Month: May 2013

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!

I did it.  I rode my bike with the clipless pedals!  Well, I rode around a parking lot anyway.  True to the name, the Look Keo Easy pedals aren’t too difficult to get in and out of with a little practice.  Of course, this says nothing about smoothly stopping on the bike, haha.

Not gunna lie.  It was absolutely terrifying and it started off pretty awful.  I didn’t want to test it out until I was in a traffic-free area, so I walked a bit in my socks until I got to a decent sized space.  After standing around for awhile, I finally mustered up the courage to try it out.  Right foot clipped in.  Here we go! Push off.  Clip in left foot.  Okay, this isn’t bad, I’m still on the bike.  Now for unclipping.  Unclip right, lean right…LEAN RIGHT….shit, I’m going down.  I land on the ground to my left, my butt cushioning the fall.  Ouch.  That’s definitely going to bruise.  If it was unclear to anyone around me at the park that it was my first time using the clipless pedals, it should be clear now.  Not sure what I did wrong, but I pride aside, I pick myself up and try again.  Second time, I fall again, scratching the back of my right calf against the gears.  Ugh.  I’m already frustrated at this point because I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong.  How hard is it to lean right!?  My heart is pounding out of my chest in anticipation of trying again.  Mouth dry, I take a few large gulps of water. Third attempt, my confidence is low and I go down before I even clip in my left foot.  *sigh*  I land on my right knee, breaking skin where my ugly scar is from my last fall.

Feeling defeated, I splash some water on my knee at the water fountain and sit down at the benches.  I have no idea what I’m doing wrong and I attempt to watch other people unclip.  It’s a hard to learn this way though since it’s hard to really see what’s going on from afar and I’m concerned my staring might come off as creepy.  Kristin does 2 more loops before she stops and comes over to me, immediately spotting the blood on my knee.  She instructs me to walk back to the lot with her and try again.  I reluctantly follow and after stalling for a bit, attempt it again. This time, a group of guys have gathered at a nearby picnic table.  Perfect! I was hoping for an audience.  As I’m unclipping and leaning, I start to fall left again, but this time, manage to unclip my left foot in time and catch myself.  Kristin then tells me that I’m falling because I’m putting all my weight on the left side because I’m unclipping when my right foot is at the top. She tells me to try again but to unclip when my right foot is at the bottom.  Hm.  This makes perfect sense to me and I wonder how this didn’t occur to me earlier.  Still incredibly nervous, I agree to try again.  Alas, it works!  My landing was a little rough with a few hops, but I didn’t fall!  I did it a few more times with Kristin’s supervision and then continued to practice on my own while she went to finish her ride.

We finished off the set with a 15-minute run (+1 extra minute because we’re overachievers), as scheduled.  I may not have gotten the 30-minute bike ride originally planned, but at least I did the run, haha.  I’m still not terribly confident with the clipless pedals so I’ll definitely practice again and in the meanwhile, I’ll do my rides on the trainer until I’m comfortable on the road.  Hopefully it won’t take too long!!

(FYI, I’m on 5.)

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Easy pedals? I hope so.

You’ve heard the saying, “it’s just like riding a bike,” implying that if you’ve ever done something, you’re not going to forget how to do it again.  This phrase does not apply to me.  Hoping on the road bike was NOTHING like riding my little bike when I was 12 where my feet could touch the ground and I could back peddle to stop the bike.  That became very clear on my first test ride at Bicycle World when I realized I wasn’t sure how to stop the bike and jumped off with both feet in the air.

From the start, my relationship with my road bike was turbulent.  In the first couple of months, Connie flung me to the ground on, not one, but two occasions, resulting in stitches, 3 ER visits (it’s not as bad as it sounds), ugly scars (those are bad), and ridiculous medical bills. This lead me to conclude that my bike must be female because this seems like female behavior (kidding, but kinda true…).  And because I’m a fan of alliteration, I decided her name should be Connie– Connie, the Scott Contessa Speedster.   Most people would not stand for this sort of abuse, but I was stubborn and refused to let this deter me from my triathlon goals!  I proceeded cautiously and my rides have been relatively smooth since.

Look Keo Easy pedals

After nearly a year of owning my bike and completing 3 triathlons (2 sprints and 1 super sprint), I finally mustered the courage to install clipless pedals this past weekend.  While this may not be a big deal to many people, I am incredibly anxious. I’ve practiced clipping in and out on my trainer, but I am under no illusion that it’ll be just as easy.  Everyone tells me that falling is inevitable.  It’ll most likely be when I’m at a complete stop, so it’s not going to be some terrible fall, but it WILL be embarrassing and most likely in front of a large crowd of people.  Excellent. Given my past experience and scars, the idea of falling still terrifies me, but I guess I have to attempt it to overcome it!