Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Since I asked you to share your embarrassing moments the other day, it is only fair that I put mine out there. Some of you may have heard it before... Step into the way back machine and travel with me to 2008. Back when I was still afraid of my bike and those *&$% clipless pedals.
To give you a little back story, 2008 was the year I really got into fitness and a healthy lifestyle. I had been swimming masters for 5+ years and dabbled in running (and by "dabbled" I mean sign up for a couple of 5ks or 10ks and with no training whatsoever ran them -- it was not enjoyable that way and I do not recommend it). In 2008, I started going to my gym on a regular basis and got talked into actually training for a 5k. Long story short, it got me to thinking that I could do a triathlon. I knew how to swim, I was now running and just needed to add the bike in there.
I found a $300 bike on ebay and within a week it was in my garage...
Me: I think they forgot to ship the pedals.
CR: Those are the pedals. You need special shoes.
Knowing that you either had to ride clipless pedals or toe cages for my race, I decided to suck it up and learn on the clipless. I really don't know what I was thinking back then because it had easily been 30 years since I had been on a bicycle. My bike back in the day had streamers, a banana seat and 3-speeds. This was nothing like that bike. I had to look up on the internet how to shift, which ring was for uphill, which was for down. It really was a sad situation. It intimidated me so much that I rode it just enough to figure out how to shift and hoped for the best come race day. (No joke, I think I logged *maybe* 6 miles on it prior to race day).
Despite that, somehow my first triathlon was a huge success, 2nd in my AG - WOOT! Miraculously there were no issues on the bike. I still remember rolling up to the dismount line hyperventilating because I was choking up with tears of happiness from completing that leg of the race.
Race number one went so well, it gave me a lot of confidence for my second sprint race 3 weeks later. This one was a little bigger - Iron Girl. It is known for its challenging bike course. Again, I don't know what I was thinking back then because I did not ride my bike ONE TIME between triathlon #1 and triathlon #2. I take that back, I do know what I was thinking - I was scared of those clipless pedals. Oh the stress of that darn bike leg!
Fast forward to iron girl... I had a great swim, I ran up the hill to transition and got my bike gear on - check, check.... run with the bike to the mount line. Gosh it is crowded up in here.... Clip in way too early, lose control of my bike before I have even gone 5 feet and crash into a parked motorcycle while still clipped in. Oy. All I could think was this guy was not going to be too happy. I didn't know what to do... Oh the embarrassment. As someone who HATES to be the center of attention, I was truly mortified. I stood there for a minute and then heard people yelling "keep going, keep going". You don't have to tell me twice. I wanted out of that embarrassing situation fast! The rest of the ride was uneventful and I finished the race. I hung up my triathlon shoes after that race. It was my own fault. I didn't train I wasn't comfortable on the bike, I was just hoping for the best.
It was three years from that first sprint triathlon before I did any real riding on the bike. In all honesty, once I started riding regularly on the road it only took 3 to 4 short rides to really get comfortable with clipping in and out. I see a lot of comments on facebook and blogs about getting used to clipless pedals. Yeah, it is weird and not the easiest thing at first but don't let it hold you back. I feel kind of stupid that I dropped out of tris for three years because I was intimidated by the bicycle. In the end, I was glad I got past it and gave it another try. (...and this is how my crazy mind works - the reason I picked up the bike again in 2011 was because I wanted to do a 70.3. I could barely even ride a bike but I signed up for a 70.3. So not normal....) It is true what they say, if you believe it, you can achieve it :)
....and on that note, I have a winner for Swim Bike Mom's book! Drum roll.... The winner drawn at random is Mamajo! Please contact me by Monday with your address so we can get your book to you. My email is kwhitlock (at) bellsouth (dot) net.
Thanks for all who entered and shared your great stories with me!