The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Today I met Martha on my D ride (that's the slowest category, average speed from 9-11 mph, usually between 20 and 30 miles). She is not new to the club, I think she joined last year. She is an older woman (that means older than me), a little plump, with a wonderful European (Dutch) accent. She arrived at the Millwood A&P this morning with her son's mountain bike (because its a little better than her mountain bike), with no biking clothes or gear other than a helmet. As soon as we rolled out, she realized both her tires were flat. I had a floor pump in my car, so we pumped up her tires and they were fine for the entire ride. She was very slow, but she made it up every hill without walking. She would wave to us as soon as she came into view. She arrived at the top of every hill with a big smile, saying, "here I am! I'm a little slow on the hills, ok, off we go!" She never whined, or complained. She was having the best time and her spirit was contagious. Even though we had to wait for her, most of the other riders were happy to have her with us.

When we were done with the ride, we had a snack at the cafe and she told me this story.
Last year, not really understanding what the different levels meant, she showed up for an A ride (A rides average 17-20 mph, over challenging terrain for 40-50 miles). Nobody said a word to her or asked her a question or suggested that maybe she wasn't up for an A ride. They signed her in, gave her a cue sheet and dropped her in the first quarter mile. She never saw any of them again. But she really wanted to ride and she didn't mind being alone. She had the cue sheet so she FINISHED THE ENTIRE RIDE BY HERSELF. Growing up in the Netherlands, I think she can probably ride that mountain bike all day long.

This could have been a disaster, but this story has a happy ending. She is still showing up for rides, and she is still having the best time. She's my hero! I wish more people could have a little bit of Martha inside them!

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