I Love To Ride My Bike - Elizabeth Beeckman
We’re trying to celebrate the TNL community more by inviting our teammates to tell their story and encourage our supporters to get more involved, pursue their passions, or join us along the journey. Elizabeth is a bright shining light in the TNL community and has a desire to see more of her female athlete friends give bike riding and even competitive events a shot. Thanks for being a part of TNL, Elizabeth.
Here's a fact, jack - I love to ride my bike! It gives me a freedom that I haven't felt since I was a child. I started on the road, but decided to give mountain biking a try almost a year ago. I borrowed a friend's mountain bike, went incredibly slow and had the best time of my life. I rode as much as I could all summer and towards the end of the summer, decided that maybe, possibly, I'd race. I showed up to the race on August 5 in Versailles, IN. I was already pre-registered (because I'm type-A like that), but at least a part of me was still on the fence about whether or not I was really going to give it a whirl. I had some time to kill while I was waiting for my race to start and I was incredibly nervous, so I proceeded to do what any reasonable person would do - wander around aimlessly.
I decided to set my chair up by the finish line since I was handing a bottle up to a racer and thought he was going to come through the finish line twice because he was doing two laps. Turns out I was not correct about that as I sat there waiting for awhile. Two women, who were eating lunch about 50 feet away, must have seen my aimless wanderings and solo chair-sitting and invited me to come hang out with them. I thought it was just the sweetest invitation, so I took them up on it. I found out that both of them were also racing my race. They were also new to mountain biking and they were also both moms. I couldn't believe how nice they were! Even though I was technically their competition, they just didn't see me that way and didn't treat me that way). I couldn't believe how much we had in common.
I spent the next hour getting to know them and then I warmed up and lined up at the start with them. It was a super-fun race, but really, I love to be free in the woods, so the experience is always stellar for me no matter how the race is going. At the podium presentation, there were lots of encouraging words, smiles and promises to race again in a few weeks. Truthfully, I loved the experience of racing, but I loved the connections that I made with the other women racing even more. I got to hang out with those women, make a few more friends before the racing season was over and I'm so glad that I got out of my comfort zone.
The largest potential for personal growth comes from outside the box. Riding a mountain bike? Totally outside the box for me. Racing a mountain bike? Also, outside the box.
Now, I'm encouraging you to get outside your box. Let's set up a group mountain bike ride for the woods or come race. The first race in the DiNO series is on Saturday, May 18 at Winona Lake (Warsaw, IN.) http://www.dinoseries.com/indiana-mountain-bike-series/ I'll meet you there and I'd be delighted to introduce you to a few people - I'll even bring some chocolate chip cookies for after the race. Feel free to send me a DM to make some arrangements or even to just say hi or chat bikes. I can't wait to meet you!