pressing forward…the bike


So I’ve been trying to be more active. I’ve gone with my hubby to the bike shop uptown to ride trainers. Of course, that’s HUGE for me at this point in my life. I thought I’d lay the background for why in the world I even have a nice-ish road bike.

We both signed up for a ride, The Red Bud, coming up in April. Hubby and my eldest son did the ride last year, the 26 mile portion, shortly after Hubby got his bike. I didn’t even have a bike at the time.

He’d never ridden anywhere near 26 miles, so it was a MAJOR accomplishment for him. I was so proud of him, of course, then again, he can do ANY. THING. he sets his mind to. The man is determined if nothing else.

So, he got me into riding. I really enjoy it, but it’s a real task to get me out and going. I enjoy seeing the landscape and honestly, we live in an area with some of the most beautiful riding country in the nation. The Red Bud Ride garners participants from all over the world. I mean, seriously! That’s some “big time” cred! LOL!

Now, I have actually done approximately 25 miles before. Once you get conditioned even slightly, you can do many more miles than you’d imagine. The Hubbs is very VERY goal oriented and he has signed up for what they call The Century Challenge. A “century” is, obviously, a 100-mile ride. The challenge is to do four of them in a season. I’m not sure where each of them are and I think there’s about 5 or 6 of them, so you can choose. There’s no cost to register for the challenge, but there’s a cost for each ride, so theoretically, you can “drop out”. I am kinda dreading this as these rides can take up to 8 hours or more to complete! The farther ones I think he will probably be attending with some other people from the cycling club we’ve become part of because I can’t imagine waiting that long for him to finish. I kinda dread him having that “thing” that I’m not part of, because the Hubby tends to get a little obsessive about things and honestly, I love him, but I get really tired of trying to keep up with his many & varied obsessions.

ANYhow, so the bicycling is one way I’m trying to be more active. There are these crazy things called “cycling shoes” or “clips” that are basically insane contraptions that attach you to the bike pedals by your shoes!! When Hubby got his, I told him he was a loon. I understood his repeated explanation of why they were beneficial, but I just didn’t want to even attempt them… besides the fact that they are NOT cheap. Just so you know, I mean, in case you WANT to know, haha, here is the science and reason behind cycling shoes.

Okay, and so…the Hubbs found a pair of cycling shoes in my size on clearance and yep, he ordered them. I really REALLY wasn’t happy. I just wasn’t interested in having clips. I finally tried them and was SO proud of myself for being able to ride about 3 miles without falling. Then, I decided I would attempt a horrific hill just up the road from our house. I think I could’ve done it, although it would have been TOUGH, I think I could’ve made it if not for those stupid clips.

We hadn’t had time to adjust them, the tightness or how easily they would clip and unclip. And so once I got to the very steepest part of the hill, I tried to unclip….and fell. I just toppled over, as you might imagine would happen with someone attached by the pedals to their stinkin’ bike. I was SO upset, but determined at that point to do it. So, right there in the very steepest part of the hill, I tried to take off again.

First of all, it’s HARD to take off on a steep incline without being clipped in, so that was my first mistake. As you might have guessed, I fell again. Harder this time.

And that made me mad. I don’t normally react that way. But somehow I was on this I-Can-Conquer-The-World kick and I’ll never know where it came from. So I got back on the bike.

And I fell AGAIN! This time, it was much worse. That’s when I jammed my straight handlebars into my chest. It felt like I ripped off my left boob. I thought sure it was bleeding. My right knee was pouring blood and Hubby had not made it down the hill yet.

Now after that fall, I was beyond angry. I was FURIOUS! Once Hubby got down to where he could see me, I started yelling. I had already kicked the bike away from me. I was SO mad, mad that I had tried so hard and failed, mad that he had forced me into doing something I didn’t really want to do in the first place. I demanded that he ride home (which was less than a quarter-mile away) and come pick me up in the truck. I wasn’t about to get back in those stupid clips.

About two months later, we did a local ride called The Thriller. Obviously, I did that one withOUT those blasted shoes.

This was in late September. It was cool and rainy. There was a fairly steady mist the entire time we rode. We were doing the 26 mile portion. It went right past our house, so it was on a route we ride all the time.

I was SO tempted to just stop at the house on the way back instead of riding back to the finish in the middle of town. But once we got to our driveway I decided to keep my big girl bloomers on and ride on in.

There’s a mid-sized downhill just before you get on the next-to-last road before getting to the finish. I’ve been down it dozens of times. It’s one of my favorite downhills. There’s a fairly sharp left at the bottom that runs into a mild incline, so it’s best to keep your momentum going so you can coast up the next little hill. That’s what I thought I was doing.

I headed down the hill at a pretty good speed, like always. The mist had stopped falling, but the roadway was still wet. As I got to the middle of the decline, I realized I probably should not have powered into it so hard and I tapped my back brake. I immediately started to fishtail, so I got off the brake and coasted the rest of the way. As I came into the turn, I could feel the bike hydroplaning. I tried turning slightly to avert my steady path toward the raised sidewalk to my right. That didn’t work, so I tried leaning to move myself toward the center of the road.

No luck with that either. I knew I was going to go down. At the same time, I saw an SUV coming toward me in the left lane. About that time, I hit the edge of that sidewalk and was slammed over onto my right side and slid about 12 feet down the sidewalk before coming to a stop in a very inglorious lump.

Turned out the people in the SUV was a guy from the cycling club and his wife. Hubby was far enough behind me that he didn’t see the incident, so he thought I had hit my brake and caused the wreck. He didn’t see me get slammed and go sliding. Thankfully, the Club Guy saw it. He and his wife parked in a lot across the road and came running over and got to me about same time Hubby did.

I thought sure I’d killed myself. But no. I was able to get up and walk to Club Guy’s SUV. He put my poor bike on the carrier and his wife drove me on in to our truck at the finish.

I have a nice scar on my right elbow to commemorate.

I’m not sure why I expounded on all this bike stuff. But I guess you should prepare for more. I’m doing the training so that I can get back in shape for the Redbud and so that I can hopefully whittle down this horrid pouch on my midsection.

Geannie, going for a ride!

That’s the most horrid thing about riding… the feeling of my upper legs hitting my saggy gut as I pedal. I hate being overweight but have never been able to get rid of it since my thyroid blew up on me.

Lord willing, my energy levels will go up and I’ll get more into riding again, ’cause right now? It takes a WHOLE lot to get me out to ride.

1 Corinthians 9:26-27 — “So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”

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