Waterloo woman bikes 200 miles through Louisiana

Lucy Atchley (second from left) is pictured with fellow riders at the Lafayette Colleseum in Louisiana. They are, from left, Dena Musceralla, Retta Sutterfield and Leslie Nelson. (submitted photo)

Not everyone would jump at the chance to cycle 200 miles through Louisiana, but Lucy Atchley of Waterloo thought it sounded like the perfect opportunity.

Atchley participated in Cycle Zydeco, a four-day bicycle ride celebrating Zydeco, Cajun and Creole music and food, at the end of April.

“A fellow nurse asked me to do it, so I started a workout routine,” she said. “I trained at the YMCA for six weeks and did 10 miles around Waterloo on Sunday mornings.”

The riders departed from Lafayette, La., on April 24 and made their way through St. Martinville, Breaux Bridge, Henderson, Arnaudville, Opelousas, Mamou and Eunice before returning to Lafayette on April 27.

“The areas (we biked through) were absolutely beautiful,” she said. “You could smell the honeysuckle.”

Atchley was considerably on the young side of the age spectrum of the participants.

“I’d say the average age was 65 to 75,” she said. “It was amazing to see how in shape they were and their ability to ride.”

As a nurse, Atchley said she sees many elderly people who are sick.

“Because of that, this ride was truly inspiring,” she said.

Atchley got a little lost on the second day and ended up off course.

“It was very grueling,” she said.

However, she did end up at Targil in Opelousas, which is known for its spices and seasonings.

The next day’s main attraction was a stop in Mamou and going to Fred’s Lounge. The Lounge is famous for its music and dancing that starts early on Saturday mornings.

“It had a bar about the size of your kitchen,” Atchley said. “They had a band and wall-to-wall people.”

The next day, they went to Eunice.

“We went to a crawfish boil and listened to live music,” she said.

The group went to the Liberty Theatre, where all the music was in French.

Overall, Atchley said the ride was an awesome experience, but also overwhelming.

“You really have to pull from your inner core to ride all that distance,” she said.

She met people from all over the United States, along with participants from Canada and Europe as well.

“I would do it all again in a heartbeat,” she said.

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