Friday, January 11, 2013

Happy New Year

I had big plans for a 2012 year-in-review blog post, I really did.

I wanted to highlight my cycling accomplishments (the Unity Tour! Discovering new trails! Getting engaged at a lockhouse! My first DNF!) and talk about my plans for 2013. On New Year's Eve day, I was scanning twitter & facebook and noting all the folks tweeting/posting about how they were getting sick. "Suckers!" I thought to myself. I'm going to finish this year illness-free!

I was bringing my bike to a local bike shop for a flat fix when it started to hit me. Just the slightest hint of nausea. Nothing major. I had been hitting the holiday treats kinda hard, so I figured it was just a sugar OD.

I got home and started feeling worse. And worse. 2 hours later, I was down. I missed New Year's Eve, New Year's Day & the following 2 days. I think it was the flu--The Boy was sick as well.

So there went all my grand plans, including a ride on New Year's Day to celebrate. I'm still feeling a little wonky, so I think this will be a shorter post.

I did want to talk about the Hains Point 100 ride (I mentioned this ride a couple posts back: a twitter user, Megan, mentioned that she wanted to ride 100 miles around Hains Point in order to raise funds/awareness for WABA's Women on Bike program). I had planned on riding Kermit and doing the whole 100, but I woke up to find Kermit had a flat (and the reason why I had to go to the bike shop on NYE day). I didn't feel like fixing it, so I decided that I would just ride Betty instead. I probably wouldn't do the entire 100 on her, but I wanted to at least show up and give my support.

I showed up late, but that was fine. There was no "official" start time, and people came & left as the day wore on. I saw some familiar faces when I arrived. There was some pretty cool Bike Arlington swag at the pit stop area & folks brought plenty of treats & snacks. I also saw a bunch of cruisers decked out like Betty at the pit stop, but it didn't appear they were being ridden. I'm not sure who they belonged to, but they were pretty (not as pretty as Betty though).





The day was bright & sunny, if a little cold and windy. Megan was already well into her laps around the point, and I made a deal with myself to do at least 4 laps and see from there.

Riding around Hains Point went a little something like this:

East side: pedal, pedal, pedal, ugh this wind sucks, stop pushing on me wind, pedal, pedal, pedal, when does this end, look a boat, hi ducks, wind and more wind, watch out for that golf ball, look a military base or something, seriously when do I get to the other side I am sick and tired of this I am not doing this again, pedal, pedal, pedal...

West side: weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, this is a lot easier I feel much better now, I am almost flying, look an airplane coming in for a landing, wow thats loud, look out rollerblader, weeeeeeeeeee, why can't it be like this forever, weeeeeeee.....

Repeat.

Hains Point is completely flat, so need to worry about hills. It can get boring riding around in circles all day though.

After about 4 laps, I was feeling warmed up and pretty good so I decided to do 6 laps, making it an even 20 miles....

Then I figured I might as well make it 25 miles since I know someone donated at least that much.

Then I stopped for lunch at the pitstop and ran into Kate Ryan, fellow cyclist & reporter. She was doing a story on the Hains Point 100/Women on Bikes Program. I was so glad to meet her in person, finally. Just as nice as I imagined. Anyway, she did a pretty neat story on the program, and yours truly was part of it: click here to go directly to her video, or click here to read her tumblr post. (I'm towards the end of the video)

Feeling re-energized by lunch, I decided to do at least two more laps, and then I could call it day.

The wind had died down a bit, so 2 laps turned into 4. And then some more familiar faces showed up and I couldn't leave yet, so my "couple of laps" turned into 50 miles for the day. Not bad. I was still feeling good at the end too.

Riding Betty at Hains Point:




I saw all kinds of recreation types at Hains Point. A unicyclist, a tall bike, and in this photo, a kite-boarder (if you squint you can see him in the distance).



Bicycle train of Hains Point 100 riders. The rider in the front is riding a tall bike.




Fellow cyclists and twitterers, Alex and Mary & Ed (on the tandem).




At the end of the ride. I decorated Betty for the holidays.



Megan (the super lady who came up with the idea & organized this whole thing) finished her 100 miles just as I finished my 50.

The Hains Point 100 ride managed to raise quite a chunk of change for the Women on Bikes Program for WABA too. A donor agreed to match funds up to $4,000, and that goal was absolutely crushed. The ride itself raised in the neighborhood of over $2,000 and by the end of the year (a few days later) the program had over $7,000 in donations. Not bad. I really hope that those funds are put to good use.

I will say I was a bit disappointed about the gender disparity for this ride. There were more men than women doing the ride & providing support. Don't get me wrong, support from men is always welcome, but I would have like to have seen more women riding. This was *for* women & to benefit women, but it didn't seem like it generated much interest among women.

So ladies, let me throw this out there: why do you think there were more men than women, or less women than men for this ride? What would it take for *you* to participate in a group ride? Or even just to ride in general? Curious to hear your answers.

Also: my bike offer still stands. I've heard a bit of vague interest, but no one has come forward and asked specifically to borrow the bike yet. I'm not surprised, considering winter is a daunting time to start riding. Just wanted to let you all know the offer stands & the bike is available anytime.

In other news, training for the Unity Tour (and fundraising) is about to kick in to high gear, so expect plenty of posts on that soon. This weekend is supposed to be absolutely gorgeous weather-wise, so I hope you get some ride time in!


(click on pictures to get a better look. I don't know why this stupid app makes them so blurry)

3 comments:

  1. WTG with the ride and raising money! Nice job. I, too, have wondered what it would take to get more women riding. I hear many women say they'd like to but these same women never make the move to actually follow through. In any case, sounds like you had a really nice time.

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  2. Thanks for the write-up. I'm not sure I would have showed up for this particular event (Hains Point 100), but I also don't remember hearing about it (on the blog-o-sphere) until after it happened.

    I enjoy riding with my spouse, and I've done a couple of organized rides (like the Reston Century), but I'm not particularly confident in my ability to ride closely with others, particularly if there were any expectations of pacing/pacelining. So that, coupled with finding group/organized rides that work with my schedule/location, eliminates most group rides, with men or women.

    WABA stats notwithstanding, from my perspective, I'm not seeing the gender disparity in cyclists in the DC area. It could be because there's a relative gender parity in bike bloggers (!) or perhaps because where I see most cyclists (around the Columbia Heights-south-to-downtown area), I think the numbers are pretty equal. And among friends and acquaintances who use cycling primarily for transportation (v. fitness), I'd say again the numbers are about equal.

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  3. I'm WAY late catching up on blog reading, but thought I'd share this. I didn't hear about Megan's ride until the Wednesday evening before it occurred, and it was presented as an "unsupported, unofficial" event which made it sound really iffy.

    On the other hand, I plan to go to the Womens Bike Summit on March 4. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to get there since my bike can't go on Metro until 10, and the event starts at 9...and I don't really want to ride all the way from Reston and then do that at the end of the day to get home. Still cogitating...

    At any rate, that might be the venue in which to ask this question -- why not more women?

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