220 Mile Bike Ride

July 12 2016
July 12 2016
Lauren Allansmith picture
By

BeWell Blog on My 220 Mile Ride

If you train for it and ask for lots of help, you can do just about anything in life. Think Big. It’s okay to be afraid. Acknowledge it, give it a hug and then let it go.

Joy is in the moment and I found it by savoring every second of the ride.

When Itai and I were picked to be ambassadors for BeWell, Sarah and Jen asked us to write down our goals. They wanted to see how BeWell could support us in our personal and community goals. Of course I had never written down my goals before probably because I had never formally committed to goals before. They would be on paper and I would be committed! In BeWell classes, I’m asked to do a bunch of stuff that I’ve never done before and am afraid to do. But it always seems to work out and I’m better for it, so I did this one too.

Donna Bangert at the Scituate Beautification Commission made the first one easy. Pick up trash. She let me do the second chance bag pick up for Ship Shape Day and BeWell let me set up a table outside their studios and they advertised it. Itai and I gave out bags, picked up trash and it felt good.

Second goal was to ride 100 miles on my bike before June 1st. Background, I had over a year of BeWell fitness and yoga classes and a bike fueling this goal. I had a few months to train up for the distance so what the hay: make it a ride to Provincetown and back for 220 miles. At first I was going to ride 110 miles from Scituate to P-Town, stay the night and then cycle back 110 the next day. After test riding the hills of Long Pond Road and Service Road I allowed myself to modify the return trip and broke the whole ride into three days, just to make sure I could do it. This is an important thing I’ve learned at BeWell: “It’s okay to modify.”

I set out on May 31st at 6:30am and was completely drenched by the dense fog by the time I hit Marshfield. No matter. I ain’t stopping now! The Long Pond hills were next. My strategy is to pedal as fast as I can down hill and use that momentum to get to the top of the next hill, over and over again until they’re done. It was strikingly similar to the fitness classes at BeWell in which you do some really crazy exercise with one foot dangling in the air while you’re doing a burpee on one leg followed by a pike up onto a box jump or something like that. You get completely wiped after 40 seconds but then you get to rest for 10 seconds. Crazy enough, after 10 seconds rest, you’re ready to do that crazy exercise for another 40 seconds. After a year in those classes, I actually look forward to the next bout of burn. The Long Pond hills and all of the hills were exactly like those classes and I was able to get through them no problem. Thanks Sarah and Kim!

The whole ride was about 15 hours in the saddle spread over three days. Fifteen hours of hills, gorgeous roads past cute white capes with flowered landscapes. But 15 hours is 15 hours and regardless of the strength of your quads and cardiovascular, other things start to matter. From yoga I learned not to “sink into my shoulders” but rather engage the whole body, one of those banda things Jen keeps talking about. This spread the pressure over a larger area so no single part of me had to get overly punished. It’s a yoga thing but Sarah stresses it to. “Good form will save you a lot of pain down the road.”

But beyond the bike and sweat, tires on roads, downhills and uphills, the training and preparation, the fear and anxiety of crashing, failing, bonking, the exhilaration of being outside, in the wind, moving and breathing for so long. Beyond all that, I chanted. Yup, I chanted. Me! An ex Wall Street, Type A, MBA and now chanter. When I started at BeWell, I used to chant “Find the Joy” because I really was looking for it. I knew work, I knew money, I knew responsibility but not joy. But when I was on that bike, doing my personal goal of riding to Provincetown and back, my chant changed. I didn’t plan it. It just changed on its own. It came out. I chanted on those beautiful hills and winding roads, when I was covered with sweat and pollen, miles behind me and miles to go, I chanted “savor”. Jen is always saying stuff like “focus on the breath”, “quiet the mind”. When I do that stuff, especially on the bike, I find room to take in all the beauty that’s happening in the moment. Joy is in the moment and I found it by savoring every second of the ride.


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