Until I get more confident on the road I will really only heading out when my husband is with me – which means weekends only.
Last week we headed out and decided to do my first ever road ride. We picked a quiet road and that was the only quiet thing about it. Few cars. Everything else came at us. Hills. Wind. Rain. Hail. And missing gears or feet not clipping in.
We got to 8km and halfway up a killer hill before I called out to hubby ‘…STOOOOP…’ I have to stop, I cannot go any further, I have to stop here..’ I’m all dizzy, feeling like I’m going to vomit. I was enjoying it, it was just too much right there. Now, I’m not usually one to pike out that easily or give up, I am, however, at the point where I know my limits and with an injury on the mend I do not want to make it worse. We headed back – down the uphills, and up the downhills. Neither were quite as bad as they were the first time. Funny that.
The Learning Curve
While we were resting at the halfway point, hubby remarked that cycling must be way different to running, as he can ride all day, yet barely run 5km. I can run and am pretty fit, yet cycling makes me feel so un-fit. It is a completely different set of muscles in your legs that you use.
I have to learn how to cycle again. Or in the first place. Cycle properly being the words.
My first few rides were all of about 16-17 kms total, which is the most I have ever ridden in my life. I may have had bikes, but 5k was about it when I went out.
Hubby has been riding bikes his whole life and long distance. He also rides motorbikes, so the whole thing is natural to him. I like to have a little more control over my legs and body. A little, I’m learning how to relinquish that.
I am happy to push it and go fast on the straights and small undulating bumps, but hills – both up and down – and cornering are things I have to practice and master.
Uphill riding. There is the standing up to pedal uphills, while I was happy to do this on my old bikes, the way you hold the handle bars it’s a whole different stance, or maybe that’s just because the gears are better. Either way it’s something I have to learn.
Braking, or steady downhills. I watched a couple of you-tube clips and one of them said to focus on the front brake more. Now these guys are pretty good riders, so it would make sense they know what they are talking about. However, after hubby saying I should focus on the rear and feather the front brakes – which works for me, I’m slightly confused. Initially I was riding the front brakes heavily which as ok, but not ideal.
Cornering. I am nervous about this as I’m still not sure what I or the bike am capable of when it comes to rounding corners. Especially downhills and in the wet. I remember I used to fly around corners when I was 12 and 13, but I’m way more cautious now and the whole things scares the bejeezers out of me. How fast is too fast, and how low into a corner can I go?
Stopping. I’m getting better at stopping, or pulling up at lights. Still a little clunky, but overall, a lot smoother than the first time, which is to be expected.
Skills to learn. New actions to get used to. It’s only been a few weeks.
I’m doing alright.
Well, at least that’s what hubby says. He is so proud of how I am doing, I’m getting gradually faster, steadier and more comfortable looking. He says I look really good on the bike and it works. We had a chat on the return of our last ride and he said ‘..this is the longest ride you’ve done, like ever, in your life..’ and at that point, yes it was. Around the 20km mark. I still felt so good, and was ready to push it. I was a little nervous getting back on the highway (the start and finish of this last ride was mainly bike track with a little main road in the mix) but the cars were pretty polite with only one or two that were close enough to touch.
We finished the day with 36kms and I feel fantastic!
I’m not sure why I waited so long to get back onto a bike. Actually I do, I remarked that I was ‘scared of the super skinny tires’, don’t know why now. they’re pretty stable.
I can see this is something that will last me a long time to come. I’ll have to keep my shirts at all sorts of lengths as I’m already getting another weird sports tan.