2021 Blog

An open love letter to my team

When the team started training, something exciting we shared with each other was the names for our bikes! Unfortunately, I didn’t have a name for mine, and I was hoping it’d come to me soon.

As a matter of fact, it flew into my life the second week of training.

For anyone who doesn’t know me, I hate birds. So imagine my shock when I realized I had seen at least one red cardinal every time I was on my bike for the first two weeks of training. Now double that surprise when I realized I saw ELEVEN cardinals on my first 35 mile ride. And every time I saw them, I wasn’t scared. In fact, I felt at peace. I believe in signs the universe hands you, so I decided to research what cardinals represent. The answer honestly brought tears to my eyes: love, compassion, angel energy. And then it hit me. The 11 cardinals were my teammates helping me get through this difficult entry into training.

My bike’s name was now clear to me: Cardi B (Short for Cardinal Bike) :-)

Since then, we’ve gone through the rest of training , finished reading Girls Like Us, and started the ride. I cannot begin to fully explain how much these women have completely lived into this seemingly arbitrary vision I’ve had of them since training started. The way they navigate conversations, care for others, and advocate for the cause has really shown me that there are angels on this team who are full of love and compassion. These first 20 days have not been easy, but they’ve been so much easier because of the support I have from my teammates.

It’s Carmella and Meghan up early in the morning working with the Jetboils showing me what it means to so effortlessly love and care for the team. It’s Emma pulling out a business card as soon as she meets a stranger on the street teaching me how to be an effective advocate. It’s Laney and Cara riffing off of each other’s silliness so I know how to make others smile. It’s Anna getting up after her fall to show me how to be resilient. It’s Rebekah fixing Lucille (her bike) with a random screw from her bike rack teaching me how to be resourceful. It’s Hannah sharing her knowledge about the intersections of sex trafficking with other social factors + issues so I know to continue learning beyond this experience. It’s Edie taking pictures during rides so I remember to find the beauty even in the darkness. It’s Ellie thinking of ways to use her experience and privilege to help others teaching me there’s always something more to be done and always someone to advocate for. It’s Cameron voicing her opinion so effortlessly that shows me using mine is also worth being heard.

I am a mosaic of the beautiful 2021 team, and I’m so grateful that our lives have intertwined in this way. These are 11 angels that I will carry with me for a long time.

July 12, 2024
Chloe Aguilar

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