Cyclist pushes her limits
Raises money for worthy causes in the process
By Matt Kelly
herself is life-affirming for Deidre W. Winfield.
want to prove to myself that I can do it, she said. Its
like anything else thats a challenge. I get bored with everyday
everyday life, Winfield, 27, works as a research assistant at
the General Clinical Research Centers Exercise Physiology
Laboratory at the U.Va. Medical Center. Off the clock, she bicycles
and runs, competing in triathlons, marathons and 24-hour bicycle
push this year was a 2,000-mile cycling trip from Maine to Miami,
raising about $9,000 for Hospice of the Piedmont and the American
Cancer Society. It was her second extended bicycle adventure;
three years ago she took a 3,000-mile run from Charleston, S.C.,
to San Diego, raising $4,000 to $5,000 for charity.
parents think Im crazy because Im always doing things
like this, she said.
riding partner in 2000, as in the most recent trip, was Samantha
A. Jones, activities director of the Rosewood Village assisted
living facility and Winfields old friend from Dinwiddie
High School. Jones father, Billy Jones, drove a support
van bearing clothing, food and spare parts, on both trips. Another
rider, Sally Carson, a former Charlottesville resident and professional
bicycle messenger in Richmond, joined them this year.
enjoyed the pain and suffering, but it took three years to come
to terms with it to be able to do it again, Winfield said
of the 2000 venture. It was an emotionally enlightening
experience. We were in very different places in our lives. It
helped us sort out things we were trying to figure out, like what
direction we wanted to go in life.
trip was different.
dont think I made any life decision on this trip,
she said. Im much more at peace than I was.
and Jones experience on the previous trip benefited them.
knowing what to expect from your body and the weather, Winfield
said. Its being mentally prepared.
set out from Calais, Maine, on the U.S.-Canadian border on June
23. Riding in a line several inches apart and taking turns as
leader, they averaged 85 miles a day. They avoided the congested
streets of New Haven, Conn., and New York City, riding through
in their support van, but did the rest of the trip on bicycles.
nights they stayed in motels or with friends and family. They
had planned to camp but found that they could not have three tents
on one campsite in most places.
we stayed in motels most of the time, we didnt have any
alone time. When you camp, youre in your own tent and you
can read by yourself, just have alone time for a couple of hours
before you go to sleep, Winfield said. But I didnt
miss the not showering and having to cook all the time. We ate
out more and it was really nice to have a shower rather than bathing
in a bucket.
camped two nights and spent the night of July 3 at home in Charlottesville.
The next morning friends rode with them to Scottsville, arriving
just in time for the Fourth of July parade.
22 days on the road, the trail ended in Miami. They arrived about
10 a.m., after logging 55 miles that morning, and celebrated by
going to an International House of Pancakes for breakfast, then
hanging out at the beach. When the trip ended, Winfield was relieved
and a little bit depressed, because I had to make the transition
back to reality. She also carried a sense of accomplishment,
as did Jones. It was worth it to have done this. It is really
neat to see the world from the pace of a bicycle, Jones
said, who added that the ride was also a nice break from work.
was a break from reality, Winfield agreed. You dont
think about anything but sleeping, eating and riding.
will be more trips, Winfield said, but not right away. We
have to let this one settle a bit first, she said.
praised her husband, Gordon Buck Winfield, who rode
with them the first four days of the trip, then another two days
from Charlottesville to Raleigh, N.C. More of a recreational cyclist,
he does not pursue it with her passion. She said he supplies balance
to her life, telling her when she pushes too hard.
I listen, she said.
runner for many years, Winfield developed an interest in triathlons
while pursuing a graduate degree in exercise physiology at the
University of South Carolina. She cross-trained, running and bicycling,
and the speed and the pain of bicycling drew her in.
really about the pain that you can induce upon yourself, where
you see how much you can take, she said. You take
as much as you can. You want to find that limit. When I hit the
limit, I know Im done.
know youre alive if you feel pain, she said.
who enjoys bicycle riding, triathlons and other strenuous sports,
said she is not as obsessed as Winfield.
a very independent, strong-willed woman, Jones said. Shes
always been very athletic and more physical in her recreation.