My name is Christy Colville-King. In late 2013 my life was forever changed with the passing of my husband of 17 years. I now found myself lonely and not sure which direction to go. I was about 260 lbs miserable and feeling horrible about myself. I first started riding a bike after a trip to Academy with my friend Tracy. We had so much fun that day. That started my journey on a bike and my passion for riding. My first rides started from my house to my job (about a mile away). Going back to my house after work was challenging since there was a small hill to get to my street. Each night after work I would ride as far as I could up this “small hill” getting off the bike to push it the rest of the way to the top. Finally, after 3 weeks it happened. I made it all the way up on the bike without having to get off. I was hooked. Since the weather was turning colder I bought a cheap bike trainer to keep riding inside. I knew nothing about bicycle maintenance and tore up my back tire. My friend Tracy let me use her bike and helped me set up the trainer so I could continue to ride. I used a foam pad on the bike seat to help with the pain because I didn’t know you could buy cycling shorts. The confidence I gained by riding as much as I could through the winter allowed me to push myself even more by not only riding, but also running in the 10k Cancer Challenge in honor of my husband.
In 2016, I was feeling better about how I saw myself and wanted to invest in a better bicycle. I bought a hybrid and set my sites on doing the fall Square 2 Square ride. 30 miles seemed so far. To my surprise, I made it without really knowing I went 30 miles. This is what inspired me to go farther and farther on my bicycle. At the next Square 2 Square ride I rode with the Glenn family and was introduced to road bicycles. Soon the Glenn family had a used road bike for sale and I jumped at the chance to see the difference. Randy Glenn told me to take the bike to The Bike Route to get a fit on the bike. I did not think there was a difference on the mechanics of your pedal stroke. There are a million things to learn when you first get started. Tracy and I were training for the 2017 fall Square to Square. She was on a borrowed bike and I was riding around on a new used road bike. After a successful fall Square 2 Square ride we then decided we wanted to challenge ourselves and try a 100 mile ride, but we needed to get better bikes.
I went back to The Bike Route in February of 2018 where Tracy purchased a used bicycle and I bought my first new bike. While I was getting my bike fit, I met someone who in time would change my view of cycling forever. The woman I met was Finn Taylor. She mentioned that the following week she was hosting a women’s meet and greet to discuss ladies cycling in the area. I have a hard time putting myself in a position where I have to socialize with people who I do not know. I put my big girl panties on an went to the ladies night with my friend Tracy. Finn talked about racing and trying to get more women into the rides. She also told us about a Ladies riding class called Monday Night Spins With Finn. I started on a cold Monday in March. It turned out to just be me and Finn, but I enjoyed the ride and wanted to soak up more information about riding. A couple Monday’s in and more people started showing up. To my surprise these ladies had the same questions and issues I had. I became more comfortable around them and learned more about biking. Finn was always passionate about her races and willing to answer any questions. I got the racing bug. My racing started as almost a mistake on my part. I heard from Finn about the Avoca Road Race Series. I thought this was going to be a practice ride/race and mistakenly thought it was a social ride. It was, but it was also a race. I had no idea what I was getting myself in to. Finn said, “you can do it just stay to the far right if people start passing you.” I was out matched and out of my league but this one race was so exhilarating. There is nothing like hearing a group of riders riding as one pass you. Yes, I was lapped a couple of times but I felt amazing. This was something I probably wouldn’t have done if I knew what the ride really was. Again, I was hooked and I wanted to prove myself more. Go longer distances. The next ride I went to was True Grit. I rode the metric century which is 62 miles and the longest I had ridden yet. Hearing the riders huff and puff as they passed by was truly an experience. I began to realize that all of us had something in common. We all love to pedal and we love riding our bikes, riding our own rides and suffering together. Strangers were becoming friends. Because of this race, my view of myself changed. I had proven to myself that I could do the impossible. My confidence level had gone from being battered since my husband’s death to having the confidence to speak and ride with people I didn’t know.
Later in the season, I saw another event on Facebook. An event Finn had shared with our group. This looked like another way to challenge myself. I decided to go big or go home. I signed up to race in the Springdale Natural State Crit. On the day of the race, I couldn’t believe what I had signed myself up for. I thought, “I must be crazy.” Finn helped me get my number on since my hands were shaking so bad. I lined up with nerves rattling and my heart beating so hard it felt like it was in my throat. I was in a group of experienced riders that all were excepting of a novice rider. Then it happened! Ready. Set. Go. And off they went with me bringing up the back. I rode and rode and rode. Stride after stride. I rode as fast as I have ever ridden. Yes, I was lapped again. Luckily the officials of the race allowed me to finish the race, for which I was so grateful. The picture of me that was taken by a friend after the race says it all. The picture showed I was a winner in my book. I finished the race, and nothing feels better then that sense of accomplishment. I showed up and got lapped, but just 4 months prior I was asking questions about gears and learning bike signals.
The next goal I set was to complete The Big Dam Bridge, a bucket list event for Tracy and I. Due to a shoulder surgery Tracy wasn’t able to do the ride. But another Spins With Finn friend Melisa road with me. She rode the metric century and I braved the 100 miler. I never ever would dream I would ever be able to ride 100 miles on my bike all in one ride. I did have to make several stops. During one of the stops I saw that I had a broken spoke. I was already 67 miles into the ride and I was not about to stop. Cautiously, I finished. I completed a 100 mile ride. With a sore bum and back I finished one of the biggest challenges in my life.
So why is cycling so important you ask? Because I overcame my social insecurities, met new people, and pushed my comfort level to the limits. My new goals are to keep riding, pushing myself to hang with the girls in races. I also learned that in less than a year you can change your life and become more than you ever thought you could. I may always be the big girl in my mind. But you better believe when I am on my bicycle I feel unbeatable. Keep cycling friends.