You may have noticed that I haven't been riding my bike much. That's going to be a problem when I'm doing the cycling leg of the triathlon. I've been agonising between trying to ride with cleats and giving up on the idea completely. In the meantime I haven't been out on the bike.
Krissi sent me an email, suggesting that we use this morning's PT session to check out how I get on and off the bike while I was wearing ordinary shoes and then make the transition to cleats. I thought it was a great idea, even though I was as nervous as anything. I was so tense when I got to her place that I was sure my heart must be beating at 100 miles a second. Great for calorie burning of course.
We headed over to the park on our bikes. Krissi explained that she wanted me to pretend I was wearing cleats. I was to do the click out action, brake, step off the bike, and then dismount. She observed me a few times and worked out what I need to do to survive cleats. Even without the cleats it took concentration. I've recently realised that I was very sloppy about getting off the bike. I had all sorts of bad habits. Anyway, I now have a "method". After we rode for about 20 minutes, which seemed much longer, I finally worked up the courage to try the cleats. I was still incredibly stressed but I figured I was getting a great opportunity to make the switch and that I should take advantage of it.
Well, I managed it. I think I was hyperventilating but I was trying to do it in a really "I'm cool with all this" sort of way that wasn't fooling anyone. Krissi mentioned the look of terror on my face a few times. Still, I clicked in, clicked out, braked, stepped down, and dismounted over and over again. We decided that I'm going to dismount onto the right side of the bike as a way of avoiding pancaking to the left. I couldn't see how this would work in traffic. Krissi looked at me with confusion and then started to laugh before asking "Why would you want to dismount in traffic?" It was a pretty good point.
After I'd conquered the park, Krissi took me on a ride around the block. We managed fine. I did some practising getting on and off the bike and I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. We rode up the driveway to her building and that's when it happened. I hadn't dropped the gear for the hill and I got myself into an awful mess. I had time to say "I'm in trouble" and then I was falling down. I managed to hit myself in the face with the handlebars and I collected my wrist on the way. I scrambled to my feet and picked up my bike with Krissi's help. As we were doing this a car came out of the garage, swerved around us (we were in the middle of the driveway) and kept going. I was pretty unimpressed that the driver wasn't able to wait for me to get to my feet but she was busy talking on a mobile phone. She did hesitate for a moment, looked annoyed that we were in her way, and then kept going.
I was really shaken by the fall. I had that whole adrenaline rush going, then a few minutes later I was faint and felt like I needed to sit down. I got over it, but I wouldn't get back on the bike to ride with the cleats. I was too rattled. I'll get back another time. I did ride home using my normal shoes. I figured cleats and pedestrians were too much for me, but there weren't too many pedestrians as it happened. I was so glad to get home though.
Krissi was great. I'm sure she was disappointed that I crashed after such a positive session, but she kept being as encouraging as ever. If she hadn't made the offer to help me today I'm sure I would have changed the pedals back over. Now I've gotten some confidence back. I guess I'll fall over a few more times, but hey, apparently everybody does it. Well, almost everybody.
At the very least I won't be changing the pedals back before the triathlon. I know I can ride the bike in ordinary shoes with the new pedals. There goes my excuse for not being out there practising. I'd better get serious about working on my bike fitness.
Tomorrow I have squash, which is my favourite activity of all.