This past August I flew to Ohio & got on my first bike since middle school and rode 25 miles with my company as part of Pelotonia – a fundraiser to support cancer research at the Ohio State University James Center. It was rough, but I finished! (in a pathetic 3.5 hours). Proof that you can do anything you put your mind to …or that group think is a real thing.
This was the first “race” I’ve ever actually participated in, and the energy and camaraderie is pretty amazing. Riders scribbled the names of who they were riding for on the backs of their jerseys and bystanders hung out by the roads with signs and blowhorns cheering us on. We biked all across the Ohio landscape – starting at Columbus Commons and biking through residential areas, farms and school districts to end up in Pickerington. Collectively my company’s team, Limited Brands, had over 600 people riding and raised almost 7 million dollars. It felt so incredible to join a sea of pink jerseys at 5am and roll out together (again, group think in action! getting up before 5am on a Saturday… what??) The upside to waking up before 5am is that by the time it’s 9, you’ve done more than you ever have on a Saturday morning! We had the rest of the day free to sip cocktails, complain about muscle soreness and melt in the hotel sauna – so necessary!
As tough as it was for me -seriously, my legs started cramping up after a couple hours and my butt was definitely aching by mile 5, I can’t complain at all. Fellow coworkers and Peloton riders were clocking in 50, 100, or ever 180 mile races (across 2 days). So much respect for these cyclists -not only for completing that whole route, but also for the mental & physical training that made it all possible.
But the highlight for me was just being back in Columbus, Ohio. My parents met over 30 years ago at Ohio State and I was born in Columbus. We left shortly afterwards while I was still a baby so I guess I don’t have real roots over there. It’s always odd to visualize your parents having lives before you were born, but moments like this help bring it more context. Imagining my parents walking around the campus in the 80’s – my mom in her long A-line skirts and my dad with his ‘fro and coke bottle glasses, made me smile.
(And we snuck our way into the empty football stadium – wow, so overwhelming large and eeriely calm. I’ve never been to a Big 10 stadium before… totally get how why NCAAF is HUGE in the Midwest)