By Yasmeen Schuller
Last winter, I was asked to apply to be an ambassador for the Venus de Miles ride. The ride raises money for a great cause (more on Green House Scholars in a minute) and it sounded like fun so I applied and was accepted. Ambassadors are picked to help raise awareness for the ride, ask for donations, go to events and spreading the word on social media.
Who Benefits from the Ride?
The money raised from the ride fee and the donations raised by the participants go to Green House Scholars. Greenhouse Scholars is "an education organization that works with extraordinary college students from low-income communities and inspires, supports, and drives them to change the trajectory of their careers, their families, and their communities - forever."
If you'd like to read about the scholars that benefit from the fundraising, they are featured on the Green House Scholars website.
Fast forward to the ride on July 25 in Lake Forest. We had a choice of riding 25 or 62 miles. I was impressed with the fast pace of the ride. Of course, the Spider Monkey women who led the ride were going at a pretty fast clip.
The course had some bike path whenever possible to break up the time on the road. There were also a fair amount of hills to climb along the way. It was a beautiful (and hot) day and the ambassadors did a fantastic job of helping riders needing encouragement or looking for the next turn. I really enjoyed meeting the ambassadors - a great group of women cyclists.
There were a generous amount of rest stops so that you didn't have to go more than 20 miles before it was time to refill bottles with water and Nuun, refuel, and cool off. Perfect timing for a hot day in July. The refueling consisted of peaches, bananas, bagels, and Luna bars among other snacks.
Venus de Miles ride organizers did an excellent job with motorcycles and SAG vehicles as well as working with local police to help guide us through the tricky and busy intersections. Overall, they did an excellent job of organizing the ride, making it a perfect day for a metric century.
Usually finishing a ride is a peaceful experience that involves quietly riding to your car, packing up and heading out to find food. This ride is nothing like that. So many women cheered you on as you rode through the finish. Once you parked your bike, you were welcome to have a lovely brunch of breakfast burritos and tacos. They also had beer, wine and cocktails to enjoy under a shaded tent.
When I signed up as an ambassador, I didn't know anyone that was doing the ride. By the end, I had met so many great women and it made the day truly special. I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. From the organizers to the riders to the ambassadors to the sponsors (Bianchi was there too), the ride was a great experience.
To find out how you can contribute to Green House Scholars and information about the ride, visit http://www.venusdemiles.com.