Rapha’s Braver than the Elements Ride

It is not at all uncommon to wake up to a bluebird sky, dry roads, and chilly/sunny weather in Boulder Valley in mid-winter, but December 20th was not one of those days. I woke up late, flung open the curtains to a dark grey sky and frost creeping out of the corners of the windows. It was just the type of day that would be perfect for leaping back into bed, emerging later for pastries and coffee, and then leaping back in to finish up that book I never seem to dent. I know I’m not alone in saying that. But, we’d made a promise to one another; we had somewhere to be.

The grey sky hadn’t cracked by the time 75 of us women (or was it more?!) met in Central Boulder, for Rapha’s Braver than the Elements Ride, wearing our warmest winter layers, blowing hot air into our mittens, itching and twitching with the little gusts of wind, yet still buzzing with energy and excitement as we recognized one another and rallied for the day. The company and camaraderie instantly made the day perfect for a ride, and as we began rolling, searching for dirt roads that would wind us between the Great Plains and the Front Range the sun came out and it truly became so.

That day I met new friends, saw old friends, and got to know them all better than I had when we set out in the saddle that morning. We barely noticed the chilly temperatures, and all certainly felt that we brought the sunshine that eventually bathed us as we headed for home, 60 miles later. I don’t know if I’ve ever attended a group ride that drew so many women from all over; ladies drove from Denver and even our neighboring midwestern states, to ride in solidarity. To make a statement about riding for the sake of riding. To be braver than any elements sent arbitrarily our way. It was so so so very cool.

As if I wasn’t already, the ride got me thinking about all that 2014 held for me, and all that 2015 will hold. I rode fewer miles this year than I have any year in the past 10, but I think I learned more, packed more, and got more out of the miles I did ride than any year I can remember. To ride that day, as part of a group of women whom are unwilling to accept any excuse, reminded me that –in a year where I’ve felt scattered and full of excuses – I still belong among this crew. And, in the days that followed, it has inspired my thoughts on how I want to be, what I want to do, and where I want to make an impact in 2015.

I’m going to see to it that 2015 is a great year of the bike for me. The day after the ride, I headed out with on roads new to me; it’s not too late to check things off the two-wheeled to do list in 2014! This winter, and into the next trip round the sun, I’m setting riding goals for myself. I’ve got a few adventure rides on the calendar. I’m going to do my best to push the excuses – of work, of travel, of weather – aside to make space for a strong cycling season, or at least for some clarity, space and freedom experienced in the saddle. Racing aside, there are mountains I want to climb, places I want to be, challenges to face and I want my bike to help me get there And, I’m really excited about becoming more involved in my own cycling community; about rallying more women to ride, about sharing the ride with new friends, and about spinning out life here in Boulder and beyond. We nearly always go further than we had ever imagined when we have a partner to go along with.

If you came out to ride with us – wherever you are – on December 20th; thanks for being part of something really big for women on bikes! And, if you’re looking to see more from this great day in the saddle, my friend Matt over at Rapha put this together today. It’s lovely.

Enjoy! And ride on! – xo L