On Sunday, I went on my first real bike ride.
That’s my worried face.
There were worried tears as I got dressed, as I drove to the start of my route, and as I put my helmet on. It may seem insane but remember, I didn’t learn to ride in the wonderbubble of childhood invincibility. I’m learning as an adult who has fallen down, been in car accidents, and has generally been banged up a bit.
I set off with the intention of riding around Bay Farm island. From my research, there would be a paved path around the perimeter of the island. And there is. I just didn’t follow it.
Each one of those little, gray pins is a place where I stopped. The first few miles were fairly smooth sailing. I stopped a couple times to decide which way to go or just to calm down.
Around mile four, I ventured on to real roads! It was fairly early in the morning so there weren’t many cars on the street. I actually preferred the smooth paved roads to the bumpy bike path. I had a bike lane most of the time and cars passed me with a wide berth. As nervous as I was about the *idea* of riding with cars, the reality of road riding was very freeing.
So, why did I tear up several times during the morning and off and on ALL day when I got home? Well, if you take a look at miles 5-8, the route is a mess. Stops, starts, and a LOT of backtracking. I ended up in some residential streets and got lost literally 15 times. I was near the end off my ride and every time I looked down at RunKeeper, I was FURTHER away from the goddamned bridge back to my car. It was absolutely maddening. Because I’d veered off the bike path, I also had to contend with some busy intersections. During the ride, I struggled with pushing off and beginning to ride. Even when I had the right of way at an intersection, I was so afraid that I wouldn’t get my bike going that I let cars go by. This situation probably came up three or four times and it was absolutely demoralizing. When I write that, I feel silly and dramatic but in the moment, I couldn’t have felt further away from my triathlon ambitions. The idea of riding a BIKE IN A RACE…..IN JUNE…… It just feels very far.
Eventually I got back to the bridge where my route began. I looked like this.
I was really shaken up for the rest of the day. Came home to Tim a puddle of tears. I planned to run 5 miles but I was completely drained emotionally. Instead, I ate an insane amount of terrible food and spent the rest of the day in bloated misery.
Look at me, growing.
With a couple days of distance, I am proud of that experience. There were a number of positives:
* I didn’t die!
* I didn’t fall!
* I didn’t cause harm to any children, animals, or drivers.
* I didn’t get so lost that I couldn’t get back on track.
* I didn’t hurt.
* I didn’t QUIT.
Yesterday, I returned to Bay Farm for my 5 mile run. I ran the part of the route that confused me so I would be prepared to ride it again this Saturday. That’s right! I’m going for a redemption ride this weekend to get comfortable with the route and my bike.
Oh, after YouTube teaches me how to fix this:
When was the last time you did something CRYING SCARY?