A mountain biking addict is inspired to happy tears, and tickled pink
By Sarah Hansing
When my alarm went off, it was still dark outside. Now, those who know me are well aware that I am in no way a morning person. In fact, that is probably an understatement. As such, there was no small amount of grumbling as I rolled out of bed, and into my cycling kit.
I had been asked to be the bike lead out on the runners course for the women running the She.Is.Beautiful event that happened this past weekend, and there was no going back now. After all, it was for a great cause; much of the proceeds from the race went to the local Walnut Avenue Women’s Center.
So, off I pedaled to the event. I must say, the scene I rode into at Lighthouse field was pretty impressive. As I shook off the morning fuzzy head, I took a good look around. It was a sea of pink. Approximately 7,000 ladies had shown up for the 5th annual pinkest 5k and 10k run, and it was no joke. There was, however, plenty of joking. Laughing. Smiling. High fives. Spectators on the side of the course holding up hand made signs: “My Mom is Beautiful!” “My Grandma is an inspiration.! “My Daughter is Amazing!”… And this was just at the starting line.
It would be an honest statement to say that I felt a bit like a pariah being on a bicycle. And I felt a bit intimidated to be in front of that many runners and participants anxiously awaiting the buzzer which would signal the start of the race. It would ALSO be safe to say that I was chanting a mantra of “do NOT slip a pedal. do NOT slip a pedal…”, as I imagined being swallowed up by a sea of runners determined to get out there and meet (or exceed) their goals for the course.
Maybe the goal was winning. Maybe the goal was spending a day with a daughter, and showing her the power of supportive women. Maybe it was to run faster than last year. Or maybe it was to simply finish the race. Regardless of each person’s personal journey, it was incredibly inspiring to see so many amazing women cheering each other on, stoked for themselves and the women around them, as each mile marker passed. I certainly don’t think of myself as the emotional type, but between the inspirational, motivational signs around the route, the legions of little girls (and awesome adults) decked out in pink tutus and sequins, the amazing and supportive spectators, and the beautiful scenery around the course… I may have gotten one or two happy tears. Maybe.
Coasting across the finish line, with the lead 10k runner right behind me, Lighthouse Field had gone from pre-race jitters, to a full on celebration. It truly was a glorious thing to behold; a wonderful energy to take in, and an honor to be a part of. Bikes are wonderful. Part of why I love them is because of the way they bring people together. By far, this was one of the biggest displays of solidarity I have ever seen. I doesn’t matter if we are riding, running or walking — it was an important reminder to stick together, and cheer for one another both on and off of a race course.
It had been had been a good day to be a morning person, after all.
She. Is. Beautiful.
And Everyone there truly was.
Fat Tire Tuesday columnist Sarah Hansing has been slinging wrenches as a pro bike mechanic for 15 years (with the exception of a one year stint working for Trek Bicycles in Wisconsin.) Epicenter Cycling scooped her up as their lead mechanic and the shop’s crew plans to keep her forever. Sarah loves riding singletrack, wrenching on bikes, and hanging out with her friends, family and fur kiddos.