterners who live a bike life? You know the ones, the people who wear their full bicycle gear with their aerodynamic helmets, matching spandex outfits, and clicky shoes to the grocery store. What if I'm the only non bicycle obsessing freak there and they all point and laugh? What if they're all snooty eastside housewives who have private bicycle trainers and hire nannies so they can ride their bicycles with Mr. Rock Hard Abs?

But....there's the other side of the brain that started calling out the sissy in me. RIDICULOUS! What if I choose to stay home where it's warm and dry and comfortable? How proud am I going to be of myself? What about the money I spent on it? So what if it rains? Hello....I live in SEATTLE. It rains here. Big deal. So what if I do it alone, I'm a big girl. Since when have I ever been worried about being judged before? No need to start now. What if it will be fun? What if it will be one of those tiny little opportunities I've committed myself to take advantage of? What if I allow myself to chicken out?

Guess who won the argument?

Cheerleaders...and I didn't steal any pompoms

See the bell? I got a bell....finally. Love!

Funny. I couldn't go that fast if I was full speed down hill.

My flower. We all got flowers at the rest stop.

Soaking wet from one of the torrential rain showers

Just a flowery house somewhere

Look for the W with the directional indication so as not to get lost

Not sure if he was part of the ride volunteer staff or if he was just a cool guy beating drums under a bridge.

What if I finish the thing?

I ended up with a basket full of flowers because I picked up all the ones that others dropped

Notice the derby helmet, Via Spiga rain trench, and poka dotted rubber boots aka RAIN GEAR. I made do with what I had. I got soaked anyway but it was soooooo worth it.

This ride was by far the most challenging yet. I'd never done 25 miles before. I'd never done an organized ride before. I'd never ridden with traffic before. I'd never ridden by myself before. I'd never ridden in the rain before. I'd never done so many hills before. I'd never been so proud of myself for doing what would have been so easy to avoid before.

I can't even imagine missing the opportunity to feel about myself how I feel after having done this.

What if you face your fears and end up getting everything you ever wanted?


  1. Awesome Salina, well done!

  2. Great post! yay for conquering so many firsts and you looked like a pro doing it - love the bike and basket and since you even have fenders, your bike is made for cycling in the rain! And I like the Nutcase helmet, great color!

    This ride looks awesome, I can't believe there were cheerleaders and crowds cheering you on. We definitely don't have a lot of these type of events around here but hopefully that will all change slowly but surely, as more people are cycling these days.

    Will you be doing any more group rides after this experience?

  3. congrats on doing things you "never" do!! Keep riding... umm and writing!! I threw an award up for you over on my blog.

  4. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! WOOHOO!!! You completely rock it. :D Beautiful!!!

  5. I think this has been my favorite blog post yet. The sheer look of joy on your face in those pics made the entire thing worthwhile I bet. It is easy to give in to negativity and fear, but you will never regret doing something the right way.

  6. Hi, I'm new over from the Hot 100. First off, you look very stylish on your bike! Second, that weather looks what we call tornado weather here in Texas. Third, with what third hand were you taking all those pictures! It is really beautiful up there in your neck of the woods.

    Polar's Mom

  7. Good luck on the Hot 100! it sure looks like you are enjoying your bike riding, even in the rain!

  8. Now I am going backwards in your posts. You look absolutely fabulous on your bike. Definitely go for the Punk Rope thing. And I'm cheering you on as a fellow Hot 100 Challenger. Woo hoo, let's do it!

  9. that is AWESOMEEEE!!! +that photo with the flower in your helmet is super :D
    remember there is no shame in walking the hills, then once you get to them, it is always rewarding once we win the arguement - love this post, rain and all!! YOU GO GIRL!!
    <3 xxo.m

  10. I'm glad that you made it safely - I won't ride on wet pavement anymore after taking a big spill last summer in the rain. Love the photos.

  11. What an uplifting post. It's amazing how our own minds can be our worst enemies. Obviously, you overcame your doubts. Your photos are really great - you should be proud of them. :)


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