Last weekend I was able to tag along with Chris down to South Carolina for some big riding in warmer temperatures. This was a big deal for me in many ways, but mainly the excitement stemmed from being able to remedy the sad winter depression I had fallen into. I was also super pumped for my farthest road trip south, ever, and the chance to check out a new area of riding.
Getting to our destination just south of the North Carolina border a little shy of 1AM, we woke up later in the morning ready to face the rays of sunshine that was promised us by the weatherman. There was no disappointment in the area of meteorology during this trip; 70s and sunny for all 3 days.
The people we visit are always surprised when they find out Chris and I do not ride together every day during these trips. Usually their questioning of this seems to come out of concern for me, since I am a girl new to the area. The concern is understood and appreciated, but I am going to take this chance to say, “Women are tougher and more competent than you think.” Sure, there are times of nervousness when my Garmin gets funky with the GPS routing, but so long as you keep your head there are rarely times when there needs to be more concern for me than there would be for a male counterpart. Every cyclist experiences crazy drivers, bad weather, bad roads, and misdirected routes, regardless of gender. It is important to be smart, as well as cautious when the time is appropriate, but I think pampering someone in sport simply because she is a girl is silly. Women should not be limited in any part of their life because they are seen as the lesser gender.
My first ride took me out towards horse country, though I saw few horses that day. It is always a guessing game when in a new area as to how the roads you choose will turn out. There were about 5 miles of metropolis to ride through before hitting more country-type roads. I had a great 73mile ride, but knew I needed to check the map over again because these horse country roads I was told of had not been experienced. After consulting with Chris and looking over the ride he did, I set out in the complete opposite direction on day 2 of riding. With tan lines established, I went on a search for the palm trees I had been promised I would see. These palm trees turned out to be more elusive than I had hoped. On both the previous day’s ride, and this day’s 54 mile ride, no palm trees graced me with their presence. It wasn’t until we drove down to the up-and-coming town of Rock Hill for dinner that I saw my first palm tree; planted just outside the building we had parked next to.
And of course, as it always goes, guess who saw many, many palm trees on her ride the next day. Yep, on our final day in SC, I saw palm trees multiple times. The whole palm tree thing was very amusing for the entirety of the weekend. The last day of riding was my longest ride of the trip. Chris and I rode together, which worked out because he was able to have an “easier” day, while I was able to work on drafting and keeping a higher speed for longer than I am used to. I always enjoy riding with Chris, and I think he likes riding with me, too. It was a nice way to end our trip, riding together on some of the best roads of the whole weekend.
I think, for both of us, the trip was a great way to get inspired and excited for the upcoming 100mile mountain bike races. I know we both have been planning our hours of riding in the coming weeks nonstop since we got back. With the season warming up and the sun making more appearances, the list of adventures grows longer. And there’s always an exciting adventure to be had, especially when you add a bike to the mix