This past weekend I joined my fellow LUNA Chix San Diego team members for a pre-season girls' retreat and planning session in Temecula, CA. We use retreat time to hammer out many of the details concerning bike rides, clinics, and fundraisers for the Breast Cancer Fund, while also generating buzz and excitement amongst ourselves for the upcoming cycling season. I could have anticipated coming away excited about working with new cyclists and leading rides, but I didn't expect the whole package that I got by the end of the weekend.
While in Temecula, I had a chance to talk to my team members on a personal level, and really open up about the joys and trials surrounding the adoption of my daughter Jane. I haven't really talked about the parts that make me cry with anyone but my mother and hairdresser. Most of the people I regularly have coffee with or mountain bike with are men, so... we just talk about bike parts and old injuries. When I mentioned to a mountain bike buddy that I went away for the weekend with the girls on the LUNA Chix team, went to a vineyard for a wine tasting and came back telling the story of Jane's adoption and crying, he responded with a chuckle, "Oh, so you have real girlfriends now?"
I had to think about that, and admitted that perhaps he had a point, and it made me smile.
I've never been one to have a lot of girlfriends. Honestly, women in groups scare me, so I have tended to avoid them. It was by sheer luck that I joined Team LUNA Chix, and found myself in this squad of strong healthy women with a fire in their heart, a love of adventure, and a desire to give back what had been given to them. Similar to a squad, we didn't know each other before we showed up one day for a ride, we came from all over with different backgrounds, strengths and abilities, and we were there with a common goal in mind: Help get other women outside to play.
This past weekend, I saw these women get up in the morning before coffee and go run in the cold, watched them mixing yogurt and granola with fresh-cut strawberries as a matter of habit for breakfast, heard them chatter about the races they would do this season, and the workouts they planned for themselves. I heard them talk about the setbacks they'd faced, the lack of motivation, and the job/roommate/logistical challenges. As I spent time with them, I found great comfort in their compassion, inspiration in their physical strength, and a renewed sense of connection in their weakness. I hoped that they would feel that desire to shore up my weak areas like I wanted to do with theirs where I could. I came away from the weekend with a lot more than I thought I would.
I think my mountain bike buddy was right: I have a group of girlfriends now, and it's pretty cool.