It’s no secret that I hate spin class. (Written proof here.) I have forced myself to grind through a handful of the “Up! Down! Tighten the tension! Power up the hill!” pontifications of overly cheery spin instructors who do not seem to understand that at any given point in a spin class I am on the verge of either giving up or throwing up or both.
Which is why I fought getting a road bike. The only reason I did get a road bike is because completing a half-ironman (oh okay, you know me, a full ironman) is on the bucket list. The fact that I neither swim nor bike, however, makes this something of a stretch goal.
So when my dear friends Don and Kathi (both Ironmen competitors) offered to loan me an old road bike of Don’s, I reluctantly agreed. Don spent an hour fitting me to the bike and then they sent me on my way.
I should mention here that everyone at thesalesfactory where I work, bikes. EVERYONE. I was kind of proud of myself for resisting the Kool-Aid but when it came down to getting on the road, I called on fellow runner, friend and co-worker Chris Zona to show me the ropes.
Chris met me at the Trek bike store where he and a store employee immediately began a conversation about biking in what I can only assume was Swedish pig latin because I could only vaguely recognize about every forth word. Then Patrick, the store employee, put me on the trainer so I could practice clipping in and out of the pedals.
The trainer holds the bike stationary. It’s impossible to fall and thus makes clipping in and out easy. Or so I was told. Because I couldn’t do it. I flailed at the pedals like a blind Hell’s Angel trying to kick-start a Harley. The concern was evident on Patrick’s face as he helped me off the trainer, looked at Chris and as delicately as possible said something to the effect of, “I hope you’re going somewhere easy.”
To his credit, Chris was very patient as we first circled the parking lot and then headed to the greenway. And to my credit, I caught on fairly fast. It still takes me a couple tries to clip in but it’s nowhere as near as scary or difficult as I was imagining it to be.
And then the shock: I LOVE CYCLING. It’s the complete opposite of spin where they have you increase tension as you’re going up a hill. On the road, we get to make it easier to pedal on hills. Game changing, people. Game. Changing.
I rode 17 miles on Sunday and 15 today and have become the person I used to mock. The one with the padded ass and silly shoes that make you look like you’re a duck when walking and the “I’m-so-cool-and-you’re-not” attitude that comes from pulling up at a stoplight, unclipping, and pulling out the water bottle to take a big chug.
My goal is to bike 2-3x/week. I still have a lot to learn and am far from comfortable on the bike but what matters is that I don’t hate it. In fact, I kinda like it.
Just don’t tell my spin instructor.