Before time gets away from me, I wanted to write my post about the 2013 Venus de Miles bike ride for Greenhouse Scholars. I’ve been struggling with what I wanted to write. Not because I didn’t have a good time. I had a great time! A big shout out to Alyssa for pushing me to ride faster than I normally do. I felt like such a badass keeping up with her since she’s in the middle of training for an upcoming half Ironman.
No, I’m struggling because so many other bloggers did great recaps of the event and mostly I just want to say “ditto”. If you want to read those, I highly recommend you read any of the other ambassador’s posts: Kelly’s, Amanda’s, or Jess’s. Alyssa and Lauren were also ambassadors but they haven’t written recaps yet.
So, instead of writing about the awesome food, the lovely post-ride party, the amazing volunteers or the charity this race so wonderfully supports, I thought I’d just tell you why I think you should ride this race in 2014.
Yes, you. Even if you’ve never ridden your bike more than a few miles.
Venus de Miles has two distances. This year they came out to 28 miles and 65 miles. Now, don’t panic. Those sound like a lot. But that’s because you might be thinking of them in terms of running or walking. Doing 28 or 65 miles while running or walking will take a long time and can be hard on your body. Cycling, though? Not so much. Once you’re out there 28 might seem like not enough and 65 is a doable challenge. Funny comparison – not including aid station stops, it took me the same amount of time to ride 65 miles as it does to run 26.2 miles.
See, Venus de Miles is not a race. It doesn’t matter how fast you go. You can push yourself or you can take it as a leisure ride. Heck, you can do both. Push yourself for part of the route, hang out at an aid station and eat as many Whole Foods two-bite brownies as you can manage, take the next part easy, and then do it again.
And before you know it you’ll be done! Believe it. Even my husband had ridden 20+ miles even though he only typically rides 8 miles round trip once every few weeks. I hadn’t ridden much more than 30 miles in over a year and I managed to ride all 65 at a pretty good clip. Sure, my legs were sore the next day but that just means I got a good workout.
But you’re afraid of riding on the streets, you tell me. Well, riding in Lake County, Illinois not like riding in Cook County. Not at all. Lake County is straight, two lane country roads with some rolling hills. Plus, you’re riding in a group of other cyclists. Power in numbers!! Tree-lined streets, beautiful scenery, the occasional person on horseback. That’s what you’ll be cycling past.
I don’t have a road bike, you say. That’s okay. Really. Not everyone has one. But everyone should probably get some bike shorts. Trust me on this. The least flattering but most useful piece of cycling clothing around.
The purpose of this event is to celebrate an accomplishment. Whether it’s your first long bike ride or your 100th, you get treated like royalty. All the while you’re helping to celebrate and raise money for an even bigger accomplishment: college students who, in most cases, are the first in their families to ever go to college. Greenhouse Scholars provides comprehensive personal and financial support to high-performing, under-resourced college students. And they don’t just provide money. No, they provide emotional, social, and professional support so that these students can graduate college feeling empowered.
And that’s the goal of Venus de Miles. To leave feeling empowered.
So, next year, dust the cobwebs off your bike, put some air in those tires and come on out. I promise you that you won’t regret it.
In the mean time, if you want to help support a Greenhouse Scholar they are still fundraising!
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