Since I completed my fourth attempt and second successful bike to and from work yesterday afternoon and this morning, I’ve been thinking about biking, specifically in regards to how I’ve improved and what I still need to work on.
How I’ve Improved:
1. I can get my foot into my pedal clips a lot faster than I used to. (I still haven’t made the transition to clipless. Maybe next year?)
2. I remember to downshift before getting to a stoplight, successfully preventing the “I.can.barely.move.” phenomena when the light turns green.
3. I know how to put my chain back on when it slips off and I can probably figure out how to change a tire if I get a flat. (I’ve seen Travis do it once – doesn’t seem incredibly hard.)
4. Hills that once kicked my entire butt now only kick part of it. (Simms is still my nemesis.)
5. I’m not terrified of going fast, like Ricky Bobby. Yesterday, I got up to 40 mph coasting down a hill (which happened to be on my nemesis, Simms) - I know other bikers go faster but this was the fastest I’ve ever gone. I felt pretty bada$$.
6. I pedal faster by downshifting instead of keeping my bike in a higher gear and grinding up hills slowly. I read an article that said pedaling faster (higher RPM) made for more efficient pedaling. And I’m all for that.
What I Still Need to Work On:
1. Hydrating on the bike. I am pretty good about eating my Shotbloks (because they’re so delicious!) but am bad about drinking water. In a sprint tri, it doesn’t really matter because it’s only a 5K run. But 6.2 miles is a little more serious so I need to be better about drinking water.
2. Pacing myself. I tend to blow up hills like they’re nothing and then slow to a crawl because I’m about ready to fall over from lack of oxygen. Especially in this Olympic tri, not overexerting my legs on the bike is Strategy #1 for a good run.
3. Getting a new seat. I tried moving my seat forward a bit, hoping that might help. But it didn’t work. Lady parts still hurting after about 5 miles = no fun.
4. Not getting pulled over by the bike police.
But seriously, as I was biking home last night, I was on one of the bike trails and came up behind a man on a bicycle. He was going slower than me so I was going to pass him, until I realized that he was dressed head to toe in navy blue and had a huge belt on with things hanging from it – one of which was a gun. The bike police. I thought about still passing him but then remembered that usually the speed limit on bike trails is 15 mph. I was going 16 mph. Would I get pulled over for biking too fast? I biked behind him for about 100 feet, debating what I should do. Luckily, just then the path split and he took the opposite way as me. Crisis diverted!
Something you readers probably don’t know about me is that I have been pulled over more times than I can count, given several speeding tickets, and even been arrested (that’s a story I’ll have to tell sometime!), so it’s probably no surprise, then, that whenever I see a cop, I panic and immediately think, Am I doing something wrong? It doesn’t matter the context, the time of day, what I’m done, where I see the cop, if he’s in a car or on a bike. Cops scare the bajeesus out of me. (Kind of like Simms.)
So there you go.