Sunday, August 10, 2014

Just For Fun tour, stage 2

This was the cinnamon bun ride.

We started and ended at Lawrencetown Beach.
Cyclists will note that the flags are straight out. Headwind.

Black dots in the water and on the wave are surfers.

I organized a second Just For Fun ride today in place of the training rides we have been doing. It is August in Nova Scotia and that generally means that everyone is on vacation and has multiple events planned each day - it is how we all get through the rest of the year. So I didn't expect many people to attend today. Several were doing a century ride elsewhere in the province, others were sailing and entertaining families and one was even doing continuing education.

I was right. Only one person showed up in addition to me and George. But what a day we had. Shannon is a student from my indoor classes. She started in the winter with the goal of finding an activity that she could do in spite of some back issues. By spring she had decided to purchase an outdoor bike. Unfortunately she didn't get it home until our weekly rides had increased in difficulty and length. I suggested that she start riding on the trail, gradually increasing distance and time in the saddle until she could do 55 km. At that point she would be able to tag along at the end of the group rides. This summer she attended a handling and rules of the road clinic that I offer to help people make the transition to the road and also learned to repair a flat.

A while ago she wrote to tell me that she had met her 55 km goal so I wasn't surprised to see her this morning. But I was delighted beyond measure by what I saw.

Her form was impeccable. 
Her feel for the bike was obvious. She had never ridden hills so I gave her a quick ninety second talk on cadence and shifting. Her shifting decisions were almost perfect. I had never spoken with her about how to manage a difficult climb but she told me that she was avoiding looking at the top and was riding from point to point. 
She pulled out her own tools when we stopped to make an adjustment to her saddle. I know that sounds normal but, believe me, it isn't. Most people are not self-sufficient. She later told me that she is taking an old bike apart and putting it back together so she can learn how it works. 
She maintained a nice average speed - almost good enough to stick with the slower group on a club ride. Not bad given that it was her first time on the road.

That's all great stuff, but the icing on the cake (bun?) came later. George and l left the parking lot a few minutes after she did. A few kilometres along we saw a car stopped on the shoulder and someone who looked like Shannon bent over near it. We pulled over to see if she needed help. No, she didn't. She had just realized that she had forgotten to do her stretching!

In spite of the small turnout we definitely had fun today. Shannon left with a giant smile on her face and my permission to brag to family and friends. I had the kind of day that is most rewarding to people like me. There is nothing better than the chance to make a difference and work with someone who genuinely wants to improve their skills.


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