So much has happened in the three weeks since that crazy/amazing day that I found myself – at last – rolling over, around and through the golden hills of the East Bay with an amazing group of ladies who charge on two wheels, rapping the ascents, bombing the descents, and grinding/crushing/cruising/whizzing through the rest, together, on the Rapha Women’s Prestige. With every day that passes, the day feels more like a dream.
As I bustle around our mobile kitchens here at the Ride on Chicago where we’re cooking for riders as they raise funds and awareness for bicycle advocacy, I miss the simplicity of knowing that all you have to do for the day is hop on and spin, taking each pedal stroke in stride.
It’s really been quite a week out here, and some of our challenges have been tough to swallow as we’ve made our way from Kansas City. Tomorrow, we’ll land in Chicago having learned many lessons, made memories, and cooked a helluva lot of rice along the way. We came to fill what was empty, empty what was full, and help scratch all the itches and – against the odds – that is just what we’ve done. When the going has grown tough, I find myself singing those same hip hop beats that my fellow Strava ladies and I rapped out as we were climbing up the biggest pitches on Mount Diablo, and finding that when I employ this technique of taking my mind off the tough stuff, it all seems to roll right beneath me.
There have been lots of fantastic things that have come of these challenges too. A good friend of mine recently said “it is the unscripted moments, good and bad, that are often the most memorable. They have the power to shift our frame of reference and impact change.” And, I think he’s right. Just like The Prestige, pushing to your perceived limit, and then finding yourself beyond it – creatively, physically, mentally, emotionally – can only lead to the most fabulous expansion, I’m sure. For example, playing with prosciutto this week has made me appreciate bacon all the more, and strawberry shortcake makes me question western medicine because it really seems to cure anything that ails you. So, it was really an honor and a pleasure (and maybe even a therapy,) during this week that challenged me creatively, emotionally, physically and mentally, to write about the Rapha Women’s Prestige for the Rapha blog. I don’t remember the last time I was so tested by a piece of work; maybe it was just writer’s block, or maybe it was the cumulative effect of too little sleep, and too little time to exercise, breathe deeply, and unwind. But digging into those sensations – all that stuff that lives deep down in there – is what the piece, and the Prestige, is all about. And so, it is a project that I was very flattered to have the opportunity to tackle, and a piece that – in the end – I’m over the moon to share. Here it is:
My story accompanies the most lovely video that Rapha compiled on the ride; it’s really beautiful to watch and makes me long for my bike even more than all of these open skies and green fields are that we’re driving through and cooking in. Please do check it out and then, (ladies especially,) get out there and prepare yourselves for the Women’s 100 sneaking up on us this summer. Rally a group of your best ladies to get out there and rap, and ride because the hunger to ride is a real thing. I don’t actually know how I would get amped up, or wind down, from the 11 kinds of smoke that life throws at me without my bicycle.
I also wanted to give a little shout out to my friend, fellow rider and phenomenal photographer – Nick Kova – whom took the shots of The Prestige that you see in this post. (Thanks for catching us in our element, Nick!) You can view his gallery on the day here.
Wherever you are this week, I hope your taking time to BE there with all that you are. Thanks for reading, and enjoying! – xo L