Last Friday we held our inaugural Equator group ride from the Larkspur Cafe and it was a hit! Some incredible and tough folks braved the rainy weather and made it out to enjoy coffee and a great loop around some of the best roads in West Marin. We met up in the morning for some pre-ride caffeination and conversation, then hit the road at 9:00 AM for a beautiful loop.
The route led us through the towns to Fairfax, out into the open space towards Olema, past the towering redwoods of Samuel P. Taylor State Park, around the scenic Nicasio reservoir, over to Lucas Valley, and finally wound us back through the towns to Larkspur where we enjoyed more delicious coffee and a pastry or two!
Coffee and cycling are two incredible tools to engage the community and link us together. A group ride is akin to a grand rolling conversation; a beautiful combination of exercise and socialization. This is one aspect of cycling that I love and believe is so powerful. I have met many incredible people, from all backgrounds, all walks of life, and all around the world, through group rides. I’ve had deep conversations, comedic exchanges, and mind-altering epiphanies all while rolling along on two wheels. On our ride last Friday I got to chat with so many interesting people, learn about their lives, their families, their joys, and even their worries. I connected with old friends, new friends, and smiled ear-to-ear through the rain.***Editors note, we have never seen Tayler Wiles not smiling***. On group rides everyone can find common ground, feel apart of something special, and build a great deal of comfort and confidence from their interactions. The energy created by this can be so contagious and the community that forms as a result of this energy is special.
When I first began my cycling career I was struggling to juggle everything at once; training through snowy Utah winters, studying at University, and working two jobs as a waitress and secretary to try and afford the massive amounts of groceries I was suddenly plowing through. I met some incredibly influential people at that point in my career, and one couple who made a big difference in my life at that time was Peter and Becky Madison. Without even knowing a stitch about me they offered to let me live with them in their home in Santa Rosa. Peter and Becky gave me the opportunity to completely focus on training and racing and my dream of being a top professional. Not only did they bring me into their home, they brought me into their family. This act of kindness is something I could never forget and I owe so much of my success as a professional cyclist to them. I hadn’t seen either of them for nearly five years, then last Friday morning just before we rolled out, I heard a familiar voice call my name. I turned to see Becky and Peter’s smiling faces, and being the big softy I am, I inevitably burst into tears.
In life the connections you make with people can be incredibly powerful, and no matter the time or distance spent apart those bonds can last forever. Cycling and coffee are two communities that have brought many wonderful people into my life and been the foundation upon which I’ve built strong, lifelong relationships. These are communities and experiences I want to share and I am excited to announce the date for our second Equator Larkspur group ride and hope to see you all there! Click on the button below, for full details.
Training Tip: When riding in a group make sure to look ahead and not right at the wheel in front of you. This will help anticipation of things ahead and allow you to react naturally to whatever may be up the road. Remember you only need to ride as close to the person in front of you as you feel comfortable with. If you are confidant with being just inches from the back wheel of the rider in front of you great. However, if you want to be a few feet or more back that is also great. Doing what you are comfortable with will make you more relaxed and able to enjoy the ride!
Brew Tip: Read the tasting notes on each type of coffee you try and jot down your own thoughts about each coffee. This will help you develop an idea of what you like in your coffee, similar to wine tasting. For example, I love coffee with floral, bright, and fruity notes, while others like deeper flavors of dark chocolate, molasses, or various spices. Never stop exploring your coffee tastes, try single origins and blends! Be adventurous and have fun with it! While I may be biased, the Tayler Wiles Blend is worth a try!