This past weekend I participated in a 20 mile bike ride to help raise money for our church. I was the only person that signed up for 20 miles this year.
The lady that rode with me last year ended up having knee surgery, lost her mother, and had her husband leave her for another woman all in the last couple of months. It really wasn’t a good year for her so I can’t really complain about a little fear of biking.
I realize that I haven’t spoken about running or racing at all since I competed in the Half Iron a couple of months back. Completing the Half Ironman was one of the biggest accomplishments in my life. I wish I could capture that feeling and put it in a bottle. Its scent is more enchanting than the world’s sweetest perfume.
After the Half Iron, I took 3 weeks off from exercising. I typically take 1 week off after a large race to re-cooperate. Then we went for our week 20th anniversary sailing trip, so we were on vacation..Between these two events, it was one of the best summers ever!
Anyway, that first run was difficult. It always is. I don’t get too hard on myself if I need to walk a little that first time out after a grueling race.
However, I noticed now that I feel very anxious on my bike. I feel kind of embarrassed about it. I think part of it is feeling a lack of control over the clip on shoes. My right foot has been hard to unclip and I feel nervous since I fell. I sprayed my pedals with Pam before I left home.
The main roads were very busy on the bike ride. I was afraid that I was going to fall in the church parking lot and make a fool of myself in front of all the people. I had to maneuver around a lot of cars and a tractor on the road. Yes, a tractor! It was challenging.
After about 10 miles, I started to relax once I got on the back roads. I stopped a couple minutes to re-hydrate. A couple passing in a car stopped to ask if I was okay. There are still some good people left in the world..
As I was biking past tall reeds and weeds, I heard a loud crashing noise. I scared two deer out of their hiding place in the tall grass and boy did they scare me!
I hesitate to ride my bike in the center of the lane because of cars. I hesitate to hug the ditch because of animals. I almost hit a skunk last year on my bike. I scared up deer, many rodents, and wild turkeys. Sometimes animals that are afraid are unpredictable. At first, the wild turkeys came towards me as I was riding by them.
The busier road I took on this ride was under construction. There were bump signs and I had to dismount my bike. I also walked it through a busy intersection. It took awhile to get back on my bike because there were so many cars. There was a semi that passed me up a hill in a no passing zone which always scares the crap out of me. I’ve had a few close calls with cars as you can imagine if you are an outdoor runner or biker.
Sometimes I also feel lightheaded. That scares me. Seriously, what doesn’t??!
As I was pulling up to a stop sign near the bike ride rest stop, I was able to unclip my shoes but I couldn’t reach ground. I hit the brakes and almost flew off my bike. I tried to put my feet on the pedals, but they slipped off. I almost fell. Great way to make an entrance to the snack and hydration area! Look at me! The only biker that went 20 miles and crashed into the snack table! Well, it wasn’t that bad but I had them lower my bike seat so I could touch the ground easier. I think that is going to help me a lot!
Last year was the first time I biked 20 miles…since then I did an Olympic tri that was all hills and completed the Half Iron.
I hate to say this but I don’t think I enjoy biking as much now as I did when I was a kid. But I did accomplish much over this past year and think I can conquer this newfound fear.
I am still not sure what is on my racing menu for next season…but I am still biking and out running!!