It is amazing to think that a little over a month ago I was standing on the track at Bill Armstrong Stadium waiting for the race to begin and the clouds to part (sadly the second part never happened). I had the time of my life on the track that day. Isaac was actually mad at me for smiling too big at one point. Having the opportunity to ride in the Little 500, something so unique to Indiana University, is awe-inspiring and thrilling. To race for RideOn and represent the Student Alumni Association was a true honor and to share that with 6 of my best girl friends was so amazingly joyous.
For those of you who were at the race you saw the outpouring of love that we all share as a team. The cinders embedded in our legs, the sweat, the tears and the calories we left on the track unite us all. However, RideOn shares more than that. We are proud to say we built our team from scratch. Over a year ago I brought this idea to the Student Alumni Association. We wanted to create a tradition in the organization of having a competitive cycling squad. But I don’t think any of us imagined what creating a team meant.
There were definitely times when I never thought we would get to the track. I remember one evening in particular completely breaking down in the middle of a solo ride and screaming at two plastic lawn ornaments. Telling them that it would make my life so much easier if they could transform into Danielle and Laura who were out of the state and the country at the time. We ironically took a picture with these deer on another fateful day months later.
But with second semester came new hope. Blake and Nate created a committee who built a huge team of support around us. Then Laura and Danielle came back, Helen stuck with us and Morgan and Kelsey fell into our laps all in a matter of weeks. Laura taught all the girls how to have confidence on the track while our SAA team designed t-shirts, put on events and kept me sane. It seemed like we would finally get to the race. I don’t think I will ever be so relieved as the day we qualified for the race. I remember looking Laura straight in the eyes and saying, “Shit, I didn’t think we were going to do that on the first time.” The two of us finally took a breath.
But through the stress and the uncertainty, a team was born. A group of random girls came together on the track. We learned exchanges, how to push each other and how to instantly make each other’s day. But more importantly we created a tradition. There will always be girls wearing red and black cycling jackets during spring break in Bloomington training to represent SAA. Those girls feel the pain of a hard workout, the joy of racing and the fun of being hit on by multiple guy’s teams since all the other IU females are in Panama City, just as we did.
We can’t fully begin to appreciate what we were a part of and what RideOn will mean to us going forward. I do know one thing is certain; you better bet that I will be wearing my RideOn jacket to many more Little 500s. I am sure I will cry with joy like I did on race day when I watch Claire Bliss ride (no pressure) and hopefully many years from now when I see my own daughter take the track. One thing I know for sure is that I will be a Little 500 alum and a founding member of RideOn forever and there are few things I will ever be more proud of.