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Saturday, January 23, 2021
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I joined Bike4chai in 2016. I feel so proud to be connected to this organization that I wear their gear whenever I bike or run. Bike4chai is the main fundraiser for Chai Lifeline. It is also a brotherhood among those who ride for the children of Chai Lifeline. It’s an instant connection between those few who endure the 180 miles, in two days, ride.

(So what happened on Sunday?)

Sunday was about humility.

For the past two years, I had seen a group of Bike4chai riders near my parent’s house in White Plains.

This summer I finally stopped them and introduced myself.

“Why don’t you join us for a ride?” was their response.

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I figured, I’ve been riding up and down New Jersey for years. Riding the streets of my childhood for a change would be fun. It should be fun…

(Little did you know.)

Little did I know how wrong I could be.

Besides, the leader of this ride is 66 years old. I figured that I could show a little humility and take it easy on him.

We started in New Rochelle with its tree lined streets...

(Were those trees upright or scattered across those streets?)

It was five days after the hurricane that caused the blackouts. The roads were clear, but the hum of generators filled the air. As we headed towards White Plains I noticed that we were moving at 15 mph. According to their Strava, these guys average 16 mph per ride.

(What is Strava?)

Strava is a fitness tracking app. It’s not the only one out there, but for many of us using Garmin devices...

(Wait! What is a Garmin?)

It’s GPS tracking device. It’s a bike computer the size of a matchbook. The company was founded in 1989 by two guys...

(Gary and Min?)

You got it.

Once you hit “save,” the Garmin data is uploaded to the Strava app. I wanted to be sure I was riding with guys I could keep up with, so I looked to see these riders had previously posted their Strava pics on Facebook.

Now, where was I?

(Their Strava bike pace.)

So according to their average pace, I figured that I would be able to keep up with them.

ME- If they cruise at 15 mph and they average 16 mph, there must be some nice down hills to bring up the total average.

MY BRAIN- You know downhills are followed by uphills.

ME- Shut up.

Ten miles into the ride we started to climb a hill in Purchase, New York. That’s when they dropped me.

(They pushed you over?)

No, that means they didn’t slow down for me.

Here I was thinking, I had to be kind to a man 14 years my senior and he was pulling away from me, while going uphill. It was both impressive and humbling.

One of the other riders tried to console me, “You know he is on the Peloton every day.”

Aha!

(Don’t you ride, like five times a week too?)

No, but maybe I should start.

(Yeah, maybe you should...)

I caught up to them in five minutes.

(They didn’t wait for you at the top of the hill?)

Nope.

(Didn’t that make you upset?)

No, it made me work harder.

That’s the point. Ride with people who push you to work harder. That’s how you grow. The hills don’t get easier with work, you just get better at getting to their tops.

(What did you say to the other riders when you finally caught up?)

“You guys wanna go for a 10k run after this?

“NO!” was the unanimous answer.


David Roher is a USAT certified marathon and triathlon coach. He is a multi-Ironman finisher and a veteran special education teacher. He can be reached at [email protected]

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