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Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Challenge Ride

The comments on the fellow I met on his ride to California reminded me of a personal best story in my repertoire.  Not my story, my daughter Beth’s.  She was born in 65, so would have graduated high school in 83, except she skipped the last year, so she graduated in 82.  (How I seem to calculate time any more.)  This would have been the summer of 83, when she was home briefly from college.  She didn’t come home often, even the semester she wasn’t in school, but there she was, home.

A bike challenge was to be held the following weekend, sponsored by the Y, where she had worked the summer before college.  She said she wanted to do it and I recommended she make some practice rides over the week to get in shape.  She hadn’t been on a bike since the previous summer, when she rode her bike to her Y job every day, a twenty mile round trip.

Come the Saturday, as we loaded the bike in the car, I realized there was precious little evidence of her practice riding the previous week.  I doubted the bike even moved over the course of the week.  I inquired and got the usual “I’ll be fine, Mom.”

I drove her up to the mall parking lot, the starting point for the twenty mile ride.  I remember having one hand on the hatch and one on her bike, staring around.  What was she getting into?  Teen agers and young adults all over the lot, dressed in whatever Speedo’s were in 1983.  Water bottles in holders on the bike frames.  Toe straps on the bike pedals.  I looked at my daughter in blue jeans and a T-shirt, her old ten speed with tires probably not up to pressure.  I felt in my pockets and didn’t even have a quarter to give her for a phone call if she broke down.  “I’ll be fine, Ma. Come back at 3 o’clock to pick me up.”

I circulated among  other parents and learned the course was through Little Mountain and the river gorge area north and west of the city.  That would be one hilly challenge.  I went home and watched the clock for the next three hours, until I could go back to the mall and see what I would see.

Out in the garage I pushed the button to lift the door and was greeted by the sight of Beth, making the turn up the hill into the drive.  She’d finished third in her class and was tired of waiting around for her ride home.

Easy Rider


  1. You must have just about fallen over in shock. She must be quite the athlete.

  2. Have you come across this?

    From the Pyrenees to North west England in aid of pancreatic cancer research....

  3. Don't you love it when these things happen.

  4. Amazing, amazing girl. She'll do great things in this world! She has Attitude!

  5. Great story with a wonderful ending. Goes to show it's not about the gear but about the heart. Any day your child makes you extra proud is worth sharing.

  6. Our children amaze us if we let them.

  7. She came in third without even a practice ride? I am super impressed!