I've often been told I'm a bit too competitive for my own good.
And, to be fair, it's probably true. I mean, my budding relationship with my now-husband almost didn't make it through a few particularly heated games of HORSE in college. So yes, when HORSE almost destroys your marriage, you might have a problem.
But in my defense, I get it honestly. (You think these presidential debates have been bad? You've never seen my family play any sort of board game.)
So looking back on it, I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised with how the bike ride with my mom last weekend turned out.
I guess I need to back up, though.
You see, my mom has recently gotten into bike riding, ever since she went on her company bike ride this past summer. And when I said "get into," I mean get all the way into. Fanny packs, bike racks, GPS attachments—she's all in.
So when my mom picked me up from the airport last Saturday, I asked her if she was planning on doing some bike races.
"No, Nicole. Do I look like someone who would do a bike race?!" she said before waving me off dismissively and stepping on the gas to pass the guy to her right. ("Where do you think you're going, Buster?!")
So I asked, "How about a less competitive race? A bike riding league or something."
"Nicole, I'm just doing this for fun! For leisure!" she said. And that was that.
So leisure is what I was expecting when I agreed to go on a ride with her Sunday morning at the NCR Trail in Pennsylvania.
Of course, knowing my mom, I don't know why that's what I had expected. I mean, sure, she said it would be leisurely. But she also said I absolutely needed to wear a helmet to "avoid traumatic brain injury," something that is generally not a risk when you're enjoying some leisure.
She also told me to bring snacks. Which, okay, could've been a good sign. However, the Pilgrims were probably also told to "bring snacks," and look how that one turned out.
Basically what I'm saying is that the signs certainly didn't point toward leisure, particularly coming from someone who has hand-written "extended guidelines" on the rules of our family's game of Clue.
So as you may have guessed, the ride was not leisurely.
By mile one, I had already taken off my jacket. By mile two, I could barely see my mom in the distance. At mile three, my mom (who had stopped and waited for me to catch up) told me that I could "change gears if it was too hard, you know."
At mile four, I realized exactly what I had gotten myself into.
We ended up stopping after eight miles at a cafe, my mom bouncing with endorphins and me slithering around on the ground in exhaustion.
But to be fair, even though I was woefully out of place among the serious, fanny pack-clad neon windbreakers on the bike trail, the ride was still pretty fun.
And as a bonus, it provided some solid DSLR-material. I mean, when you have a new camera, what more can you ask for than autumn leaves and old country buildings?
So I guess the moral of this story is this: Don't go bike riding with someone who has a fanny pack. And if you do, wear a helmet.