My name is Stacie Palmer and I am Wildflower. I started this event 7 years ago with the intent to give women a much needed day out on their bikes! As women we spend so much time taking care of the needs of others that we sometimes put our own needs on hold. I just turned 40 this past summer and the older I get the more and more I realize how important it is to take care of our own needs. If we want to be the best friends, mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, etc… that we can be it is important that we are in a position to give others what they need from us and we can only do that if our own reserves are full.
Before I started Wildflower I was a woman who was in need of being able to find a better balance for my life. I was a young stay at home mom of 3 small children who was giving everything I had to meeting their needs and fulfilling all of the other responsibilities of taking care of our home. I was trying to find joy in the role of wife and stay at home mother but I was struggling with it, and I was not happy. Doing dishes, laundry, cleaning the house, cooking, changing diapers, etc… was just not fulfilling for me. I looked around at all of the other women I knew and I thought that they seemed happy doing the same thing I was doing so something must be wrong with me. I didn’t dare tell anyone how I was feeling. I had given up all of my own goals and lives aspirations to be able to do this and I felt like a caged bird.
Before I got married and had children my life was full of adventure. I was so happy to be a mother but I was missing that dearly.
The summer before the inaugural Wildflower Pedalfest ride my husband and I had just moved to Mountain Green and there were lots of people in our neighborhood that were getting into road biking. One of my friends convinced me to buy a bike and to start riding with her and so I did. I started to make time to get outside and to go ride and I realized that this time out was something that I needed. I was not unhappy because I was a stay at home mom I was unhappy because I had been neglecting my own spirit’s needs. When I got back from a ride instead of being an empty well I had found something to fill up my reserves so I always had something left to give. When I started to feel empty again I knew my bike was waiting and I made it a priority to get out. Instead of feeling selfish or letting the mom guilt get to me I realized that taking care of my needs was as important for my children as it was for me. They deserved a happy mom and riding my bike helped keep me happy.
My first summer with a bike I started progressing through the Wildflower Courses. I started with the Stoddard Loop, and then the Morgan Loop, then East Canyon. By the end of that summer I completed my 1st Century. The Wildflower Pedalfest was started after I lost my part time job teaching math. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do and after riding in a couple of bike events I knew that what I wanted to do was to start a bike event for women. An event where they could have a day out and a day to renew their spirits and fill their reserves. I knew that the Morgan Valley was the perfect place for it.
As part of the event participant experience there are a few things that have been important to me since the beginning: 1. a cute t-shirt… one that women would want to wear after the event day 2. a cute jersey… it is getting easier to find cute feminine looking bike jerseys but 7 years ago there were not many choices 3. a fun celebration at the end with a live band, vendor booths, and a nice place to relax and enjoy a good lunch 4. an organized ride with awesome SAG support 5. a confidence building experience 6. an opportunity for women to challenge themselves and to see how strong they really are 7. a day where women could be free to enjoy the day with all the details taken care of
In 2018 it will be the 7th year for the Wildflower Pedalfest. My babies are not babies anymore and you will actually see them helping at the event. They know how much this event means to me and they take pride in knowing that their mom is Wildflower. They are my event team! We hope to see you in 2018.
*** My friend that convinced me to purchase my first road bike is the same friend that started the Wildflower Pedalfest with me 7 years ago- Erika Beckstrom. She had other obligations and couldn’t continue with being my partner but I know that part of her heart will always be with Wildflower too. She loved planning this event year after year and she was great at helping with all of the small details. Wildflower wouldn’t be the same without her contribution. She still loves riding her bike and I am hoping that I will be able to award her the Wildflower Hillclimb Challenge award one of these years!***