Saturday, 23 January 2010

the results: first group cycle

today i delved into a world previously unknown; the group cycle. my local tri shop emailed me regarding a womens only cycle, 2 hours, drops and cleats required. i was pretty scared, for lots of reasons; but primarily;

1. i've never cycled in a group before. can i keep up and will i knock them all over like dominos when i struggle to clip in at lights?

2. i'm half deaf. will they try to talk to me and i won't be able to hear them? will they then think i am the *rudest* person ever like 47.8% people do when i first meet them.

3. what the hell are those hand gestures about and will i pick them up quickly, before i miss a crucial right turn? or will they expect me to use the gestures and will i look like a feckin' idiot?

we met at the shop at 8am and snuck looks at eachothers bike. i apologised for the amount of noise my bike, Jesus, was going to make and they asked what the problem was. i pointed, "that is rubbing" (extent of my bike knowledge) and the dude adjusted the gear cable and it was FIXED. damn that was fast. i was thinking of buying a new bike. Jesus has risen (again).

we set off and *immediently* i look like a fool. they crew ahead have jumped lights and crossed at the intersection, onto the footpath. i rarely do this, only in big emergencies when i know the road, so straight away i'm feeling panicked and the woman behind me, who organised it, was yelling instructions at me which of course i couldn't hear. ERG! so i look like a big spaz and did some dodge move across the intersections with cars and cyclists cursing me.

i make note to NEVER cycle outside my comfort zone, even if the group does these things.

we set off, and hit the hills, and then the countryside. for the first 10k i'm feeling a little cautious. i'm careful to keep pace with the leader, without treading on their toes (later i realise that's not the right approach, stupid me). the first time we stop they ask if i usually cycle on my own and i am shamed to admit i haven't group cycled before - and wonder secretly how they could tell. i decide to ask them about the hand signals and looks like they were communicating to me the whole way without me realising. whoops.

we did 35k in total, and by the end of it i was feeling much more relaxed, and would definitely do this again. i learnt a few things about my riding too, from watching the others;

1. i stick to the big chain and do not spin my legs EVER. i feel like i go faster in the big chain. watching the leader, they were spinning but still going faster than me. damnit.

2. i'm so uber cautious it's borderline embarassing. they were zipping here and there and were pretty fearless in traffic. and the hills - they were much faster/courageous. i hit 48kph down a slight decline and i would never normally do that.

3. i kept up. i'm okay.

training this week, like a lot of weeks past, has been hampered by other bits and bobs. however i've managed a 7km run, 2km run, weights, 4km run and now a 35km cycle. first cycle of the new year! time to get these peggies moving!

p.s. bike porn. i'm not quite at this stage with Jesus, but maybe if i had those hot wheels i would be


teacherwoman said...

I remember my first ride with a group; I was totally intimidating... I didn't know how to use my gears, I didn't know the hand gestures, etc. And to make things even better, 10 guys to 2 girls (including me). The odds were very nice, and I continued to join the group - to learn more, and especially for the odds.. lol

Beth said...

Good for you getting out there and riding with a big group! I would have been just like you. You get it all figured out and then report back, ok? :) Way to keep up!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Everyone loves bike porn.

The good thing about group rides is that you get pushed. Its not at your pace, its at the groups pace.

I am a big ring freak as well.

Jamie said...

Group ride rules are a little tough to get used to, but it is SO much more fun to ride with a group of good friends (especially once the hand signals become routine and you don't even have to think about it).

Oh. And bike porn = hot!

Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) said...

I've never ridden in a group either b/c it totally intimidates me! Maybe this year I'll work up the nerve and go on a group ride too!