Girl Power for a Cure
Words by Caryn Capriccioso
Photos by Meredith Clinkinbeard and Caryn Capriccioso
Like many things in life, I joined BikeMS Colorado because of a boy. I rode for the first time in 2011 in celebration of my partner’s 20th event riding and raising funds to find a cure for MS. His dedication motivated me to give it a go, “just this one time.” Little did I know it was the girls I met along the way – and those who’ve joined in since - that kept me coming back for the next six years.
As a newbie road cyclist, I knew I wouldn’t keep up with Rick and planned to celebrate with him at the finish of each day’s 75 mile ride. Not wanting to suffer those miles on my own, I set out to meet cyclists who were more my speed on our team training rides. These girls who came into my life through BikeMS- they are nothing short of incredible. As we rode together, waited for each other’s flats and falls, pushed each other’s limits when feeling strong, and slowed as a group for our bad days, many girls – but five in particular – shared our reasons for riding and in those conversations, built friendships that are about much more than the road.
So, why do we ride? Here’s a glimpse:
We ride for the personal challenge. Three of us were convinced by other women to get on a road bike and push ourselves to new limits. Even though we are all active women, 75-100 mile days in the saddle were new to us and to this day our successes continue to surprise even us.
We ride to be part of something. We ride on Team Left Hand, a local team run through Left Hand Brewing that provides over 150 cyclists with a fun and easy way to combine efforts and make a difference. To date, the team has raised nearly $2M to #CrushMS.
We ride to leverage the support of many – we turn pedals, they write checks, and together we all do what we can.
We ride for many who can't given the severity of their MS
We ride for the strong women in our lives living with and lost to MS. For our sisters and aunts, mothers, grandmothers and friends. We ride for Ginny, Nancy, Betty Jo, and the Ginas for Jeannie, Sara, Christine, Bethany and for so many others
And, we ride because we love to…
Riding for a cause is fun. Whether we’re sharing stories of post-crash SAG wagon adventures or tallying my Rice Krispie intake, dishing fundraising tips, sharing healthy portable recipes, poking fun at our unforgiving spandex or talking about the special events in our lives outside of cycling, rarely a mile goes by without laughter and joy. We take our responsibility to find a cure for MS seriously, but thankfully don’t hold that same high standard for ourselves.
This core girl-power team of Hollybel, Meredith, Sarah Jane, Erin, Jen and the many other incredible women who are part of our cycling circle have helped me turn a one-and-done goal of celebrating Rick’s success into my own personal passion for logging the miles, tackling the hills and, most importantly, finding a cure for MS. I believe it’s possible that in another six years, we’ll have done just that.