Pelotonia: Before the Ride

This week we welcome guest blogger Loretta Hoffman (wife of UCT CEO, Joe Hoffman) as she prepares for Pelotonia this weekend…

This Saturday, August 10, Joe and I will be riding in Pelotonia, a bike tour to raise money for the James Cancer Institute here in Columbus.  We are doing the 100 mile route and with stops for food and water, it will take us around eight hours.

 There are two great truths in bicycling long distances.  The first is there is a lot of time to think on a bike.  Sometimes hours and hours.  There’s no music and conversation is difficult.  It’s you, the scenery, and that itty-bitty bit of saggy cotton sock wadded beneath the toes of your right foot. That brings up the second great truth of long distance bike riding.  Clothing-wise, snug is good and flapping and bunching is bad.  Very very bad.

 So when we push off to begin our ride, Joe and I and, I bet, virtually all the other longer distance riders will be wearing those oh-so-unflattering bike shorts. They look like black girdles with padding.  But the padding is strategic and there are no seams or folds where you would not want seams or folds.  Our jerseys, while not quite the engineering marvel of bike shorts, will nicely wick moisture, are form fitting enough to not flap in the wind, and have spiffy pockets out of the way on the back.  And Joe and I will have on our favorite bike socks, smooth and snug and staying in place until we happily peel them off at the end of the day.

 With no clothing problems to “Princess and the Pea” about, we will be able to pay attention to what is important.  Pelotonia’s 7,000 riders will form a kind of rolling town with a cross section of older and younger people, those serious about the bicycling and those who just pulled their Huffys out of the garage last month.  And if it’s like prior years, in that rolling town will be women wearing scarves underneath their helmets, their hair and eyebrows gone from chemo.  There might again be a very slender man in long pants, long sleeves and a turtleneck working his way up a hill, very slowly but very steadily.  There will be lots of handwritten signs pinned to riders’ jerseys in honor of people gone or still fighting.  But, hopefully like prior years, there will also be many, many riders with “Survivor” on their name tags powering up hills.  There is a foundation of remembrance on Pelotonia but also a powerful feeling of camaraderie, hope and joy.  And that is worth noticing and thinking about as the miles go by.

 A sincere thank you to everyone at UCT for their support.  You made a huge difference in our ride.  Please pray for a strong wind out of the south when we are heading north, a strong wind out of the west when we are heading east, temperatures in the low 70‘s and overcast skies.  And really good pie served at the buffet at the end of the ride.  A la mode.

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