About 7 years ago I got my hands on a road bike thanks to a friend who introduced me to this wondrous vessel as the best way to see the world. I had just gotten to Florida to start grad school and riding up and down the coast became my escape, my inspiration and my training grounds to admire what my body was capable of. I’ve always had a bigger body on my bike then the Tour de Francer’s whizzing by, but that didn’t take anything away from my riding experience. I still reach break spots to say hi and I still complete my 30, 40, 60 and more, mile goals.
In 2009 I started training intensely and passionately for the MS 150, a ride to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society that ran from Miami to Key Largo (2 75-miledays) and started with a few laps on the Homestead Speedway (motor racing track!). It was taking place over my birthday and I was ready to conquer some distance and speed goals. 2 weeks before the ride I tore the ligaments in my ankle while playing tennis. The first thing that crossed my mind when I hit the ground on that court holding my ankle was that ride. I was devastated. My incredible friends who were going to come down and cheer me on convinced me to go down and cheer on everyone else. I stood along the starting line leaning on my crutches heartbroken but proud that I knew I could’ve completed that feat. Needless to say, I have unfinished business.
Since then I’ve done a handful of rides but nothing like the behemoth of beauty, Cycle for the Cause. 275 miles over 3 states. The best thing? It’s to help the fight to end AIDS.
There are so many layers to why this ride is important to me. Of course the cause is world changing and being able to ride my bike to help is extraordinary. But the other side of this is that I’ve spent the past few years learning and embracing body acceptance and recognizing the power of visibility. When I tell people that I’m doing this ride, I’m sure they size me up and question my capability because I’m fat. But the truth is that I’ve been riding regularly, and for long distances, for years. My body is big and strong. My body is big and beautiful. I want to ride 275 miles? I will train to do exactly that and my body will be ready, no matter the size. We all have our own journeys, our own goals and our own truths with our bodies. I’m proud to take this ride on and show my body in motion, to add to the spectrum of body shapes and sizes moving through the world. But in my case, you better look quick because I’ll be whizzing by conquering the longest ride of my life…so far.
Please donate to support Viri, fat visibility and all the good work accomplished by Cycle for the Cause!