Riding with CF since August 2012
Strava: Jen's Strava Profile
Quick Facts about Jenn
Favorite Riding Memory
Getting a flat at the bottom of Beatty Road and Steve M, Oz, Javier didn’t realize it. They all had to ride back down to provide moral support while I changed my flat in record time. I know because they were timing me!
“I bought new wheels once...in the end I hurt the same” - my Dad
Jenn’s Riding History
I never would have started riding if I didn’t have my mom’s old road bike - a pretty cool hand built Steel Colnago Decor with Shimano Dura-Ace and 600 components from the early 90s (I’ve still got it too). She was an accomplished athlete - she used to hang with my Dad and the rest of the guys in their local bike club back in the 90s (they called her The Razorback). They would time trial, sign themselves up for miserable centuries (like the Death Ride...or any double), and didn’t let a weekend go by without hiring a babysitter for my brothers and I so they could get a solid long ride in. Cycling ended up being the gateway sport for my mom, next thing I know she was doing marathons, ultra marathons, triathlons, and some challenging day hikes such as Half Dome and Mt. Whitney. At the time I thought her running, hiking, and riding was crazy - I never understood the draw to her active lifestyle. Unfortunately, I never took the opportunity to ask my mom why she loved being active; in 2001 my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and she passed away a little over a year later and I inherited her bike.
I have a love-hate relationship with that bike, that is, the relationship started with a lot of hate. Once in a while in high school I would sign up for the bike leg in a biathlon or triathlon thinking that having this cool road bike would make me faster. Within 5 minutes of clipping in I would be regretting my decision as I would find myself mashing uphill on an oversized bike with standard cranks in cleats that were too small; not to mention I was not very fit then. You know that poor high schooler you would give a sympathy applause as they finished their 8th lap on the 2 mile track race, dead last and lapped twice? ...that wasn’t me. I was the student who ran so slow the race officials would lose track of the lap she was on and accidentally set up the 300 meter hurdle race when she still had a lap to go. That was my first taste of suffering on the bicycle... I would only make it up hills without stopping from fear of unclipping and falling over. My experiences at this time reinforced the thought that my parents were crazy for enjoying riding.
Anyhow, when I inherited this bike I was still a freshmen in college; living the college life of little space, little belongings and little money. I always managed to find a place to store this steel torture device under a bed or in a hallway closet - and it’s amazing I didn’t sell it for lack of money! I never would have decided on my own to pump those tires up and take that bike for a spin; that didn’t happen until 2012—10 years after I inherited the bike.
Sometime in 2011 I decided to try running again. Without spectators to watch my slow humiliating pace I found I actually liked it. I immediately decided that I needed to do a marathon; I finished my first and only marathon in December of 2011 and spent the next 5 months running off and on nursing various overuse sports injuries. I missed running and needed something to keep in shape while I healed; that’s when I decided to take my mom’s bike for a spin in May 2012. I lived at the time about a mile from the ARBT near the hatchery; took the bike up to Beals Point. I thought those hills were terrible but for the first time I enjoyed riding. It was that moment I felt like I finally understood why my mom made a big effort to keep an active lifestyle - I felt like I knew who she was a little better after that.
I rode for about a week and decided I was going to sign up for my first century ride, the Lighthouse Century in Morro Bay. This century had a 6 mile long climb in it. I was struggling trying to find enough elevation gain on the ARBT; doing laps up the dam and Beals Point was getting quite boring. I decided to look for a bike club and found Cycle Folsom in August 2012. And they had a Gruppetto ride up “Indian Hill”. So I RSVP’d and showed up.
Riding with Cycle Folsom
Ever since that fateful ride up Indian Hill I have been determined to grow my strength as a cyclist and it’s been a great ride (pun intended) with Cycle Folsom. I’ve been dropped, I’ve been the person having mechanicals all day, I’ve closed that gap, I’ve also created that gap! I’ve laughed, I’ve cried (only inside), I’ve waved, I’ve made angry gestures, I’ve crashed, I have foregone a commitment or two to ride instead, I’ve ridden in all weather (below freezing, above 100, rain, wind, snow, hail...wait...not hail...I draw the line somewhere)....and I’ve always made it home! Every ride I finish, hill I tackle, and wheel I hang on too feels like an accomplishment to me; anything is better than running around a circle on a track dodging hurdles - the only version of “athletic” Jenn my mom knew.
Riding with Cycle Folsom has been (and will continue to be) an amazing experience; I’ve made great friends in this club the past several years and have learned so much from all the people I have ridden with - regardless of their experience or their strength. Great cycling starts here!
[Editor's note: Jennifer has been inspiring to watch grow within the club in terms of strength and skill. One of my favorite things about Jen is her smile and attitude. Her smile is there whether she's hurtin' or kicking your butt. For me, it's usually the latter! I'll took the liberty of editing the photo she submitted for her profile to include a tag line that is pretty appropriate (below). - Stan Schultz]