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The Big Sister

When the Swim Bike Family moved to Roswell, I didn’t realize that we would have some of Georgia’s “finest” riding places. (e.g., more hills and climbing and roads than you can shake a stick at.)

Back in July of 2012, I rode the Georgia 400 Metric Century – which was shockingly shocking to my baby cyclist soul.  How are these climbs even possible?

I rode with Yoda, and she and I were shaking in our boots for climbing 5500+ feet in 60 miles.  The worst part of the ride was the fear of the ominous “Sisters” – three climbs towards the end of the route — the worst being the Big Sister in all her scariness.

Here’s a shot of me and Yoda from just this past weekend… 🙂


Awwwww… Throwback!

From the ride in 2012:


The way we were…. July 2012. Pre-Sisters. 🙂

I wrote after the ride in 2012:

“Well, I had never met the Big Sister before.  I ‘square pedaled’ as far as I could, and when my heart exploded, I hopped off the bike. I was just glad that I didn’t roll backwards and hit my head on the Sister concrete.  The heartrate chart does not do it justice.  It was brutal.”

[And for the record, I have not visited any of the Sisters since that day.]

Well, well, well…

Today, Coach Brett had scheduled me some more hill repeats. I was instructed to ride the usual hill routes for a set number of sets (which turned out to be about 50 minutes), and then he wanted me to go to a new place.

In Mountain Park.  First clue that this might suck:   MOUNTAIN park

But I misunderstood his directions, and went down the wrong road.  The climbing wasn’t too bad, so I knew I must have misunderstood. He meant for this to hurt… And I was still standing. SO I must gave gone the wrong way.

…So I went the other way.  Ah this must be it, I thought, as the bike kept going down…. down…. down…. I was laying on the brakes, and realizing, very quickly,

“Holy mother.  I have to go back UP this sh*t!”

Then a cold wave washed over me.  A strange deja vu of sorts.

And I immediately recognized where I was.

The Big Sister!


No no no no no !!!  The first time I tried the Big Sister, I toppled and had to walk the shame up the damn thing.

Today, I had already ridden an hour of hills.  I was tired. And now?   The Big Sister?  Nooooo.

So I did what anyone would do. I got off my bike… and I texted Yoda.  (Wait, you don’t have Yoda’s phone number??? You should.  She is very wise.)

The text went something like this:

Sh*t! Sh*t! Sh*t!  I made a wrong turn and I am now sitting at the base of what is clearly the Big Sister.  

(This was followed by a string of scary face emojis).

[Only later did I realize that I had made a correct turn, and Coach Brett meant for this to happen].

And Yoda, in all her infinite wisdom, responds:

Welp. Take a deep breath, put on a little Eminiem and get to pedalling!  Won’t you be proud when you get to the top?  Go go go!!!

Oh, hell, I thought.  But I did just what she said.  I didn’t put on Eminem on my phone, but I did put him on in my head. 

And up I went.  (This isn’t my video….but I found it on You Tube.)

 Now, I realize that some of you may say:

“Pffffft.  I live in ______ and we climb that kind of stuff all the time.  In fact, I climb that kind of stuff in my sleep… on a tricycle.. wearing a bear suit.”

[Well, good  for you then.]

But I haven’t.  However, now that I know this gem is a mere one mile away from my house I will (NOT) be riding it every day. 

I am proud of today’s one hour and eight minute ride with almost 1,700 feet of elevation.  

It was a hard climb.  A very hard climb.  And while my workout said to do it TWICE, I did no such thing.  Once was good for today.   Maybe next time, twice will suffice.  Coach Brett responded to my workout, “Good job. That hill is all in your head, it isn’t nearly as bad as you think it is. Imagine doing it 10x during a 100 mile ride.”

To which, I had to scratch my head… and think, {gulp}…. No. He’s not going to make me do that… Oh my..

Every day I do something scary and hard–I grow a little more not only in strength and endurance—but in heart.

Reason #12384 to love this sport.


Triathlon just makes a person braver.  (With an Instagram full of sweaty You-Go-Self post-ride selfies. ^^^  No shame in my game. Boom! Clap! Whatever.  Feels good. Try it. 🙂 )  I mean, you can’t help but continuing to expand and grow–even when ya find yourself at the base of the crazy Big Sister ….by-accident-not-by-accident-accident.  

As for life…

As for our house, today, the Little Swim Bike Sister and the Big Swim Bike Brother walked hand-in-hand to the bus stop with me.  


The Life of  a Swim Bike Mom:

  1. Wake up in dark.
  2. Yell twenty times in a row: “Brush your teeth!”
  3. Drop kids at bus stop.
  4. Put on Spandex.
  5. Hope neighbors really aren’t looking out their windows.
  6. Climb Big Sister.
  7. Shower fast, leaving the washing of hair for another day and time.
  8. Work day job.
  9. Struggle to make the rest of the day happen, some way, some how…
  10. Keep it all together in the process.

We’re all out there doing some form of this, right?

Right! Boom!   That’s right.  Now YOU go take a selfie, applaud your awesomeness… and shake your tailfeather!  As for me, I’m going to go and attempt to quit caffeine.  Clearly, a new problem I have developed from the mania of this post.


I couldn’t help but think of the death of Robin Williams during the ride today.  He was a celebrity yes, but also a fellow cyclist and triathlete. [And I bet he would have had a few choice words for the Big Sister, too.]  I really feel the need to pass along this article, which I shared in our Tri-Fecta group earlier today.


Life is so short, so quick.  Hugs to you all.  Thanks for reading.



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