Today turned out to be an awesome day for a bike ride. The morning had scattered showers, but around “go time” the clouds had parted, so we decided to chance it. Sonya had quickly eaten her breakfast, got dressed, and put on her race bib while I was still rummaging around in the closet for my bike shorts and jersey. When I saw her, I knew, rain or shine, we’d have to ride. I fiddled with the bike trailer for about ten minutes before phoning my friend Johan who came and had the girls hitched up in less than thirty seconds. Thank goodness for good friends and good neighbors!
By the time we turned the corner, we were being pelted with rain. I had to lower the plastic shield, but in fifteen seconds, there was a large puddle at the girls’ feet and their pants were wet. But Sonya said, “This is really an adventure!” Which was just one of about a thousand and one touching things that happened today.
Had a valuable French lesson. “Droit” means “go right” but “tout droit” means “go straight.” I got confused at the split between the 25K and the 50K bike ride. When I saw the sign below I silently cursed in English.
But there was nothing I could really do about it except ride on. And you know, for all fifty kilometers of the bike race (and the eight slow kilometers home), the girls were FABULOUS in their double trailer. They said hello to the riders that passed us, pointed out interesting things along the road, shared snacks, and cheered me on. We’d pass crowds of people chanting “Olé! Olé! Olé! Olé!” like we were at the World Cup, and pretty soon the girls were singing that, too. Sonya would shout “You’re doing great, Mom!” and “I think you can go faster! Go faster!”
The second time I passed Notre Dame Cathedral in the Old Port, it was an I-Am-Woman-Hear-Me-Roar moment as I thought to myself, “Wow! I’m actually really doing this! All by myself! Me! Pulling my daughters in a trailer all around the city!”
The last four K? I couldn’t believe the sign had come so fast. I thought to myself, “Well that wasn’t so hard!”
I basically rode into the Olympic Stadium on Cloud TEN. As we crossed the finish line to cheering and cowbells, I could hear Sonya and Leena shouting “Hooray!” I could tell that they were just as excited as me.
As a way to remember today’s epic ride (and as an excuse to take a short break after a strenuous hill when my quads were burning), I handed total strangers my iPhone and asked them to take a picture of us. And they did. That’s why I have so many awesome pictures from today. Thank you total strangers!
The Olympic Park was jam-packed with tents with sponsor merchandise. We immediately scored blue yogurt-covered raisins and chocolate milk. It was no easy feat navigating bike + trailer through the disorderly throng of bikes and cyclists, but we eventually made our way to an area of bouncy castles. That just cemented the awesomeness of the day for the girls. They got to bounce. I stretched out in the grass by the one bouncy castle exit and the fatigue caught up with me. And it dawned on me that I would actually have to bike home.
We went on the ferris wheel― Leena insisted, and to her credit, she patiently waited in a long line for half an hour, determined to have a turn.
And then I biked home. The route was mostly uphill. Which was painful. And I had my front and back gears set at their lowest. When I turned off Sherbrooke and made my way onto Avenue Rachel and caught sight of “our mountain with the cross on it”— I felt pretty emotional. Because I knew at that moment that I would make it home. That I was nearly done. Even though it was still quite a ways away.
A day of many good things. But the best by far came as I stepped out of a relaxing warm shower and Sonya showed me a crayon drawing she’d done.
I’d been on the verge of tears throughout the day, and that was the last drop before the dam overflowed. I feel so grateful for my girls. We bonded through the rain, through the stop at a Port-A-Potty (all three of us crammed into a stall), through the unexpected double-distance detour. They were champions for sitting in that trailer for almost THREE hours without any fussing or arguments. They kept me pedaling for sure. And they brought a smile to other riders with their friendliness. “Hewwo!” Leena would say. “Saluuuuuut!” Sonya would say.
I came away from today’s ride feeling fired up to stay fit and active so that we can keep having these adventures as we all get older. I was also reminded how much I enjoy cycling and look forward to a “family cycling vacation” someday.