Family life

You can and should cycle 160KM

Think you can’t ride your bike 100 miles? Think again! Run-at-home mom Jennifer completed her first century ride and dares you to try the same. Here’s why

By Jennifer Pinarski
You can and should cycle 160KM Well into my 100 mile ride and still smiling!

For the last few weeks I was grumpy, my eyes were twitching and frankly I was just plain burnt out in my role as a stay at home mom. I love my children and husband dearly but my life had tipped a little out of balance – with my days 99% focused on them and 1% on me – this 1% is dedicated to personal hygiene.  I desperately needed something that would challenge me and get me out of the house and on my own. I’m not a spa girl so a day being pampered wouldn’t cut it. I needed a day to sweat it out. Signing up to bicycle 100 miles as I admitted to another mom was my cry for help. The furthest distance I’d ridden before that was 70K – so I was going to more than double my time in the saddle and most normal people wouldn’t do that on a whim. I’d reasoned that 70K was kind of like doing 160K but I was seriously terrified.

My ride was picture perfect – all 7 hours of ride time (8.5 when you include our rest stops).  Throughout the ride I kept on top of my nutrition which is key to completing a ride of this distance. There isn’t a chance I lost any weight - eating peanut butter and jam sandwiches, cookies, oranges, apples and energy gels the whole time kept me upright and full of energy and I wasn’t in this to lose weight anyway. The volunteers were amazing and so were the other riders. I paired up with two wonderful cyclists from Oshawa who were gracious enough to adopt me and my slow pace for the ride because riding 160K alone I image would really suck. I credit finishing my ride yesterday to my two new friends – one of them also a mom to a young son and taking on her first 160K.
But back to balance: when my children were born, I swore I wouldn’t be the mom who lived only for her kids. When Isaac was young I continued to train and race for triathlon and half marathons as well as working full time. My first post-partum triathlon was when he was 5 months old and I breastfed on the beach in my wetsuit minutes before the start. Don’t get me wrong, it was hard, but I still committed to carving out time in the day for those things. Sometime in the last year that passion disappeared and without realizing it, I dreading going for a run or ride because I was worried that my kids might need me. Or that laundry wouldn’t get done without me. Or meals wouldn’t get cooked. I stopped being the athlete that I was and turned into the mom that I didn’t want to be – cranky and miserable and out of shape. It took 160K in the saddle to make me realize that I can be both a mom and an athlete. That growing and birthing children doesn’t mean signing my life away to trying to have a perfect house and an arsenal of crafts and organic meals on standby. In fact, it was knowing that my body grew and birthed babies that made me trust it to carry me all of those miles.
I dare you to kick it up a notch and go out of your comfort zone. Sign up for a 100 mile ride too – this is the perfect time of year to do it. Register for a 10K if you’ve never run a step, or a half marathon if you’ve got a 10K under your belt.  In fact, I’m thinking of taking on a marathon in fall – just because I can.

Photo courtesy Richard Oldfield, Oshawa Cycling Club
This article was originally published on Sep 13, 2011

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