By Ali Knudson
“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.” ~ JFK
I grew up on the Oregon coast and did not have a driver’s license until I finished high school. My mom, in all of her wonderful wisdom, bought me a Schwinn 10 speed and I would commute to my weekend job at a kennel. My passion for the road began simply as I would speed down curvy, back country roads and grin in my dorky way as cars would give me a signal of how fast I was going as they passed.
Fast forward many years; it was mountain biking that turned me into a road cyclist. I was training for a solo 24-hour mountain bike race and started riding more on the road for longer hours in the saddle. The recovery was faster and I wasn’t beating myself up on the trail.
Something clicked in my head. The road became so appealing. I enjoyed chasing after my friends as we would descend the canyons, again with that dorky, big grin on my face. Last year, I decided to challenge myself and start road racing at age 42. It was a hard lesson for someone who had been strong on a mountain bike, but I couldn’t let myself quit. My mountain bike friends teased me, called me “roadie,” and wondered when I would get back on the dirt. On February 23rd, I won my category at the Valley of the Sun Stage Race in Arizona. Big dorky grin.