Ok, so I am learning, (thankfully) mostly through research and not trial-and-error, that there are a lot of things to learn about road biking and racing. I knew going into this that there would be a lot of things that I needed to figure out before I could hope to actually ride out there with experienced riders, and for sure before I raced. It’s like the ‘running world’, but with WAY more gadgets. Not to diminish the complexity of running (in fact, some might take this as a compliment) but cycling is just more complicated. Mostly, I believe, this is due to the fact that it’s not just you. It’s you and your bike. And your helmet…and shoes…and bike accessories…. There’ s just more stuff. With running, yes, you have technical clothing that’s important, especially shoes, but it’s really just about you. There isn’t an entire skill-set that needs to be developed when running in groups, the entire concept of slowing down and stopping doesn’t take practice. You just….stop. So yeah, it’s different. My goal is to learn as much as I can about the (big epidemiology word coming up-) “social norms” of the cycling world. What I’m learning so far is that much like with runners, there are standard accepted behaviors with some stuff, but wide variety of opinions in other areas. There are your die-hard clip-less pedal people (which is a lot apparently), and your half/half, and your i-don’t-think-so’s. And then you get into all the different kinds and reasons for riding. Are you just riding around town? Are you using your bike as transportation? Do you run errands? Are you trail riding? Mountain biking? Road racing? seriously.
Anyhow, I’ve only been out for quick rides twice on my bike so far. I know I like it, but I just need to spend some more time getting used to this fancy new toy and figuring out exactly what I want to be able to do. Right now I am still interested in someday doing at least a sprint triathlon (that would be a very short one), and I think I might be into some long races, but I have no idea. I totally want to do the Urban Assault in Austin this year, cause that just sounds completely fun. And isn’t that what it’s all supposed to be…fun? =)
Something I learned about clipless pedals: Ok, so you practice un-clipping out of your pedals, right, so you can put your foot down and not fall over, great. But I read an important tip. If you always lean to your right when you stop, getting good at unclipping on your left won’t do you much good if you still lean to your right and fall over anyway. 😉