Maya's dad figured she might enjoy one of our Thursday night rides. So atop a hybrid bike that probably weighed twice as much as the bikes some of us were riding, Maya took her place in our double paceline as we set off from Birchmount Stadium.
Of course, Midland Avenue is probably the "easiest" climb of the night, but Maya wasn't fooling around...
Here she is gamely sticking to the wheel of her dad on Brimley Road. She thought the descent was "pretty cool", but of course on a Hillicious ride, what comes down must go back up! However, she didn't just mash her way back up ('cause once you're at the bottom, there's not much else in the way of choices), she crested the hill and then promptly turned around and dropped back for another go.
I was blown away - she's 11 years old, and knows what awaits her after she finishes the descent, but she's doing it again anyway. That's right - TWO BRIMLEYS! She then went back down a THIRD TIME (although she might "only" have gone done half-way this last time).
Wow, just incredible determination. And smiling the whole time, too.
Anyone who's done a Hillicious ride knows that there's a very special "welcome" for newcomers. It's not something we normally warn them about, because half the fun is seeing the expression on their faces when they realize what's going on (the other half of the fun is watching them overcome the unexpected challenge, something that in all the years I've led this ride not one single person has ever failed to do). However, since we were talking about an 11 year old, I quietly gave a heads up to Maya and her dad about what was coming.
Now, if you haven't done a Hillicious ride, I'm not about to tell you what this surprise is here - you got to come out and find out for yourself. Maya was justifiably nervous about whether she'd be able to overcome the challenge, but she was game to try.
Well, plain and simple, SHE CRUSHED IT.
Yeah, that's right - she's 11 and she did the ride.
Here's Maya cresting the top of her second Brimley climb - even with some heavy traffic at times, she looks calm and collected.
Chapeau, Maya. Chapeau. As for everyone else out there, if Maya -with some hard work and determination - can manage a Hillicious ride (and even have FUN doing it - look at the grin on that kid's face), why aren't you coming out on Thursday nights?
Be like Maya.