Tonight I attended my second tri club meeting within a week, cycling 101. (Look at me, so dedicated to meetings. Let’s hope I can translate this into actual physical activity)! I don’t know why I was (am) so presumably worried about the swimming aspect of the tri when there are the less obvious fearful activities involved like biking. It is an understatement to say I have a LOT to learn. New words and phrases like “pedal stroke”, “hood” and “clipless shoes” (which, incidentally CLIP into the pedal) are banging around in my head knocking out more pertinent info like my to do list, car pool schedule and doctor appointments. And this is all before I’ve even gotten on the bike!

I do, however, need to backtrack and say that the folks at Action Wheels are amazing. Patty was so knowledgeable and informative (and she is the self proclaimed non tech guru of the group). She couldn’t have been friendlier or more welcoming, simultaneously self deprecating and impressive as she took us through her store’s humble beginnings and her recent bike ride from North California to Las Vegas (for those non geographically savvy types like me, this is over Six.Hundred.Miles…. in six days)! 

In the hour and a half that we were there Patty stressed the importance of choosing a bike that has been professionally fit for you, the need for pumping up your tires before every ride, helmet safety and the basic necessities for a ride (bottle cage and bottle of water for every 20 miles you plan to ride and a flat tire kit). She also reviewed some of the more intricate aspects of cycling, such as how to remove a tire and how to put all your weight into a pump to extract every ounce of needed air pressure for your tires. (Note to newbies: for the water bottle cage, you need to have the appropriate water bottle, not a disposable 8 ouncer of Poland Spring. This can apparently dislodge and cause some major havoc on the road. Who knew?!). 

Below are a few additional take-a-ways:
~ I can’t change a flat on my car, but need to learn how to do on a bike. Realistic? Probably not. I will be sure my cell phone is fully charged before each ride. (anyone know if AAA has road side bike assistance)?
~ The inside of a bike helmet is made of similar material to that of a cooler. (Similar? Same? I can’t remember, I got side tracked thinking of how my new $45 helmet will be doing double duty as a cooler for wine)!
~ The largest muscle group on your body is your gluts… that explains a lot

All joking aside though, I think Patty so eloquently put it (on a Wednesday night, in the middle of a bike shop, surrounded by “newbies”), that one of the most exciting things about signing up for a triathlon is the personal challenge it evokes, one that is truly for us the “individual”, the “athlete” not us, the “mom”, the “employee”, the “friend/daughter/confidante” we so often are. It is something we can (and will!) accomplish simply for us and it will belong to no one else. I like that. I like that a lot.

Stephanie

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