Carrie Highley was always a tomboy—and by the time she turned sixteen, she was wishing she were dancing with the girls instead of the boys at cotillion dances. In her early thirties, while living in West Virginia, she discovered a passion for road biking, finally stopped sequestering her deep feelings for women, and began an ill-fated love affair with a female cycling friend. Then, at thirty-six, she found herself skidding into Asheville, North Carolina, holding on tight to the coattails of her doctor husband and spending her time as a stay-at-home mother of two boys.
Moving to North Carolina was Highley’s attempt to reembrace heterosexual married life after her tumultuous time in West Virginia. But in Asheville, she met Charlie, a fellow cyclist twenty-three years her senior, who became her mentor, friend, and father all rolled into one—and as they grew closer, she started unloading her fears into Charlie’s inbox. With Charlie’s support, Highley finally got the courage to do what she’d been waiting her whole life to do: go down the mountain with her hands off the brakes.