#ThisIsMyRide with Jil Tomaschko
“This Is My Ride” is a series where we share the most memorable, unique, or challenging rides from our community. Maybe it’s a first century ride, an epic climb, or a regular Sunday ride with friends: we want to hear about that special something which makes this particular ride epic for you – and your Argon 18. Want to share your ride? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet Jil Tomaschko, a passionate cyclist from Cologne, exploring new paths and challenging herself with a 180km solo ride.
As simple as this question is as strong is its driving force to me. For the most times asking myself these two words I find it hard to come up with a reasonable counterargument. Because I’m afraid to fail, because I have to leave my comfort zone, because it’s challenging... Just more reasons to do it.
Cycling 180km for a good reason sounded like a great challenge to participate in. Seemed doable - challenging but doable. I’ve done 130km before, it’s not that much longer, and it’s for a good reason. I wanted to do this.
The excitement and commitment were there. At least till I went for a 56km ride with my boyfriend and lost my power, my motivation and my self-confidence somewhere around km 43. What was happening, I was riding intervals on Zwift for the last weeks, I was on a motivational high waiting for my new bike to arrive, deep down I knew I could make it, but I wasn’t able to bring it on the street. I was frustrated. But still I had this spark in me, this idea of participating, of overcoming my fear and experiencing this I-did-it-feeling. So I asked myself “Why not?“ The usual doubts came up. What if I won’t make it? Maybe it’s just too ambitions. Maybe I’m too weak. But why not give me the chance to get richer by another memorable experience. I started talking about it to friends and colleagues and set up a route.
In my element
The day had come for which I planned my ride. Fueled by the classic pasta dinner and a big bowl of oats I hopped on my Gallium and stared my orbit ride in the middle of Cologne. The first third went as smooth as it could possibly go. It was definitely a good leg day, endorphins were rushing through my body and I enjoyed being in my element. I met my best friend in our home city Düsseldorf where we took some photos and had a good chat. Seeing her always cheers me up and gave me even more energy for the upcoming second third.
Riding along the river Rhein and moving my way up to Mühlheim made me think about all the good times I associate with my hometown. It’s what I love about riding my bike. How actively and attentively you explore the area around you, absorb impressions and notice small details while still covering distances quickly. I suddenly passed a spot at a river where I spent a day in the pedal boat with a friend when we were kids and the memories of this happy, light-hearted childhood memory made me smile for the next kilometers.
The unexpected challenge to bring it home
When I planned my route, I was afraid to get bored after 100km riding solo, so I thought it’s a good idea to spice my ride up and distract myself with some climbs. Let’s say I overacted a bit. Or paid to little attention to the ramps I happily added to the route. My legs were burning, I started to hate myself for my impatience while planning, I ran out of water and my thoughts revolved around food. I hit rock bottom. Usually, I set free unexpected power during the last part of my rides and it was hard to accept this wasn’t the case after 140km. Instead of easily riding it home I stopped at a bakery and got my bottles refilled. It was hard to accept that I needed a break, but it was time to listen to my body. For me the ride was never about the ranking but once again I got impatient. I gathered my thoughts, reminded myself that it’s about the experience and fought through the last kilometers before it was kind of going downhill to the city. And suddenly I could spot the cathedral of Cologne. Home. I made it.
When in doubt
“Why not” has led me to truly good times and unforgettable experiences and moreover helped me knowing, challenging and respecting myself. I’m not asking you to be boisterously. It’s okay to be nervous, it’s okay to think twice, but next time when you’re in doubt about trying something ask yourself “why not” and pedal it out.
Follow Jil's adventures on her bike on her Instagram.
Jil is in this story riding the 2019 Gallium CS, which for 2021 has been updated as Gallium CS Disc in two colors. Check them out below.