I’d been working hard on the trainer and spin bike for months while I waited to get a bike that works for me, with intervals, long rides, and high cadences. Off the trainer I’d been practicing getting started on the bike and stopping without killing myself. It was time to do an actual ride. Just four miles, but four miles more than I’ve ridden a bike in about 20 years. Clad in spandex and completely unwilling to ride in traffic yet, I put my bike on the car carrier (that I installed myself!) and drove it to the beach path. It was beautiful outside and since it was basically the middle of the night there weren’t a lot of people.
I take off down the path. Once I get going I feet really good. It’s much more comfortable riding in real life than riding on the trainer. I feel balanced and stable, though I get nervous when it feels like I’m going “fast” and I slow down for every tiny curve on the trail (the idea of pedaling at 85-90rpm is beyond terrifying in this moment).
There is a cyclist ahead of me and I have a moment of panic as I see him ride up a really steep hill and then speed down it. I freak out, what kind of monster designed this bike path? As it comes into view I am relieved to find that the hill is optional – I skip it. Soon enough it’s getting to be time to stop. I do a little self-talk, try not to freak out, slow down, perform the maneuver (with a nod to Eddie Izzard), and stop successfully. Woot.
Per my app I’ve biked my first mile (1.02 to be exact) at an average speed of 7.4 miles per hour. Not exactly blinding speed but I didn’t wipe out so this one’s a win. I call my partner to celebrate and then turn the bike around (both because I decided to stop at the end of every mile today to practice stopping and because at some point I’m going to have to learn to do a tight turn on the bike but this is not that time.)
As I get ready to go a group of three guys go by and yell a cheerful hello. So I yell “hi” back and we tell each other to have a great ride. I’m almost ready to go again and another guy – the only person on the beach wearing more spandex than me – yells “That’s a nice bike! ” I yell thanks and he wishes me a good ride and speeds past.
I get going, I’m feeling a little more brave and more comfortable. The mile goes by uneventfully my app tells me that I’ve done the mile at 9.5 miles per hour. I slow down to stop, I’m not sure what goes wrong but I find myself on the ground. I get up and dust myself off. I decide to move the bike back a bit to start the next mile and without thinking I just push the bike backwards, with a sickening click my chain pops off the ring. Sonofa…
I am trying to figure out how to fix it when the guys from earlier drive by. One of them yells “Do you need some help!” I yell back “I’m ok.” He responds “Really, because your chain is off your bike!” I laugh and say that yes, actually I would appreciate some help. He tells his friends to stop and he quickly puts the chain back on. Note to self, start watching basic bike mechanic videos on YouTube and find a class. He and his friends take off and I’m set up for another round of “get back up on the horse after you fall down.”
Out of nowhere the wind picks up. Oh joy, my first headwind, I’ve heard of this. The wind freaks me out a little bit so I slow down and coast a bit more on this mile to get used to riding and balancing into the wind. About 3/4 of the way through the wind dies down. The mile clicks by without an event, I stop the bike without falling down. I’ve completed my third mile in an average of 8.7mph.
I’m feeling comfortable and stable and in control so I give it a little more speed, the mile goes by quickly and I stop without eating it. I’m 3 out of 4 stops without hitting the dirt, my percentages are improving. I’ve finished my last mile at an average speed of 10.9 mph. Not nearly as fast as I’ll need to be, but 3 mph faster than the first mile so I’m feeling pretty good about this.
The best news of all is that I really enjoyed riding the bike. I don’t like the running (though I’m learning to hate it less), I don’t mind the swimming, but so far in the little I’ve done (I know that saddle sores and other afflictions are in my biking future) I sincerely like the cycling. I’m looking forward to many more miles with Phyxius.
More Cool Stuff:
Book and DVD Sale! I’m having a sale on my books and DVDs to help pay for my IRONMAN. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!
If you have questions about my IRONMAN journey the FAQ might help!
Book Me! I’m a professional speaker and I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!
Buy my book: Fat: The Owner’s Manual The E-Book is Name Your Own