Queen of the Mountain…. maybe hill…

What an amazing day! I took my first real ride on the bike with my clip in pedals. After the fiasco of practicing in my driveway the other day I was very nervous about getting out on the road. Katie assured me that I would be fine and she would tell me exactly what to do. Apparently for the clipping and unclipping to be smooth I need momentum… something I did not have while practicing in my driveway.

When I got to her house I felt sick… I did not want to take that first pedal out into the road. Lots of deep breathes… Katie asks me what do I think is going to happen? Well, where do I start? Me and my worry-wort attitude… my primary concern was that I would get all clipped in, fall over into on-coming traffic and get run over my a truck. That about sums it up. She said that would not happen. (ok… I act like I believe her).

We push off. I got the take off pretty down pat. She tells me it is ok to leave my left foot unclipped. I can pedal without being clipped in. This makes me happy. We come to our first stop and it is easy since I am not clipped in yet. Calming down a little…

We push off again. Left foot still unclipped. She calmly tells me to go ahead and get that left foot in. We have a long stretch of flat without any stops. I do as I am told. I am locked in. Nervous again.

A stop eventually comes up. The trick is, now that I know, is to unclip way before I actually need to stop. If I know I am going to stop then while I am riding and have good momentum I gently unclip my left foot while I slow down. Apply the brakes, lift my butt off the seat, stop and put my left foot to the ground. hmmmm…. that wasn’t too bad. Easy when she is telling me what to do.

We push off again. This time I get in a few good rotations and clip my left foot in without too much anxiety. We are going pretty good now. Another stop. Katie questions, “why is your butt on your seat?” My answer “I don’t know”. I forgot to get my butt off. (Repeat this conversation for most of the ride) The rest of the stop was good.

Next… up a hill. She is telling me when to shift. (What am I going to do when she is not around!!!????) I got my momentum going and go straight up the hill. Woo Hoo! Except, now I have to go down. I hate going downhill – too fast. I do not like the feeling that I am out of control and could go head first into the road. (I need to stop thinking like that).

Uphill again – I am flying! My cadence was spot on and I was relaxed in my upper body. I was breathing like a freight train but I wasn’t going to stop. I was focused on pulling my knees to my chest. At the top we stopped for some water and a pose:)

There were three big hills in all and I was so proud of myself for powering up them.

On the way back we hit some nice flat road and went at a pretty decent pace. At one point Katie said we were going 20 MPH! It was amazing.

It felt like we road 100 miles, but amazingly, it was not even 10 miles. And, as usual, none of my fears came true. I was just left with a little “tattoo” of my experience – my “beginner’s tat”…

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