Allie Peterson, a WAS Instructor, shares about how she came to love cycling and why the WAS Hustle was just what she needed to motivate her to get out on her bike in 2020.
I began working for Wasatch Adaptive Sports three years ago, at the time I still thought biking was a pretty silly sport. After my first winter living in Utah and teaching for WAS, they asked me to stick around for the summer. I knew how to ride a bike, but I doubt I’d ever ridden more than two miles at a time on my mint green beach cruiser growing up in New Jersey. On our first training day we rode ten miles. I called everyone I knew to tell them about my big feat. Unfortunately, they weren’t as impressed as I was with myself. I had no idea that in the next year, I would buy two bikes and set out to ride 500 miles in a month.
WAS taught me how to change a flat, patch a tube, clean a chain, and everything in between. I most definitely had silly questions, but everyone was so happy to bring another person into the sport and had no problem answering my questions. After a crash course in biking, it was time to share my newfound knowledge with our students. On one of my first rides, my tire went flat. Panicking, it was time to test my knowledge so I wouldn’t be completely embarrassed in front of my student and his friend. I said, “No worries, keep riding and I’ll catch up in just a minute.” I did not catch up. Alex and Dave knew the trail far better than myself and continued on the ride, turned around, and finished the ride before I managed to fix the flat. I was mortified, but they got a good laugh and had something to tease me about for a while.
By the end of the summer, I was ready to purchase my own bike. Our founder Peter, helped guide me to the perfect road bike his friend was selling and set up a time for me to give it a test ride. As I rode around the block the previous owner said, “hold on I think I hear something rubbing.” That was me squeezing the breaks so tightly because the tires were so narrow and wobbly I thought I was going to fall over at any second! Fast forward a year and I had purchased a mountain bike and set out to ride 500 miles for the At-Home Hustle.
Participating in the Hustle improved my riding immensely. It is such a unique event because every rider can choose how they want to challenge themselves. It was the motivation to take my riding to the next level and put a checkmark next to some of the difficult rides I was hesitant to try.
I picked out some of the Salt Lake classics: Little Cottonwood, Big Cottonwood, Millcreek, Emigration Canyon, and a 75-mile ride to top it off. I honestly don’t know how I conjured up this month of pain, but it was the motivation I needed to get out there!
I can’t adequately express my gratitude to everyone that sponsored a ride, shared my journey, or agreed to ride with me at 4 am to avoid the heat. Without the support of my friends, family, and Wasatch Adaptive, there is no way I would have completed my goal. By the end of the month, I rode 500.43 miles, with 21,842 feet of elevation gain, 49 hours and 28 minutes on the saddle, 8 different bikes, and with 17 different people. WAS is the one and only reason I have come to love biking. I participate in the hustle because I want to be the person to help someone else enter the sport and hopefully they enjoy it as much as I have come to!