I bought my first road bike in 2010. Actually, it was my first bike in almost 10 years. And just like most things I do these days, I wasn't content to use it for short distances.
Well, actually, at first I was. But then I decided to up the stakes a bit. I did two duathlons and knew I wanted to spend more time on two wheels. So I started riding more and more. Then last year when I learned about the inaugural Venus de Miles all women's cycling event I had to sign up. Of course I went for the 61 mile distance, but they also have a 25 mile distance for anyone not quite up to 61 miles. I was also really looking forward to riding somewhere other than the Chicago lakefront path or the Salt Creek Greenway, my two go-tos for cycling.
The ride itself was amazing! Completely supported, both in aid stations and volunteers but also by all the other woman around me. This event is not about being the best cyclist or the fastest. It's about riding your bike through beautiful Lake County, Illinois and enjoying the day. It's about flying down the downhills and taking your time on the uphills. It's about stuffing your face with food at the rest stops and enjoying alcoholic beverages at the finish.
But Venus de Miles is about even more than that. Venus de Miles raises money for the Greenhouse Scholars an "organization dedicated to helping high-performing, under-resourced students reach their full potential. Greenhouse Scholars uses a unique and holistic Whole Person© approach that ensures Scholars have the scholarships to attend college and other resources to help them become community leaders."
I was very fortunate to have parents who were able to send me to any college I chose. But not everyone has that capability.
Although I work at a university that prides itself on being there for first-generation college students and whose mission dovetails nicely with Greenhouse Scholars, I rarely interact with students. Participating in an event that benefits Greenhouse Scholars is a great way for me to give back.
So, ladies, if you have a bike I suggest you register for the Venus de Miles ride on July 28th! There is a small fundraising commitment but it's miniscule compared to what other organizations require and, trust me, you'll get a lot out of the event for sure. I'm thrilled this year to be chose as an ambassador for the second-ever Illinois Venus de Miles ride. I knew I'd go back but now I get to do it AND have the resources to tell you all about it!
Don't have a road bike? No problem! You can ride whatever kind of bike you want. Never ridden that distance before? It's actually easier than you think. I'll be sharing my training with you in future posts so stay tuned!
And maybe this year I'll even get to be the center of the advertising photo instead of off to the left! Maybe if I wear a tutu...