Seriously, folks. When was the last time that you had an entire high school cheer squad waving their pompoms and yelling “L-E-T-S-G-O, let’s go, let’s go!” as you pass by?
Maybe never, if you were a band and drama nerd like myself.
You should all be totally jealous, though, because I got cheered on last Sunday. And not by only one cheer squad—no. I was cheered on by something like 4 or 5 different high school cheer squads, all because I rode with Cycle the WAVE.
I mean, I am pretty rad like that.
Mom joined me for some WAVE cycling action, along with one of her fellow teachers, Kristina, and my friend Robin. Now, this story is really about how awesome my mom is. (For the record, both my parents are awesome. But this story is about my mom. Dad and Rob were out shoe shopping while we were on the ride–you know, like guys do.)
But, back to mom.
Ever since our drizzly Mercer Island Ride, she’s been hunting down places to ride out by her house. That’s not an easy feat, given that my parents’ farm is surrounded by sketchy, shoulderless country roads where drivers flaunt the 50mph speed limit.
A cyclist’s main enemy out there, however, are the mangy half-wild dogs that some of our neighbors “keep.” They spend their days tearing after car traffic, and their natural view of cyclists is “Hey—easy prey!” As kids, whenever we’d ride our bikes out there, mom would ride with heavy rocks in one hand to pelt at them when they’d come snapping after us.
All that to say that if mom wants to ride her bike, she loads it on her car and drives somewhere where it’s not a nightmare to ride. That amounts to a 30 minute drive or more, but if you know my mom, you know that nothing so trivial has ever held her back.
She’s caught a fever, and she’s going to damn well ride her bike.
So on Sunday, we assembled in the Issaquah High School parking lot with a huge mob of other women on bikes, and set out on the 25-mile course.
The going was pretty slow at first, while hundreds of women at varying skill levels made their way out onto the course. I took it easy, chatting with Robin while Mom and Kristina chatted ahead of us. Eventually the crowd began to thin as the faster riders eased toward the front and the slower riders fell behind. Our pace picked up, but Robin and I kept up a steady conversation until I looked up and my mother was gone.
Long gone, up ahead.
Not content to be one of the pack, she and Kristina were a half-mile ahead of us, burning past slower riders like nobody’s business. Apparently I was not in for an easy ride.
The ride itself was incredibly fun. Besides the cheer squads posted up along the route, we were treated to a posh rest stop, traffic-directing husbands with cowbells, and firefighters handing out Hot Tamale candies. The 25-mile “Girly Girl” route was gorgeous, with lovely wide roads, smooth hill climbs and fun descents.
Mom’s riding a Scott with front suspension and some fairly burly tires (to deal with the burly countryside she rides in), so she fell behind a lot on the hills even though she’s in pretty good riding shape. (I’d post a picture of her calves, but I think she’d be embarrassed. But damn, my mom’s got some awesome calves now!) When we got to the rest stop, she confided that she’s thinking about buying a second bike. A road bike, this time, so she can go riding with some of the clubs that go out together in Yakima.
“I want a really nice one,” she said, musing. “And I don’t think I’ll tell your dad how much it cost.”
(Don’t worry, Dad—really nice road bikes run around $300-400 tops. Way, way less than a tractor costs. It’s all good—just check out her awesome calves!)
I tried to snap this shot when a car was going by an the sign said “30.” But trust me, Mom was going way more than 1mph.
If you’ve never done Cycle the WAVE before, you really should check it out next year. They really treat you right, with a yummy lunch, tons of swag, free massages and more. This year, we also had the pleasure to join one of Kelli Refer’s (of Yoga for Bikers) yoga sessions. She’s got a couple pictures on her website. It felt crazy good after the ride!
So, cheers! Here’s to my mom, here’s to Robin and Kristina, and all the other ladies out on their bikes! Thanks to the Cycle the WAVE folks for organizing it, thanks to the student volunteers and the vendors and Kelli and the musicians and the volunteer husbands and the firefighters, and a big big thanks to the cheerleading squads.
You made this theatre and band nerd’s day.