As I rolled out of bed for the umpteenth time that night and saw it was only 3 am, I immediately thought there’s no way I’m riding today.

baby on bike

My first bike ride since last July was in the AM. I was finally ready. It was Saturday morning and the husband was home to hang out with the little guy.

I was meeting a friend for a group ride at a nearby park.

But I was tired. Oh so tired. I’m pretty used to the broken sleep, but this night in particular was pretty rough. But I couldn’t bail on a friend waiting for me.

Good thing she was going otherwise I definitely would’ve backed out. Note to self: be held accountable by someone else.

bike water bottle cages

I dusted off my bike the day before and pumped the tires full of fresh air. The tubes were so flat it took my entire body weight to get enough pressure on the air pump. In the morning I fought through the cobwebs and attached the bike carrier to the car. Phew, I remembered how to get it on by myself. I gathered my shoes, gloves, helmet, snacks, and water bottle, and hoisted my bike on the rack.

All ready to go, I headed back inside to fuel up for my ride. I had no idea how far we were riding, where we were riding, or how many people would show up. Not only was it my first ride in almost exactly a year, it was my first group ride- ever. Yeah, I was a little terrified.

Finally it was time to go. I tossed the baby into bed with the still groggy husband and kissed them both goodbye. Yes, at 6 months I still hate being away from him for a single second.

I pulled up to the park and searched for bikes. I had no idea who I was meeting, but figured a group of bikes in the parking lot would clear it up pretty quickly. I was immediately put at ease when I pulled in and passed group after group of runners, just finishing up their weekend long runs, having started early to beat the oppressive heat. Running through this park was familiar territory. It’d been awhile, but it was still familiar and comforting.

park with bike trail

Finally at the back of the parking lot, I saw the bikes. I was oddly relieved when I saw someone wearing sneakers. That meant they weren’t all elite time trial cycling beasts. {And yes, that person still kicked my butt on the bike. Don’t judge a biker by his shoes.}

I parked off to the side and pulled my bike from the rack, slipped into my shoes, and slid my helmet on my head. Only then did I make eye contact. Yup, it was them.

Relief. They weren’t going to attack me.

bikes (500x375)

We sat and waited for the last minute stragglers. I chatted with a few riders and immediately found another mom who struggled to find time to ride; a teenager riding with his dad; a couple older men who had no interest in keeping up with the speed-demons on the road. I immediately felt at ease as he explained the route they had planned. All paths I had run before and barely any road. I’m still scared of the road.

Just as the group set off for the 24 mile ride, my friend pulled up. Whew. She hopped on her bike and took off. Ahhh, here goes nothing. I still wasn’t sure I’d remember how to clip in. There was no time left to be nervous, I had to get going.

With minimal fumbling, I hopped on, clipped in, and took off.

Long story short- I survived. 15 miles. I could barely keep up and it didn’t matter. I had to turn around a little more than half way since I’d only left one bottle ready for the kiddo. Tackling this training thing will be a little harder with that in mind, but nothing we can’t figure out.