When you decide to commit to a four-season ride series, it becomes obvious pretty quickly that one of those seasons is going to be less than ideal for a bike ride. And by that, I mean it’s probably going to suck. We knew our Summer Ride would be our tough one, so when we got such a great turnout of awesome riders, new and experienced, we were pumped.
The morning of a big ride is always a fun time, meeting new people and catching up with old friends, anticipating the day. It’s easy to just hang out all day in the parking lot, but we were staring at triple-digit temps and for some, this was a really big ride. We needed to get rolling.
We chose a route that headed up Shea on its way out of Fountain Hills. While the whole course was not super climby, that first climb comes early and the gang comfortably split into a few groups. These rides are just that….rides. They’re intended to be social and each group seemed to be having a fun day on the bike, judging from my view from the Saggin’ Wagon. Marty, Rob and Pete were up the road at the aid stations, so I was free to leapfrog the groups and make multiple stops out on course. Frankly, I’m not a support expert as I’m more accustomed to participating in rides and races. But I quickly got into the swing of things and even worked on my Roadside Dance Moves, and I think they were .
The last group on the road contained two riders. One had already earned my respect as a rider. The other would do so by the end of the day. Barb is one of our friends who helps out with the Ride Series. She’s also a former National Champion and a genuinely great person. She was riding with Jeni, who is a new rider who recently bought a road bike from MMC. She had set a goal to finish this ride and had been working up to it with her husband, Nick, who was also helping support the ride. Her longest ride to date had been 20 miles.
I learned that while talking to Nick at Aid 2 in Rio Verde, as the temps started to really soar. I grew concerned, but knew Barb was with her and she couldn’t be in better company. When they got to Aid 2, I knew the hardest part was ahead of Jeni. The sun was sky-high and she had to conquer a series of death rollers, bookended by two good little climbs that I knew would not feel little at all. I stuck close, but I was so impressed with her determination. If you’ve ever done something that was 2.5 times harder than anything you’ve ever done in a particular sport, you know the grit it takes to make that jump.
As the roadside stops got longer, Barb sent me up the road to MMC. She knew Jeni could finish. As I drove ahead, I reflected on Jeni’s inspired ride and how it was the perfect example of why we at MMC do what we do. I hope all of the ladies who came out to our Summer Ride had a great time. Thank you and we hope to see you in November for our Fall Ride!