28 Days To Go: Femme Fondo, Wild Turkeys and a New Friend


“Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I have hope for the human race.” ~ H.G. Wells

Today was supposed to be a race simulation day in my training schedule, but I asked my coach to make a few changes to the plan so that I could participate in Femme Fondo, a women-only fundraising ride directed by Vida Greer, co-owner of Gran Fondo Cycles. The ride, formerly known as Hope On Wheels benefiting the Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation, took place this morning at 8am in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee, one of the most beautiful parts of the south that I’ve experienced. I love the quote by Vida on the Femme Fondo website:

“Even as a great fundraiser, I can’t find the dollars to cure breast cancer, but if a healthy, active lifestyle decreases a woman’s chance of incurring cancer by 30% – I can make a difference with this bike ride!”

Vida organized an amazing ride today for 300 women cyclists, and on top of that, she is a fellow rescue beagle owner and that makes me like her even more! (Scooter hangs out at the bike shop and he is one precious boy hound.)

The weather forecast for this morning did not look hopeful as of midnight last night, but the predicted rain remained a light drizzle until the last 1.5 miles of the 12-mile course. For those women who participated in the 35 and 65-mile courses, I’m afraid they ran into a drop of crummy weather. When I arrived back at the finish, the rain was coming down and the wind was picking up. My drive on the Natchez Trace Parkway out to the ride looked something like this:

(Disclaimer: Don’t do as I do and take photos while driving.)

(Stop and take it in, instead.)

Even with the less than stellar weather, it was a beautiful ride. (Beautiful and oh, so incredibly hilly.) I’ve only been to the Leiper’s Fork area once, four years ago when I got hired to do a job out at Dark Horse, one of the most amazing recording studios around. I don’t remember falling in love with LF as much as I did today, drizzle or no drizzle. Aside from the rides I used to take on the Mt. Vernon Trail in the Washington, D.C. area, this was one of the most magical places that I’ve ever had the opportunity to enjoy.

(The rain, it does cometh.)

The working horse farms, the silos, the farmhouses, the green hills and the animals all looked like a Grant Wood painting sprung into existence. My biking buddy for the day and I marveled out loud through the entire ride, and she lives in that area. (It was actually less marveling and more me yelling phrases like,” Holy crap, wild turkeys!”) Yes, it was a beautiful ride. My favorite moment involved a small herd of cattle, all of their heads turning slowly in perfect unison observing our huffing and puffing as we pedaled past their pen. I may have been the only person to notice the cows and the subtle bewildered look in their big brown cow eyes. I laughed out loud. No one else did. Oh, well.

(Not the funny cows, but cows nonetheless.)

So about my new biking buddy. I met Peggy today waiting for the ride to start. I think I asked her a newbie-oriented question, or maybe she asked me one, I can’t remember, but Femme Fondo was the first group ride for both of us. I was happy to meet someone there, as I was a little bummed about having no one to chat with. Also, losing my keys within the first ten minutes of being there didn’t help. Luckily, they were sitting right where I left them on the registration table. Jeez. Peggy took some of the pictures for us, but I don’t have as many as I normally would. I stopped along the course for a few photo ops, but had to discontinue my photography efforts when the drizzle intensified. I have big plans to go back out to Leiper’s Fork to ride and take pictures, especially with the leaves about to start turning.

(My new biking buddy.)

(It’s never too soon for silly.)

If you live anywhere in or near Tennessee, in Alabama, Mississippi, or even if you don’t, Vida’s annual Femme Fondo ride is worth the trip.

Happy Biking!

RG

(And, scene.)

(Photo Sources: Peggy Crawford and me.)

(Video Source: www.granfondocycles.com)

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