Thursday, September 23, 2010

Go Team Egan!

On my way to tennis this morning, I passed Sharon and Kim straddling their bikes, looking like they were about to take off for some multi-mile ride. Tomorrow morning they’ll head north for the ride they’ve been training for for the past five months – H2B: Harbor to the Bay Aids Ride from Boston to Provincetown.

I think their little group began during a spin class. Someone suggested taking their training to the next level. At least one in the group was turning fifty. Preparing for an actual ride (a 125 mile ride) gave them a purpose, gave their workouts more meaning. Early on, they suggested I join them.

“I can’t ride 125 miles,” I said.

“It’ll just be like taking a bunch of spin classes all in one day,” Kim said.

But I can’t take a bunch of spin classes all in one day. Most of the time, I can barely get through one.

It felt good to be asked. And for a fleeting moment I thought, Well…maybe I could try it. But I didn’t have a proper bike. And at the time, my own 50th birthday was far enough away that I wasn’t focusing on how to commemorate it.

I never fully embraced that notion: feeling like turning 50 needed to involve some as yet unmastered physical feat. I remember reading that Oprah decided to run a marathon when she turned 50 (or maybe 40) and I remember thinking, Really? You’re one of the richest women in the United States and one of the most influential celebrities in the world, and that’s not good enough? You have to run on top of that?

And I still don’t think that whole outdoor bike-riding thing is for me. Like my tennis preference, I think I’m partial to biking indoors – no bugs, no glare, no cars. But today, when I saw the two of them in their slick and colorful bike shirts and their wraparound shades, I thought, Wow, look how beautiful and sexy and strong.

They show up in their “team” shirts, they collect donations, they do practice runs – 15 miles, 43 miles, more. But mostly they just keep showing up, week after week, regardless of whatever crap life happens to be flinging their way.

And now, off they go tomorrow. Part of me is a little wistful, but mostly I’m just really proud of those four ladies from Vince’s 8AM spin class – Sharon and Kim and Wendy and Liz – and inspired, because by the end of the weekend they will all have accomplished something that six months ago not one of them was sure she could do. I love witnessing people taking little steps to bring about great things. I’m sure their ride will be amazing. But to me, the steps are the thing.

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