30 May 2015

#ThursdayTriumph - Pass Them Like You Love Them

I know - it's not Thursday. I had every intention of getting this post up on Thursday, but life got in the way. But it's important enough to not let it pass me by.

My great friend, Capt'n Linz over at sharpendurance.com has started a Thursday Link Up with two other bloggers called #ThursdayTriumph. The goal of the movement is to post about triumphs in our lives, to spread positivity and love throughout the Interwebs. This is my first dive into the posts, and for something I feel very passionate about.

This week's triumph isn't my own to share. No, I want to share the amazing triumph of my friend Meghan Degan, from theworkingpro.com. Meghan and I used to work together back in my Marietta Big Peach days. I've finally told her this, but Meghan was actually the one who had me thinking one day I could run Boston. In the years since we worked together, Meghan has actually taken her athleticism to the next level - officially becoming a pro triathlete earlier this year. She inspires me quite often in her training posts and seeing what she likes to fuel herself with (burrito anyone?). It's nice to know that even pro athletes are sometimes just like us.

But I digress - what I'm really excited about for Meghan is a movement she started last year when our friend and Big Peach college Andrew Powell was in a life changing accident day before he was to compete in Ironman New Orleans. He and his brother-in-law Frank Guinn were on their last training ride in New Orleans when they were hit by a car, tragically ending Frank's life and leaving Andrew seriously injured. AP, as his friends know him, spent months at Shepherd Spinal Center in Atlanta recovering from his injuries, thinking he may never run, let alone brave the bike again.

In the wake of the accident, Meghan posted a simple thought on her blog, encouraging motorists to "pass them like you love them." At the time, I don't think she really realized that she was beginning a movement, but over the last year, a swell has grown in the Atlanta community that culminated on Thursday in the first "Pass Them Like You Love Them" (#PTLYLT) day, encouraging social media posts and events to help raise awareness about the rules of the road for both motorists and cyclists. Her intention is to raise dialog about who cyclists are, and what the laws are regarding passing cyclists on the road. It was so amazing to see the #PTLYLT logo spread across Facebook on Thursday, even from people I didn't know were connected to Meghan.

As an aspiring Ironman myself, I am always nervous getting on the road to train on my bike. I know these workouts are crucial for my training, and for getting me to that finish line, but I'm always wary of drivers not respecting the 3-foot rule. When I moved to Richmond, I went to a friend's party the first weekend I was there, and met someone who had been hit by a car while on a bike ride earlier that week. It took me almost 8 months to feel comfortable enough to take my bike off the trainer and out on the roads of RVA because of that. Even in Roswell, where Meghan and I both ride a lot, a city with signs promoting it as a Bicycle Friendly City, I still get shouted at as I ride on the road.  Many people - motorists and cyclists alike - don't know what the rules of the road really are. Meghan did a great job in her post outlining safety recommendations for motorists and cyclists, and I highly encourage you to go read it.

These days, I try to hit up the PATH or go over to Stone Mountain to do my rides. One of these days I'm going to knock out some serious miles on the Silver Comet. But I know that I have a bike ride coming up in September that will be primarily on the roads just like last time (more on that Climate Ride change in an upcoming post) - not to mention considering a training ride along the course of my October half Ironman at some point. I need to feel more confident sharing the road with motorists, and my goal is that Meghan's start of #PTLYLT will build and create conversations around the country on the need to be smarter - no matter how many wheels you're riding on.