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The corn is tassling!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Well, some of it, anyway.


Took DH on a 3-hour bike ride today. It was also my inaugural ride since I got my clipless pedals put on. For you non-cyclists out there, when you use clipless pedals, your shoes are ATTACHED to your pedals. So, if you forget to clip out of your pedals before you come to a stop, you can't put your feet down and you fall over - like a giant dork. I've been told by experienced riders that falling over is inevitable. Everyone does it while they're getting used to the pedals. With that in mind, I wanted to get comfortable with the pedals before trying to commute to work. I don't need to be falling over at a stop light in traffic!

So we went out for a ride this morning in an attempt to beat the heat. It was about 80 degrees with a 10 MPH ESE wind when we left. The wind is important. We generally try to plan our rides so that we have a headwind going out and a tail wind going back. Since the wind wasn't too bad today, we just went out on our usual bike trail, which heads toward the east and then north on the way out, so we had a head wind for part of the way on the way back. Not terrible; I figure I can't let head winds stop me b/c I won't be able to control the weather during RAGBRAI!

Although the trail runs through town, it follows a flood-control creek, so mostly undeveloped in its immediate vicinity (other than farmland). Since this was going to be a bit of an endurance ride, I wasn't pushing too hard and was taking in the scenery. The corn and soybeans were coming up nicely. The corn nearer our house was only about 3 feet tall, but the corn 10 miles away was starting to tassle! Really feels like summer when the corn starts tassling!

DH was riding ahead of me most of the way. There were a few times that he rode along side me and tried to talk to me, which made me a little uneasy. There were A LOT of cyclists and pedestrians out today and riding side by side made me worry about collisions! At one point, he also swerved my way and freaked me out enough to make me go, "Woop!" He just said, when you're riding in a group, people are going to bump into you.


On our way north, he was telling me to follow him closely when we turn south so I could draft off of him. At our turnaround point (about 15 miles), he was almost out of water (he squirts it on himself as he rides, in addition to drinking it) so he rode to a nearby gas station to refill. While waiting for him, I noshed on my homemade trail mix (with dark chocolate M&Ms!) and hydrated some more.

When I saw him riding toward me after getting his refill, I started working on clipping my right pedal in (you have to clip the second one in on the fly), which is a challenge in and of itself. It snaps in there really tight, like a giant snap on a baby's onesie, so until you get used to finding the sweet spot where the shoe meets the pedal AND apply enough pressure to get it to engage, it's a real challenge. I got my right one clipped in before he got back to me, though and just as he passed me to get back on the trail, I positioned myself to push off and go when I felt my center of gravity shifting to the right...the side that was clipped in to my pedal...

In embarrassing slow motion, I helplessly felt myself falling...into a pile of sand on the trail. Whew! No scrapes! BUT, in my futile attempts to avoid the fall, I managed to give myself a hernia-esque stomach cramp. So, I knelt there a few seconds with my right knee in the sand, pushing on my stomach cramp (intestine?) until it subsided, then I laid down on my right side, unclipped my pedal, got up, brushed off the sand, and told Sally (I named by bike Sally Ride) that now that we got THAT out of the way, we weren't falling anymore. Then we clipped back in on the right and took off. Miraculously, I got the left pedal clipped in on the first try! It's not uncommon for it to take me half a mile of coasting to get that second pedal clipped in. I attribute it to Sally feeling guilty about the fall.


DH tends to ride pretty hard, so I figured he'd be way ahead of me, but not far up the trail he was waiting for me. He didn't see me fall, but wanted to trade water bottles with me. He gave me his fresh, cold bottle and took my warm bottle. (Awwwww, such a gentleman!) I was planning to draft off him like he told me, but either he forgot or decided I was too slow, because he left me in the dust. Oh well, no big deal. My right quad was a little cranky (just tired, not injured), so I didn't want to push it too hard since I knew I had a 90-minute ride still in front of me!

We had talked earlier in the ride about taking an alternate route back, but I was unfamiliar with the route, so when I reached the point where it would have diverged from the way we went out, DH was waiting for me. He said that he was spent and was okay with just heading home. I agreed, and we decided on a point about 4 miles away where we would meet to rest a bit. Off he sped while I kept to my comfortable pace.

During the ride I was thinking about how comfortable I was. The breeze kept me from feeling too hot, so I didn't understand why DH kept wasting his water by squirting it on himself. It helped me, though because when I came across his water drips on the concrete of the trail, it reminded me to rehydrate! My leg fatigue had also abated, so I was feeling pretty good.

DH was waiting for me at our rest point. He was out of water, but I still had a 1/4 of my big water bottle and my small water bottle was full, so he used part of my water to refill his. As we were sitting there, he said he thought he was going to throw up. This is the man who likes to brag how much he loves the heat; how he thrives in the heat. I was baffled. He asked me to try calling our friends to see if they could come pick him up. I got their voicemail, so he decided to suck it up and bike home. I suggested he wait in the shade for me to go home and get the car and come back for him, but he's stubborn.

He was STILL riding harder than me at this point. We were only about 3 miles from home, but there were two big hills in our way. I ended up having to stop at a stop light (translation: unclip) on the way. I didn't fall over, but I had a heck of a time getting my left pedal clipped back in. I had to ride up the last hill without it, which sucked. Oh well, I was still feeling pretty strong at that point, so no big deal, just annoying.

Made it home. Inaugural clipless bike pedal ride a SUCCESS! I really did notice a difference in the efficiency of my pedaling with the new pedals. It will be nice when I can clip in and out without fighting with it, though!

I was also trying out some new techniques to protect the hoo-ha. DH's friend who does RAGBRAI is a woman, so I asked her about it and she suggested applying A&D ointment before the ride, so I tried that and I think it really helped. Also tried out a new pair of gel shorts, which were nice. My bike store installed a new saddle with a front cutout to help prevent the crushing sensation I was having and it helped for THAT issue, but I think it's too wide on the sides because my sit bones are having a terrible time adjusting to it. They have another seat on order for me that should be here in a week or so. Hoping I can get it broken in before RAGBRAI!

Now, for your amusement: This is the way I found DH when I came downstairs after taking my post-ride shower

Yes, that's the infamous kilt. **sigh**
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Congrats on the ride.

    On a side note, I actully googled "corn tasseling" - because clearly I am bigger geek than I previously thought. Anyway... you will be happy to know that I got a thorough education on corn tasseling and watched a video on youtube. No really.

    Thank you for teaching me something new today :)

    2084 days ago
  • TIFFY0906
    Congrats on the successful ride - glad you were ok after your fall. DH is never giving up that kilt, he is way to comfortable.
    2085 days ago
    Sounds like a good ride! Good idea to get the falling out of the way. Love the kilt!
    2085 days ago
  • WINNIE1978
    I'm glad you weren't hurt when you fell... and that you got that first (and hopefully last) fall out of the way!

    Every time you mention your DH and the kilt it cracks me up!
    2085 days ago
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