Andrew was asking about the tri cycling lesson I had on Friday, so here are the details.
I learned heaps! One of the first things I learned was that the car park behind Old Parliament House is hidden by hedges. I rode around the building, looking for a group of women cyclists in the West car park. No luck, so I ended up phoning Krissi to find out where I was supposed to be. "We're around the back, you can't miss us." Obviously I could! I headed back to the back, hoping it was the back. It looked like the back. Still no women. I listened out for them, sure that I'd hear 60 women. Nope. Finally I sensed a movement and saw some people through a hedge - thank goodness for fluorescent lycra.
Now, I was completely dressed the part myself - red Netti cycling top, black Netti shorts. The only problem was that I completely looked like a novice - bike seat too low, feet in the wrong position. I had tried to raise my bike seat before I left home, but the various bits and pieces defeated me. *blush on* That's the second thing I learned - it's easy to raise your bike seat. No special tool required. *blush off*
We were divided into groups. I opted for the easiest group based on the "do you lack confidence on your bike" questions they were asking to grade us, but when they saw how many people were in it they provided some additional criteria. As I've ridden to work a few times I fitted in the next group. We ended up with 10 riders and 3 coaches. I was impressed how many women had come out to help us - there were 3 coaches for each of 5 groups. That's real commitment from the women of FIT, especially as they are all volunteers.
We were sent off to ride around the car park a few times while the coaches watched us. It wasn't long before I was pulled aside so that my seat could be adjusted. It is so much higher than I expected but it's definitely easier to ride that way. Later on I was told to change the position of my feet on the pedals. I had them firmly planted with the pedals in the middle but apparently I should be using the front part of my foot instead.
We were then shown how to corner. Now, this might seem obvious, but I didn't know I should raise the knee of the leg on the side I was turning to. I prefer turning to the right and I think I must instinctively do it on that side, but I don't on the left. Something new to concentrate on. We were also told to look towards where we were going while cornering. We did that a few times and then we worked on braking.
We were told about braking with both hands and shown how to feather. I have been doing this so I was feeling confident. We were told to ride towards some cones and brake when we got to them. I kept braking well ahead of time. We were also shown that we should be smoothly putting down one foot when coming to a halt. I did this great brake action and was being congratulated by one of the coaches, when I jumped off with both feet. Chuckle. After an "Oh dear, better luck next time" remark I received heaps of encouragement when I did get it right. We practised that going uphill and downhill.
The next thing we tried was riding between cones. It was a matter of controlling speed and braking. We were supposed to look forward, not down at the ground. I struggled with this going downhill, skittling a few cones and missing others entirely. It was much easier going uphill. Less braking required.
After that we rode around the car park with one hand on the handlebars, then swapped hands. We then rode in pairs and I learned that you're supposed to keep your wheels level as you ride. We then had the one hand thing happening with the pair riding. By the time we were finished I was feeling so much more confident on the bike. It was a great session. Also, it seemed much easier riding home - the higher seat and new foot position made a huge difference.
On Saturday, I met up with Kellie and Krissi, as Kellie was buying a bike. The bike she borrowed on Friday was all wrong for her, so this was an urgent shopping expedition. It was a lot of fun, although I had to resist the urge to buy accessories. While we were in one of the shops we had a look at the triathlon wear. I also saw a pair of cycling shorts that were $180. For that, they'd want to be able to ride the bike for me!
It was interesting being in the shop with people who knew about bikes. Michael, Kellie's partner, has done tris in the past, and Krissi and Brad are keen cyclists. They'd all look at the componentry with keen interest while I checked out the paint job. Kellie took a few bikes on test rides and settled on a Giant road bike. I learned how to take off the front wheel of my bike (not that I've tried it yet) and discovered that they have the cutest kids bikes in the stores - complete with streamers and baskets with flowers.
While we were in the second shop, which is the one where I bought my bike, I ended up buying myself bike shoes. Yes, I'm going to try the whole cleats thing. I can't believe that I've done this to myself. I'm quite worried about falling off. Krissi tells me that everyone pancakes. Another thing I've learned. I'm trying to work out how falling off the bike because you can't get your foot out of the pedal looks like a pancake but I'm not having much success with that. I guess you go over sideways so it must look fairly straight. I haven't managed to put the pedals on the bike yet. Something for this afternoon if I work up the courage.
This morning I was out for a run around the lake with Lola. I'm sure I mentioned before that one of my running friends had been diagnosed with breast cancer. That's Lola. She's recovered from surgery and will be starting chemo this week. We took it easy around the lake, then went off for a coffee and chat. Including the walk to the coffee shop and back to the car we covered about 7 km. Not a bad effort for a Sunday. Mind you, I started off suffering. Champagne the night before is clearly not a good preparation for a run. I guess at this time of year it's going to keep happening though, so I'd better get used to it.