Date #5: A Coffee Toodle:

My short list of date ideas for myself included a solo bike ride. Cycling has been a passion of mine for about 18 years now. I primarily ride on the road, but cheat on my road bike with my mountain bike every now and then. I’ve done some racing, centuries (100+ mile rides) and a variety of other fun cycling events over the years. Many, if not most, of my close friends are a part of the cycling community, or are related to someone I know from cycling. I know, this doesn’t seem like much of a stretch or challenge, but it was important for me in several ways.

This solo ride was important to me because I stopped riding by myself when I was in the worst part of my marriage struggles a couple years ago. When I’m out riding on my own, my mind wanders around and is really active because churning out miles on the road allows for a lot of think time. Time to think isn’t normally a bad thing, but can be when experiencing a lot of turmoil. I began to rely on rides with friends and started to branch out into other sports that allowed me to shut off my brain for a little bit. I avoided my bike like the plague if I didn’t have somebody to ride with me.

This is a sad thing because ride buddies move, schedules change, people get busy with their own lives and families, and the bike is left hanging there. I started to feel myself falling out of love with it and I couldn’t let myself lose that relationship too. I decided it was time for some bike love. This sport has brought so much joy, adventure and friendship to my life. It’s important to me, so I need to start putting in the miles again, regardless of whether or not a ride buddy is available.

I rolled out of bed and jumped into my kit (my Lycra cycling attire). The hardest part about getting out for a ride by myself, when I don’t dread think time, is getting my body across the threshold of my garage. I managed to accomplish this, and was on my way to ride in one of most glorious places on Earth, Saguaro National Park.

My favorite sign in the park, broke my pelvis on this hill in 2006: 😂

I LOVE Saguaro National Park. This place is pure Heaven. I almost can’t describe it. It alway glistens in the morning sun like there is a layer of fairy dust all over the entire landscape. It’s on the East side of town, so the sun peeks up over the Rincon Mountains before it washes over the rest of town and it makes everything sparkle. The sunrises are indescribable. Voila, Rincon Sunrise:

The beauty of this place is something I could probably spend a lot of time explaining, but I’ll just say that every season gives it a different delicious flavor. Different parts of the day highlight a variety of unique features only noticeable in that particular light or shadow. It’s full of creatures that sometimes offer surprising interactions. And, no matter how I feel when I enter that park, I feel happy and alive when I leave.

Ride morning in the park, Ocotillos blooming:

Sunset in the park, just fun to show the magic:

This ride was like coming home and making peace with some turmoil that I still had in my heart. I know it sounds cheesy, but it felt like I put some ghosts to rest and was excited to be able to feel free enough of them to enjoy my bike and my favorite place without the burden of heartache.  I took my time and enjoyed every minute of the ride.  It was so perfect, I went back 2 days later for 2 laps. This lead to signing up for an event, which will probably be my Date #6.

I felt a lot of relief and a renewed motivation to get back in the saddle and reconnect with my cycling passion and one of my favorite places.  5 Dates down, 45 to go! Stay tuned for #6, which takes place this weekend!

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