I've always been quiet and somewhat shy. I had the small group of friends throughout young adulthood (many of them 10, 20 years older than me!). I started riding my bicycle regularly with this group when Phil and I first started dating in 1994. I was so comfortable in this small group. It's hard to have much drama when only 2-3 people are involved! Around 2004, when I graduated from Grad school, I expanded my group, but only a little.
It wasn't until 2006 that I ventured outside of this group. It was at that time that I stumbled upon Team Revolution and Carrie Cash. I can't remember how I found out about the Wednesday night rides, but all it took was one ride and I was hooked. Phil remembers me coming home after that first one and talking a mile a minute. I continued to make it to rides whenever I could but my job was getting in the way. These rides were part of the reason for my job change in December 2006. My new schedule would allow me to make it to any Team Revolution Ride I wanted!
2007 brought a whole new world for me. I started riding with Carrie and Chris again in the spring, while continuing with Mary Kay and the Maplewood crew on Saturdays. On Wednesday nights, I was meeting new ladies each week ~ Ruth and Jamie and Allison and Teresa and Nicole (and many more...). Wow, these girls were STRONG and they loved cycling as much as I did!! I fondly remember several wednesday nights when, after chasing Teresa for 16 miles, I begged her to come back next week so I could do it again.
I was challenging myself physically and emotionally. I was gaining new friends and a new figure (I lost about 35 lbs that year). With Carrie and my Team Revolution Racing 101 class, my confidence was boosted and I started racing at Gateway Cup, Tour De Lafayette in August 2007.
In 2008, I continued to ride and race with Team Revolution. I joined the development team for racing and became more involved with the club, planning happy hours, events and helping out at clinics. I've never been a leader in a formal capacity and was proud of the work I had been doing. In late 2008, early 2009, I joined the Team Revolution board in a more official capacity. I was promoted to President in early 2009.
Over the last two years of racing and running Team Revolution, I have continued to grow and be challenged in new and often exciting ways. I have also found some of the less than delightful challenges working with a large group of women and have had moments when I want to go back to my little group where it was safe. I admit that I am not an angel and I have talked about someone in their absence when I should not have.I have tried to make amends for any wrong doing. I have witnessed how hurtful women can be in relationship to one another and how easily I can get sucked into to the "Drama." As a leader, I have had to hold myself to a higher standard and watch what I say. As a leader, I have fallen victim to some of the gossip (and backstabbing?). As a leader, I have been excluded and had my feelings hurt, but needed to take the high road and only address it as it affects the club I am responsible for. As an individual, it really hurt sometimes.
As an individual, I have made mistakes. I have stumbled into success without much of my own doing. I have created great things and watched as others create great things. I have taken credit and passed credit along. It has been wonderful and exhausting all at the same time. Running the club has been as exhausting as racing my bike. I continue to grow emotionally and physically each day.
My point to all this is to say that I am still, underneath all of my growth, challenges, mistakes, joys and defeats, I am still the same quiet person I was before I ever even knew about Team Revolution. Yet, this quiet girl has been challenged within an inch of my life and has grown exponentially. I have gained more experiences, strength and most of all, friends. As a leader, I have met a lot of really cool people. As an individual, I have made some really cool friends.
The true friends I have gained along the way know my heart and know what I am capable of doing, what I am capable of faking and what I should not ever really attempt. They challenge me in nuturing and supportive ways. They hold me up when other people seem to want to push me under.
As I prepare my transition away from leader at the end of this year, it's easy to look back on the trials and tribulations instead of the success. But I realize that I would not have gotten through thick or thin without picking up these wonderful friends along the way!