Y Notes

Comraderie is Key

  • Ronda Graff
  • 27-Jul-2018

As you read this, I am among 25,000 people who get me, who get my family as part of the annual bike ride across Iowa.

Every single one of them owns at least one bicycle and, more than likely, owns several bikes. Every single one of them has spent 5 or 6 hours on their bike seat for several days in a row, just this week. And every single one of them has crested a hill, thinking it is the last one for the day, only to discover another hill to descend and then climb.

And we are loving it ...well, most of it.

As we stood in line this week (one of the downsides to so many people descending on a small town), someone asked my group why we do the bike ride year after year.

The initial answer is simple: it’s fun.

My friends and family enjoy riding bikes, seeing the countryside, being outside for hours on end.

But as I thought about it more, I realized that we return to these multi-day bike rides for the same reason that people participate in team sports, that people join service organizations, that people will travel with their entire family: Because they love the comraderie of being with people who are like them, in good times and bad.

On these bike rides, we are with people who also have a passion for bicycling. They are willing to chance a ride in bad weather, knowing that the clouds will part and good weather will return. They are willing to try a route with hills which will make their legs scream in agony, knowing that they will get to feel the wind through their hair as they fly down the next hill.

As people drag themselves through the front door of the YMCA at 5 a.m., they know others are there who feel the same way, whether it’s weary-eyed because of the early hour and oddly giddy because their workout will be tough but will be an accomplishment for the day.

Yes, we exercise to look good, to feel good, to exercise the demons, but we also go through all of the struggles and challenges becaues nothing make you feel close to someone like facing your limits next to them and knowing they are also facing their limits, and between the two of you, you’lll get through it.

There is a camaradrie of suffering, an understanding shared only by those who choose to do what others won’t or can’t. A cararadrie of people who are willing to suffer for the feeling of accomplishing something great. People who will run, bike, swim or lift weights while others sleep, or suffer the heat while others sit in air conditioning, just to know the satisfaction of pushing themselves to do what they don;t want to do.

Whether inside on a spin bike at rYde class or on a road bike somewhere in Iowa, it is that comraderie which gets you through, the comraderie which is key.