Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt
Diary Of A Whimpy Biker
I have long liked the idea of biking, I have just never gotten to the point of actually doing it. When I am faced with going, it looses all of its appeal. It is just so much work. Plus, I would have to either go very early in the morning or go later at night (when I am dead tired from chasing little people all day) because biking with three kids in tow is not very practical.
The great thing about this “I have little kids” issue is that it provides a wonderful excuse for NOT going. To add to the “I can’t go” list is the fact that I am totally intimidated by the hard core cycling women out there. Why embarrass myself?
This thought process has worked for me for the past 11 years, as my husband has tried to get me biking for the majority of that time. Until last summer when I got sick and had to have a foot and half of my colon lopped out. When I was well, I decided that I needed to be better about taking good care of myself.
I was also greatly influenced by my neighbor, who is an avid cyclist and an all around dedicated athlete. She managed to give me just the right amount of encouragement and support.
I am certain that I can’ t be in this “newbie rider” boat alone. So, this will be a column of my experiences as a new cyclist. I will be completely honest in my experiences and hope to encourage others, you are allowed to laugh at me, I would if I were you.
One For The Road
I had made the official announcement that I was going to start riding. I knew this meant that Darrin, my loving yet pushy spouse, would start the pressure. He suggested that we go for a short ride. I had nothing going on! My first thought was, “how am I going to get out of this?”. My older kids were gone and we had nothing to do. I had to go, there was no way out of it. He said he would pull our two year old in the trailer, I thought that would slow him down, and maybe I could keep up with him. I had already bought a few essential items, so really I had nothing to get me out of this ride. I was sure it would be easy anyway, with him pulling the trailer on a mountain bike and it being a last minute idea, it should be no biggie.
We got ready and were in the driveway about to leave, I was lookn’ good in my new bike gear (one of the perks of biking is the fab gear you get to buy). I had made the choice to start out using the clip in pedals, kind of scary. I was on the bike and getting ready to leave when I lost my balance and couldn’t get my shoes out of the clips…wham! I toppled over and landed on the pavement with the bike still attached to my shoe! Not only did it hurt like a son of a gun, but my neighbors were all out in their yards and saw me fall! I had suffered my first injury and it was my pride! Darrin assured me, it would not be the last time I did that (oh good something to look forward too).
What little interest I had earlier was gone, but I was in too deep at that point so, against my better judgment, I continued on with the plan and started on the ride. About a block in I started to feel the burn in my legs. I was a little shocked at the pain I was experiencing. I always have taken pride in being strong and athletic. Then I remembered I had not really worked out in at least 5 years. 37 year old legs are not the same as 32 year old legs!
The ride lasted longer than I thought, 10 miles, not a long distance in cycling. I hit a few hills that hit back and nearly KO’d me. Darrin even had to push me from the back of my seat up a couple of the hills, so much for the trailer slowing him down! I had to take a 10 minute rest half way through. The ride home would be harder and I knew it.
We made it most of the way back and I just couldn’t give anymore. My legs were spent and the last big hill did me in. I got off of my bike and walked in shame to the top. I was so mad at myself for pooping out. I got back on and rode the rest of the way home upset and thinking that the whole biking ideas was not for me! “I wonder if I can take these shoes back?”
Finally, we rolled into the driveway, “Hallelujah!” Suddenly, the anger left and sense of accomplishment crept in. I realized I had done it. I had gone on a real ride and, although not perfect, I had done it. I managed to not fall a second time. Darrin cheered me for doing it and started telling me how much easier it would get. Then it hit me, “Crap! I have to do this again!”
Although I was not excited about going again, I was very proud of myself for going at all. That night I had the best night sleep I had had in a very long time. I was also surprisingly not sore, except for the bruises and scrapes down the entire left side of my body where I kissed the driveway!