As far as endurance sports go, cycling has always been my favorite. As a kid, I loved riding my bike through the neighborhood and to school or swim team practice. Now, I find riding on the roads exhilarating. Up to a few years ago, I was riding 2-3 times a week, but decided it wasn’t worth putting my safety at risk on the dangerous roads. When I was sidelined from running a few months ago, it only made sense to get on the bike. Because I haven’t been running, I’ve really missed getting outdoors and sweating. Cycling fits the bill.
When I was an avid rider, I loved charity rides – and perhaps my most favorite was Le Tour De Femme. I’ve not participated in this for many years because it conflicts with fall race training. But since I’m sidelined from running, I had the perfect opportunity to participate this year. I’m grateful that my good friend Jen (also a former avid rider) could join me as well.
This is an all-women ride and funds raised for le Tour de Femme are divided between the Rex Healthcare Foundation’s Angel Fund and the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Unfortunately, I didn’t raise much this year because I was a last-minute registrant and many of my friends and family members generously opened up their wallets recently to support me in the Out of the Darkness walk for suicide prevention (a cause that is so near and dear to me).
Le Tour De Femme now starts at Carolina Brewing Company in Holly Springs. I prefer to leave from Apex or Holly Springs to avoid some of the Cary traffic. This was a nice change for this year. Of course, Jen and I arrived early for some hot coffee and Great Harvest Bread (a favorite!!). The event starts by recognizing cancer survivors and top fundraisers before the cyclists take off. There was a 15-mile, 30-mile, and 60-mile option. Jen and I opted for the 30-mile route simply because we haven’t been riding. This ride is so chill. No one is out with anything to prove and everyone is supportive of one another, saying “great job” to everyone out there. This is a great ride for novice to expert riders of all ages and on all kinds of bikes. We even spotted a woman riding a BMX bike!
The route took us out to Olive Chapel, Richardson, Friendship, and Shearon Harris Roads and back to the brewery. The lone rest stop on Friendship road was beautiful and had plenty of snacks. I always stop to refill my water bottles and grab a shot of pickle juice or a quarter of a PB&J. The rest stop is hosted by the Bland family of Bland Landscaping and has been for years. It’s always fantastic! When we wrapped up the ride, we were greeted at the brewery by many folks cheering and ringing cowbells and some young girls gave us pink carnations and congratulated us. Jen and I put our bikes up, grabbed a beer, perused the vendors, and then had lunch which was catered by Urban Turban. Another great ride in the books!
Cycling is a great cross training activity for runners and it’s also an excellent way to maintain cardiovascular fitness when you cannot run. If you’re unsure of how to get started, I’d be happy to chat with you! Or, you can contact your local cycling store and get connected with some women’s rides. Follow Le Tour De Femme on Facebook and you’ll get notifications about their Wednesday evening training rides next summer, conveniently starting from Apex. I plan to be there for more road miles!