Saturday, June 06, 2009

Descent from Mount Euphoria

Two not so fun bike-riding things happened recently. The first was that cane ride I mentioned last time. We finished it totally exhausted. Totally. Everything hurt below the chin, and I could hardly move the rest of the day. I thought maybe it was just the pace of the ride. Most of the riders were Really Fit People, and my friend and I were at the back of the pack. Idly enquiring as to what distance we'd ridden, we discovered we'd done 37km. This explained why we were so wiped out. Almost too wiped out to be proud of the distance. We would never have done it if we'd known the distance beforehand. On the plus side, distances in the mid-20kms now seem rather arbitrary.

The other thing which happened was I took the plunge and got my first pair of shoes with cleats, which just seem to be known locally as 'cleats', and corresponding pedals. Loads of people getting started in the sport swear, at the beginning, that they'll 'never get cleats'. And then people become tempted. The more you start riding hectic routes, and the more ambitious you get, the more you can see the benefit of being attached to the pedals. (Sounds silly, I know.) But cleats let you get up hills more easily (each foot can pull as well as push), the design of the shoe and the rigidity of the sole makes for more efficient use of energy (though they're not great to walk in), and you're more stable without your feet being able to slip and slide off the pedals (which tends to happen quite readily on fast descents and rocky bits).


Getting in and out of the damn things takes a lot of practice. Four days riding with cleats, and seven falls to date. Trying to come to a stop in a hurry, try to uncleat - crash. Not fun, especially on day 2 when I took four of the falls. It was a bit of a confidence shaker. (What have I done, this was a stupid idea, will I ever enjoy bike riding again, etc.)

I'm hoping things are improving. I'm going to persevere for at least June and see how things look by the end of the month.

According to local lore, apparently seven falls is the magic number, and then you stop falling. Or, in that wikipedia page on the pedals,
First time clipless users may not be proficient in unclipping quickly when coming to a stop, sometimes resulting in a low speed fall.

Another busy weekend is ahead of us, with a sponsored walk tomorrow morning at Danny's school, followed by a sleep-over for him, along with the rest of his class (the 'senior' class). There are about 10 of them in the class, and the sleep-over is the highlight of their three years at the pre-school. So he's pretty excited about that.

Then, in the afternoon, while Dan's staying on at school, the rest of us will be watching Lauren in another gym competition. This one is the KZN provincial selection meeting. The results will determine the KZN team who'll represent the province at the inter-provincial meeting in a few weeks time. Should be exciting. I hope Lauren's ok tomorrow. She's not been feeling very well the last week or so.

Sunday morning will be Dan's first soccer match ever, against another club. He's been waiting for this for months. I hope it lives up to his expectations.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, sometimes I think cleats are the devil's work. Nifty, but risky. Luckily, total number of actuals falls for me is low; almost falls = high.