... my journey from ballerina to triathlete

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Tipping Point

So, I finally got my bike fixed. While I would love to report that I picked it up from the shop, hopped on, and rode off into the sunset I have to admit that yet again, the triathlon got the better of me.

You would think that after two years of staring at a bike sitting just outside of your front door, you would notice where the brakes and gear-shifters are located. Even if you were so stupid that you failed to see these things while the bike sat stationary, certainly you would notice them while wheeling the bike to and from the car when taking it to the shop! This makes it all the more amazing that the first thing I did when I got on the bike was get going too fast, search in vain for the brakes, then try to jump off only to catch my foot on the crossbar and fall over, bike and all.

Perhaps the most comical part of this ultimate failure in bicycling grace was that I didn't even make it to the street. I was simply trying to ride the bike from its storage place near our door down the walkway and to the driveway, and when I say I was going too fast, I mean that I was getting dangerously close to the wrought iron gate separating our driveway from the street and needed to stop before ploughing into it face first. As I searched for the brakes and began to bobble, I realized there was no way I was going to get stopped in time and made the executive decision that ejection was necessary. Unfortunately for my dignity, not even that could go my way and I made the super slow motion face plant into the pavement, much to Sean's bemusement.

Ouch, my pride.

And so, a new adventure begins. Being accustomed to the mountain bike-style cycle, this road bike, which I affectionately call "vintage" is quite an adjustment. It is a Peugeot and thus decent quality (and cool enough for the staff at the bike shop to get excited about) but it has plenty of "life experience," so to speak. I, on the other hand, apparently have no experience with biking.

Everything has been new. The handbars, the thin tires, the seat position, the gears, riding in traffic, hills, et cetera... it is all an adventure. I took it out on the first actual ride today and promptly went flying down one of the steepest hills in Honolulu, realizing too late that I probably should have checked the brakes beforehand. They managed to keep me from getting out of control, but a sudden drop-off in the pavement right before a stoplight forced me to re-try the emergency dismount that sent me into the pavement yesterday. This time, thankfully, I landed on my feet instead of my face.

Once I made it past the hill, I really enjoyed my ride. It's amazing how much ground you can cover on a bike in very little time! I enjoyed the scenery, the new territory, and I relived my childhood by letting the wind whip my face while coasting full speed down hills. It took me 38 minutes to ride 7.25 miles -- a starting point I can call satisfactory.

The swimming portion of the training got upped again today to 550m, and my technique continues to improve steadily. Funny how just as one discipline settles in, another presents new challenges. It keeps me on my toes. Or, in some cases, face first into the pavement!

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