Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Blue Terror

As many of you know, I am terrified of my bike.

The blue terror has earned its name pretty well. I bought the bike from a nice guy and his wife on Craigslist. I know, I know, I heard the lectures about buying a bike from some place other than a shop, but y'all, there was just no way I was going to afford a half IM worthy bike from a store. Even used.

I stalked Craigslist for a couple days, asked around about a couple bikes, but nothing was just right. I'd already gone down to a bike shop with the help of Blair, and learned roughly what I needed.

The post came up, a 52cm women's road bike. Hardly used. Upgraded brakes. Turns out the guy selling it bought it for his wife, she took it out for the first time clipped in...and then promptly ate it (as everyone does when they go clipless). She took the hit so hard that she bent the right side of the handle bar. Shortly thereafter, she got pregnant. You can imagine how the conversation went regarding the bike. Original owner: 0, Blue Terror: 1.

So, I took it for a ride and, knowing precisely 0 about bikes, bought it.

Second owner: 0, Blue Terror: 2

The first time I clipped in, I actually did not fall. I will admit that it was a terrifying day of being about 2-3 minutes behind my team at all times, and every time I had to clip out, I had a mild panic attack and jumped off my bike. Yup. You read that right. Jumped off of it.

I didn't fall that ride. Instead, my legs gave out while I was getting off my bike and talking to my coach and THEN I ate it.

Mia: 0, Blue Terror: 3

The next time I went out with my team, we were near traffic. This was a HUGE mental block for me. I'm really careful to notice bikes, but what about other people out enjoying their Saturdays? Fat chance. We actually did fairly well until a cop pulled over part of our team to scold us for slowing instead of stopping at a stop sign with no other traffic. She had the nerve to tell us that we were the reason motorists hated cyclists...

Honey, have you worked in Dupont?

Regardless, I was catching up with my team and went to stop, but left too much weight on my clipped foot and just went right over. It does feel just like slow motion. I left bloody palm prints on my handle bars that morning.

Mia: 0, Blue Terror: 4

When I got back from my group ride, my coach made me practice clipping in and out over and over and over again. I had a total freak out. God bless my coach she pulled a total parent move on me. I know that tone of voice. She held my bike upright and made me practice in out in out in out. I was shaking and she said "Calm down. You can do this." And she's right...I could! Tentative victory!

Then I had to clip in and ride a little in the grass, unclip and get off and do it again. I fell the second time. Ouch, but less painful on grass versus pavement. Slightly more tentative victory!

Thus was the pattern for several weeks.

And then, one miraculous morning, I got up, got my bike on the car and drove to Haines Point. The gates were still closed, so after I wobbled off, clipped in, I had to jump a small curb (ACK) and make a quick wiggle around a post (AAAHHHHH) and go back down a curb (UGCK). This started out nicely enough

Mia - .5, Blue Terror: 4

Somewhere around my second lap, my legs were crapping out. Everyone else looked like they were sailing past me. Well, not looked like...they WERE. So, I stopped, put air in my tires*, and continued. No dice. 12 miles ish in an hour.

(* wait for it...wait for it...scroll down...)

Two weeks ago, I go out for my first big brick workout. I am SO excited. I go for my 10 mile run, come back, all excited about a 30 mile bike. My plan was to do two out and backs on the Capital Crescent. 7 miles out, kids were passing me on bmx bikes. No joke.

I stopped, almost threw my bike over the trees and texted Alicia:
"Chadd doesn't have his phone, so I'm telling you this. I'm on the Capital Crescent Path, I'm about 7 miles into 30 and I feel like total shit. If I don't text you by noon, please call me."
To the credit of the amazing Alicia, she offered to come pick me up. 

I made my first 15 mile loop, swearing, huffing, puffing, and all but ready to give up. I rolled up to Coach and told her that I was going abysmally slow. Even for someone who just ran 10 miles. I had this mental image of being the last swimmer out of the water at Patriots and then having the sag wagon pick me and the Blue Terror up at mile 15 on the bike.

She squeezed my back tire.

"*That's flat."


Mia - 0, Blue Terror: 5 (See below on my critical mistake on how to inflate your tires)

Tire pumped, legs still on fire from my accidental 15 mile slog, Coach sent me back out for 5 miles, to Haines Point and back. Huzzah! I'm flying! Garmin is reading 17-19 miles an hour. WOOHOOO.

Annnnnd that was the last time I got out on the bike due to heat, fear of traffic, or that one time when I ate it on the pavement a mile into my run on my brick workout and had to call it a day.

The Blue Terror and I did sit on the demon trainer from hell yesterday and managed to put a nice black mark on the carpet (redecorating, the triathlete way!) but for now, we have a tentative agreement. If we stay off the demon trainer and keep air in the tires, we'll both be a lot happier.

Me and the Blue Terror

(:12 make sure you unscrew the valves!)