Friday, August 7, 2015
I am working a plan to be able to ride. Working myself into longer time on the bike, but not diving in so fast that I burn out, hurt myself, or become too sore to actually ride - I think it's called getting saddle time. Yikes, a new language to learn.
Somewhere in my head I thought biking would be easy. I didn't define easy, but I felt biking was something I could do. People everywhere do it. It wouldn't make me pound pavement or bounce along a road and cause knees and hips and oh my to hurt.
I didn't know that at 47 I would be learning to ride a bike again. Get on and pedal. Brake to slow down. Pedal to go faster. Simple enough when I was growing up. Even after I crashed my bike and went headlong over the handle bars (no helmet either!) and broke my collar bone, I got on again and rode. I was a kid.
I am well an adult now. Boy have bicycles changed. It's harder than I thought. I am surprised by that. I am pleased that my joints don't resent the activity, but it's harder than I thought.
First... there's the 'gear'. Special pants/shorts with padding in the 'right places'. And made out of spandex (or something like that) Hmmmm.
And shirts - some pretty crazy colors are available. Also stretchy and breathable.
And a helmet - very necessary.
And fingerless gloves. I like the gloves. They make me feel cool. And they reduce road vibrations.
And shoes. Weird shoes. Kinda like dress shoes - slick and shiny looking. But with velcro straps (no shoe laces for the chain wheel to catch) and a funky thing on the bottom that makes them difficult to walk in.
Which leads me to bike pedals...
You actually connect your shoes to the pedals? WHO ON EARTH THOUGHT THAT WAS A GOOD IDEA!? You are trapped on your bike! Because if you don't unclip before you stop, you fall over. Just like that. FALL OVER. Yes, I understand the principle of 'clipping in' and THAT makes sense, but it brings out a bit of claustrophobia I never knew I had. With practice however, I am learning to get untrapped. I mean unclipped.
Shifting is different, but I will state right away that that is a GOOD thing. Remember the little levers on your handle bar or down tube that you slid up or down just so far to get the gears to shift? You had to judge how much to push it and hope that it was far enough. Now you click this lever this way and it shifts up. Click another lever this way, it shifts down. Click this other lever over here and it shifts to the other chainwheel. Pretty simple. Except remembering what does what and what is up and what is down and what I need to do to get up a hill is challenging.
Hills... Today I made it up my nemesis hill. The one I made it up the very first time I did my very first official ride on the route my wife created and chose for us - but have been unable to since. My mind is a terrible thing. It can make or break me and often times it breaks me. Day in. Day out. I made it the first time because the route actually turns prior to getting to the very top of it. When I originally saw how long the hill was I panicked. And then I saw where I had to turn and poof I was off the hill and going on my merry way. Since then, it has been an insurmountable hill. I have gotten off my bike every ride since then to walk it. Sometimes, I haven't even tried. I just get off, walk up, get on and go. Sometimes, I go until I can't, then I get off. The whole time I am certain that everyone in the houses I pass is watching me, judging me, waiting for me to fail and have to get off my bike and walk up the rest of the hill. Who cares that it's 545 in the morning and they don't know me and they don't even live in my neighborhood to know anything about my patterns or habits to know when I will be riding by. Don't throw logic at me! I am certain they are waiting for me to ride by just to see if I make it. Or rather just to see me not make it.
The last time I got to the hill, another thought popped up. No one is watching me. No one at all. The only one watching me is me. The only one judging me is me. And I got off my bike. And I began pushing the bike up the hill. And I turned the corner and started to get on. I was now very secure in the thought that no one was watching me. So I got back on my bike and started off again. And looked up to see someone in their driveway, watching me. I stumbled on my bike, a foot slipped off because it hadn't yet clipped in and I heard him giggle a bit at my fumbling. GAH!!!
Truth be told, he was just walking down his driveway to get into his car and go somewhere. However, now I am convinced... they're all watching me.
Today, however, I made it up it without stopping. I think I even used my gears right. Way to go me!
Now to the vulnerable part of this post.
I am afraid to do this because I am afraid of failing. Because the last time I tried, I succeeded.
Then I failed.
I don't trust success.
Some people took it upon themselves to point out that I had failed. Quite publicly in fact. (http://lovelifeandpuppydogtales.blogspot.com/2008/07/truth.html)
In one instance (described in another blod post) a woman stood in front of me and pointed out to me, in public, with other people around, that I had gotten fat again and felt the need to inquire how it happened. The overwhelming emotions that experience, and frankly, the others like it that followed, were devastating. I don't want to feel that again.
That's my number now. It should be less. It needs to be less. I need it to be less.
I shouldn't let a number define me. I shouldn't. But I do.
And so I will pedal and search for success again. And hope success doesn't betray me.