Clip in, Clip Out
If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter then you know that yesterday I took my tri bike, Sparky, out for our first official ride on pavement. Since buying Sparky we haven’t had the best weather so I’ve trained on my CycleOps fluid trainer the entire off season. With the gorgeous weather I thought it was time to take him out for a spin. Once again, if you follow me on the other social media platforms you’ll know that I fell not once, but twice on my ride. It was a humbling experience.
The first comment on my YouTube video was something on the lines of, “You’re doing a 70.3 this summer and you’re just now learning to clip in?” Well, technically no. I’ve been clipping in since October. But yes, if you want to look at it that way, I am new. I am new to the sport. Some may say this is a huge undertaking. Some may even say it’s not realistic. But they don’t know me. Remember, I’m not doing this to be the best. I’m doing this to challenge myself. I’m also doing this to become a better athlete and a healthier person.
Here’s my video taken immediately after I got home from my first trip out with Sparky:
I’d love to be able to show you some rad road rash. Thankfully I wasn’t visibly beat up bad. My bum has some bruises and I’ll readily admit the left side of my body is not happy today, but I think I’ll be just fine. I’m grateful I had most of my skin covered by clothing. So this is all I have to show for my falls. Not too exciting.
I’m a newbie and I still have a ton of stuff to learn, but I wanted to share with you a few things I’ve taken away from my initial experience.
-I’m grateful I have been able to spend so much time on my trainer initially. I was most concerned about riding in a new position (versus my previous hybrid bike positioning) and that was a non-issue when I headed out, I was comfortable…once I got going. And this time also allowed me to get used to clipping in and out on a stabilized bike.
-Although I’m grateful for my time spent on the trainer, it did not prepare me for clipping in and out on a non-stabilized bike. I remember when I first started getting on my trainer, it seemed so high. I got used to it and trusted that I wouldn’t fall. That uneasiness came back when I attempted to throw my leg over my bike for the first time on pavement. My bike seat is much taller than anything I’ve ridden before. When in the saddle I can just touch the pavement with my toes. After discussing this with Jordan and Jamie they recommended straddling the top tube if stopped for a bit (stoplight).
-My initial thoughts were to drive out to a country road for my first try. I’m glad I didn’t do that but I do wish I would’ve driven to a parking lot for my first attempt. Going splat on the street corner with cars driving by hurts your ego a bit. I am glad I chose to ride around my downtown that required a lot of stops. Although challenging, this forced me to clip in and out repeatedly, forcing me to get used to the process.
-When in doubt, clip out. After the first fall I started clipping out way before the stoplights/stop signs. The second fall was a bit of an unexpected stop. I tried to clip out just one foot and lean to that side…obviously I was unsuccessful. I’m sure others can unclip just one foot and do that. I’m not that skilled…yet.
-I didn’t take a drink from my Profile Design Aqualite for a long time, but finally got too parched that I had to. With the me trying find the straw with just my mouth, so I could keep my eyes on the road, and the bumpiness of the road, I busted up my lip. Now I know to grab hold of that straw with my teeth!
-I really had no issues going into and out of the aero position. But what I did learn was while in aero, if I remove one hand, remove the other too. For instance, if I want to wipe sweat off, don’t use my right hand and leave the left in aero. I’ll swerve and possibly loose control. Once again, maybe something I’ll be able to get used to and compensate for…right now, no.
I’m sure this list will continue to grow as I take more and more rides.
Like I said previously, I thought the bike portion of the triathlon would be the easiest. I have been proven once again, this is totally not the case. But even though I’ve had to overcome some of these challenges, and am continuing to do so, I have no doubt in my mind that I will succeed in this.
I’ve said it several times and I’m sure I’ll say it thousands more, The sport of triathlon…always humbling.
What unexpected challenges have you encountered in your sport of choice?
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)