Stories of a New Clipless Rider
Saturday, November 16, 2013
I've been having a lot of fun cycling the past 2 weekends! And, I hope to ride tomorrow... just hope the rain holds off!
Last Saturday, I FINALLY went to the park and joined the cycling group I've been a member of for about 9 months. Yep! I did it! There are probably about 150 or so riders and they divided into 6 groups. They divide by pace and by whether it is a "drop" or "no drop" ride. Since I didn't know they route & tend to get lost easily, I went with a "no drop" ride. I chose the longer distance - 40 miles at a 14-16 mph pace.
It was a chilly day and I dressed appropriately. There were only 5 in our group, where other groups had 40+. This was my first 'clipless' ride, and I did great! Well, until I had a flat at mile 30. There was no one behind me, so I pulled over... and forgot to unclip (since my mind was on my flat) and promptly fell... into the grass... which was actually sticker bushes! So, I had to pick out over 50 stickers from my shorts & jacket. Thankfully I had those on so the stickers weren't in my skin! My hip was a little sore, but not bad. Anyway, we changed the tire (well, someone changed it while I picked out stickers) and it immediately went flat again! We had checked the tire & didn't find anything. In the end, we had to call for someone to pick me up. We were all out of spare tires! But, it was a very nice 30 mile ride.
The following day, I joined my usual group which does either 18, 22 or 28 miles. I was sore from the first pedal! But, I kept going - just a little slower than usual. There was another lady there riding clipless for the first time and she was quite scary! She fell over before we started (which I can totally understand!), but every time we stopped she was screaming & falling. I steered clear of her! I finally got a second wind at about mile 15 out of the 22 we were doing. It's such a crazy feeling... to go from where it is a struggle to where everything feels so wonderful! It was a wonderful ride - and a prettier day than Saturday.
I did a spin class on Thursday. I worked so hard my legs were wobbling when I left! Yep... that's the way to get stronger!
Today I went back to the park where my group meets. I went with the same group but there were 11 of us this time. It was a GORGEOUS day starting in the upper 60's. I know some of you can't imagine that temp at this time of year! Anyway, I felt so much stronger than last week! We ended up doing 36 today, though I could have went off with 2 others who did the 40. But, they were faster & I was enjoying my group.
I didn't even know rain was in the forecast, and it started raining on us! Like a REAL rain! It was a little painful and it was sure a mess on my sunglasses. But, it only lasted about 5 minutes. I had to stop and clean my sunglasses.
Well, awhile later, I was leading our group and went across some railroad tracks - this is the first ride I've done that but it was our second set of tracks. I heard something metallic hit the ground and someone yelling to someone that they dropped something. I was yelling back asking if I needed to stop. Then I heard someone hit the ground. I pulled over immediately (I hope I signaled, but don't think I did - I was out in front by a bit, though). THANKFULLY, I remembered to unclip!
I sat my bike down and ran back to my new friend, Sheila. She was lying on the tracks and a truck was parked behind her and he was asking if she was OK. Thankfully, no, she was NOT hit by the truck. He'd just stopped to help. I grabbed her bike & he helped her up and we got off the road while asking again how she was. She said she'd hit her head hard and her ribs hurt, but otherwise she was fine. I had her give me her helmet and it was cracked pretty badly! I asked if she'd ride back with that guy - we were only about 3 miles away. And, thankfully, she agreed.
I went back and asked the guy if he'd take her back. Well, it turns out he was from our group! He was in his cycling shorts and had his bike in his truck. So, he took her back.
I was thrilled to see Sheila when we finished our ride. She was doing well, but her side really hurt and she was afraid she'd cracked a rib. We were also afraid she had a concussion. Since then, I've heard she did go to the ER and got checked out. Nothing's cracked or broken! (They checked ribs and head.) So, she's doing well - just sore! I'm so thankful!
Yes, cycling can be a dangerous sport. But, it can also be so much fun. We just have to do our best to stay safe out there! Happy riding! (or happy running!)