Monday, April 18, 2011

OFF Balance

It's complicated, this cycling thing.  I had to get CLIP-LESS pedals so I could get CLIPPED IN to my bike....?  This seems an oxymoron to me.

Now, if you're a cyclist, don't try to argue that it isn't insane.  It's insane.  In all other things in life, if you get (something)less, you don't have that thing.  For example.

LACEless shoes have no shoe laces, and you wouldn't get laced into shoes without laces.

PENNIless individuals have no money, and you wouldn't get pennies from someone who's penniless.

TOPless beaches have no tops and... wait, that's a bad example.

Still.  I find the language of cycling to be just that much outside of my understanding.

The thing is, regardless of the language nuances, once I had the clipless pedals ON the bike, I no longer had the mad skillz needed to ride it...  so, I arranged to meet Coach Q at The Creek for a lesson.

He started by putting OC in his trainer while I put on my new (ugly as sin) "whiter than white" white shoes.

I hopped on OC.  And for the life of me, could not get my feet clipped into the pedals.  Total fail.

"Relax, you're over thinking it."

Probably good advice for anything from ethics papers to clipless pedals.

"It takes getting used to, flip the pedal with your toe."


"Without looking."

I was still struggling with coordination.  Is that left foot or left hand?

"There's a life cycle at the gym with your name on it."  ~nice~

Eventually, we got the tension adjusted ~ meaning I was able to relax ~

...and get the tension adjusted ~ meaning I could physically get the foot in and out of the pedal ~

...and I managed to get clipped, unclipped, clipped, unclipped, "Oh Hi SpeeDee and Lady Em".

...clipped, and oh snap - I have an audience?

Once it seemed I had mastered talking to my audience and clipping and un at the same time with only minimal razzing and harassment from the gallery, Q decided it was time to move OC off the trainer.


It's all good though.  The plan was to ride in some grass incase I fell, and we stopped to talk a few seconds of strategy.  This is why it's important to travel with your own coach.  

"The trick is unclipping, stopping and 'leaning' the bike in the right direction, in the right order".  Sounds simple right?  Something about the mischievous light in Q's eyes indicated that the simplicity was all in the language.  Here we go again with the cycling language thing...  

So remember when you were a kid and you learned to ride a two wheeler, and your mom or dad ran along beside your bike with a horrified and stricken expression on their face in the event you should crash your bike into their car, a handicapped parking sign or a brick wall....?  No?  Oh... well.   Me either.

Q's reflexes are REALLY fast...

Fortunately, mine are fast too... and I was able to unclip and catch myself, before OC and I took Q out on a lateral.  I did NOT fall, I'm just stating it for the record here.  I nearly fell, that's really not the same thing.  I'm not sure, I may have screamed, or perhaps shrieked is a better word.... but I didn't fall.

After a few passes, we mutually decided it wasn't really working.  It rained all day Saturday, and I was having to work too hard to get the bike going in the grass.  I needed to just go for it.

I walked the bike out onto the parking lot, visualized what I was trying to do, clipped in my left foot, rotated the pedal, took off, settled into my saddle and clip... like I'd been doing it my whole life.

All that fear that I would suck, crash, and burn was wasted energy.  I have good balance, and you know?

I don't suck.  It's nice not to suck.

Once I'd done a few successful passes, terrorized Q by "appearing" to be aiming straight for his car (I was in complete control), Q determined that his work was done and that his car was safer elsewhere.  He gave me some last words of advice and left to do his Sunday thing.

So, Lady Em and SpeeDee took me and OC out for a ride.

OK, Lady Em is HCB/TNT, but she's a GBA cyclist.  Follow?  (Lady Em is on Dee's team ~ HCB, and on TNT, but she's a galactically bada** cyclist)

We rode a hilly route, and I was HOT baby!  no, really, like warm & over dressed.  Again, each time I unclipped and stopped and started and clipped in it was like I had been doing it my whole life.

OC and I were totally one with each other, and by the end of the ride, I was feeling GBA.

(me & Lady Em)
SpeeDee knows a thing or two about being speedy, and she spent a few minutes tweaking my form, and WHOOSH ~ what was that orange flash?  Oh, just g and OC riding a GBA sprint with their new clipless pedals.

When we were done, we realized that it was one year ago this week that I met Lady Em and SpeeDee at The Creek to learn to ride Pink/RB.  *Pink's new owner named her Raspberry Beret.  We celebrated the anniversary in the best way possible.

We had some PT and a little picnic together on the hot asphalt.

It felt good to be in the sunshine soaking up some warmth and friendship.


Jen said...

Yay.... such awesome friends. Sounds like a blast that I want in.... Maybe create a century to Richmond... just need someone to drive me home, don't think I could ride back. :-)

Lady Em said...

Winning! I'm famous, even with my dumb clips in my hair! =) Its nice to pop open your google reader and read about yourself! oh, and of course speedee and g and OC...=)

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

Great read! I guess it is just like riding a bike, second nature.

I'm still not going anywhere near a bike unless it's to lilly-dip with the kiddos.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it scary to learn! I'm glad you had a good time with ur coach.