Sunday, November 4, 2012

Revolution of a cyclist: Riding with the guys

First, don't worry. I won't be writing about each and every ride I take. It's just that for now it's all very new and I'm constantly surprised by my ability to survive my own ineptitude on the bike. Really, the last line of each post should always read....and she lives to ride another day. If she really, really wants to.

After the climb up to Fiesole Leif decided that I needed a new cassette if I was going to continue to enjoy riding so he got that put on and as soon as he did that the heavens opened up and it rained. For three days.

Friday the sun was (mostly) shining and we had an appointment to ride with one of Leif's team mates. So I got myself dressed and we headed out of town for a not too hilly ride south of Florence. Of course, knowing that 1) I'd be riding with an experienced cyclist and 2) he was a man (before all you feminists get angry with me, at this point men are just stronger riders than I am. Hopefully that will change.)and 3) he's from Colorado where mountains and hills are what he rides all the time made me totally nervous about riding that day. Add to that the fact that, for unknown reasons my seat was just a little too low, and it's no wonder I worried and worked too hard.

It was still fun, but I hated that I felt like apologizing all the time, when in fact I'm doing pretty darn good for someone who only started riding a couple of weeks ago. Except for one awkward moment when I realized that I was barely moving because I was on the wrong front ring for climbing I managed pretty well. I still don't go all bonzai on the downhills because I'm not clipped in and it's hard to keep a grip on the handlebars and my toes curled around the pedals and my butt glued to the seat so the bike stays under me. It will be both awe-inspiring and frightening when I manage the clips and can throw myself down the mountains without worrying about losing the bike. It really will be like flying.

The most exciting part? Aside from the downhill, that's a given. This is where my mom should stop reading. Well, not stop, but just skip to the next paragraph. Please. We managed to come home in the rain during Friday lunch rush hour through one of the most chaotic roundabouts in town. We wove through traffic in a way that was very non-Minnesotan. Three little bikes in the middle of 4 lanes of traffic slowly winding our way around every obstacle to reach our goal....the bike lane on the other side of the river. Why a hill can scare the crap out of me but sitting unprotected in the middle of hundreds of moving vehicles doesn't faze me is a question that may never be answered. But living where I do being able to ride in traffic is an asset, not a death wish.

And that's it. Ride #6 done and I didn't completely embarrass myself or Leif. Mission accomplished. And she lives to ride another day. If she really, really wants to. Which apparently she does, because as soon as I got home I sent a message to a girlfriend and asked if she wanted to ride the next day.

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