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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Crash Course in Cycling

This weekend my adventures in activity continued with the purchase of my very own Trek Lexa SLX. Isn’t it pretty?

I was very excited to get my own bike, as my husband has had his for almost a year. I was also very nervous as I hadn’t ridden a bike in years and have never owned a bike with multiple gears. To say this bike is fast would be an understatement. It’s like having a sports car. It just wants to fly. That’s a bit scary for someone who wants to take it easy until they are more comfortable handling the bike.

Friday, J.R. and I set out on a nice easy trail for my first ride. I was doing pretty well. It was a nice clear path for me to get comfortable with the bike. One thing I noticed was because I have such small hands (I’m talking I can wear children’s gloves small) I had a hard time controlling the brakes with my hands on top. Because of this I tended to ride down in the drops as I felt more comfortable braking. However, this is a terrible position to ride for any length of time.

As we progressed through the trail I became more confident and I began training myself to ride on top rather than in the drops. I was doing well with this until we came across a sharp corner. I attempted to move my hands to the drops so I could control the brakes with more ease. However, I’m still shaky moving my hands anywhere and couldn’t get them down fast enough. Yep you guessed it. I went down and I went down hard as my face skidded across a chain link fence. Apparently the brakes on my bike weren’t useful enough for me so I used my face. I don’t recommend it.

I sat there stunned for a minute. J.R. raced over and once he figured out I was fine he began checking the bike. It miraculously didn’t have a scratch on it. I couldn’t say the same for my face. The gear shift was a little bent and we later discovered the back wheel was bent a bit, as well. However, no major damage… to the bike that is.

I stood up and we continued our ride. J.R. kept asking if I wanted to go back but I insisted I was fine. I was determined to conquer this bike and not let it conquer me. I actually rode more after my crash than before. We ended up riding to J.R.’s grandparents. There I was finally able to see the damage I had done to myself. I was greeted with this.

I began laughing as I stared at myself in the mirror. It was much worse than I had imagined. I was sore but I hadn’t broken anything so I was ok. I was actually glad I was able to get my first crash out of the way. It was inevitable I would eventually fall. Now having been through one, I don’t have to be quite so scared of them. I’m still afraid but it’s a healthy fear.

I woke up the next morning very sore and a bit more bruised. I still finding new bruises and scratches each morning. However, my face is healing nicely and fairly quickly. Sunday morning we went for a ride with J.R.’s mom and her newly purchased bike. It was a good ride. No crashes, though I did discover I may have hurt my shoulder more than I thought. I am getting better at braking on top. It will just take time (and a quick fix for the brakes on my bike to make braking easier for my little hands).

I’ve got a little more than 3 months till my triathlon to get ready. One little (or not so little as J.R. would say) crash isn’t going to stop me. Unfortunately, because of the time change I’m not able to ride during the week. I’m excited for the ride J.R. has planned for Saturday. My weekend workouts have been hit and miss (mostly miss) the past few months, so this will definitely help me get out there. 

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