I took last week off work, but it’s not the perfect holiday until a bike ride is involved. Temperature today was over 5C. Is it really January in Canada? Not complaining, in fact, I give Mother Nature a huge THANK YOU!! I took full advantage of the warm (but breezy!) day to start training for the 2012 season. My motivational goal is to have the nerve to race in Centurion C50 this summer & not finish last or get laughed at by the spectators. I also need to practice using clipless shoes. I had a 5min ride on Christmas Eve with clipless for the 1st time, and yep, I fell on dismount. My Christmas gifts were scrapes and bruises. I vow to not embarrass myself when I’m riding with others come Spring. Practice it is!!
I chose a familiar route (Route Map) – the one to Belfountain, but shortened it because I didn’t intend on cycling over 2 hrs today. I ensured it was mostly traffic-free in case I fall. As I headed out, I realized my bike chains slipped off the front sprockets. I know NOTHING about bike repairs, not even the basics. Very embarrassing, I know! I struggled for at least 15min trying to fix it. UGH! They miraculously went back on but my hands were covered with lubricant. Is there an easy way to clean lubricant off skin?? My hands were still black when I finally headed out.
It was so windy. I was fighting against 30km/hr wind & over 44km/hr wind gust. I enjoyed the efficiency of my pedal strokes esp on uphills. However, I had to constantly remind myself to unclip as I approach red lights. There were a couple of close calls. As I pushed off at an intersection, my right foot would not clip in. I lost my footing at least 3 times. I knew I was a goner since my bike wasn’t even moving and I’ve no idea how to track stand. I was going to fall …. at an intersection with lots of witnesses. But somehow, I stayed on and managed to start pedaling. I’m pretty sure drivers were laughing at me. I would’ve laughed at myself!! After a hiatus from outdoor cycling for over 2 months, I felt like I forgot all techniques on gear changing. I was still on high gears up a steep hill. It must be comic relief for drivers as I struggled up those hills, rpm so slow I was going to fall off.
Techniques aside, it was an interesting ride. Very different from the hot & blazing-sun rides I’m used to. The scenery wasn’t blooming in colours & trees were bare. Without any cyclists in sight, I felt very alone. So this is what riding in winter is like, eh! I had enough of the wind before reaching my intended turnaround point. I wanted to go home. The ride back was much better since it was mostly downhill with strong tailwind. It was my shortest ride yet – just under 35km & 1.5hr. Nonetheless, a benchmark for 2012. Based on today’s performance, I am definitely not at Centurion level. I have lots to work on in terms of improving my core strength, biking techniques, and speed.