A Rich Man’s Sport

I already know what you’re thinking. It’s been almost two whole weeks since you were cleared to ride, and there have been no freakin RIDE POSTS since then. Annoying, right? Well, that ends today! Let’s do a quick rundown (ridedown? I think not). I finally got the bike set up on the trainer a week ago Thursday. Put on ye ol’ bike shorts, busted out the clippy shoes (which are hell to walk in on hardwoods), and hopped on the bike. And by hopped on, I mean struggled to fling my leg over the top bar and then struggled again to get clipped in. The climbing block that we bought makes the stupid bicycle tall!

I got my legs spinning for few minutes, clicked through a few gears, and quickly realized something was wrong. My right hand shifter thing kept getting stuck inward. On the upshift, this was fine; I could just push it back out. When downshifting though, I seemed to get these weird half-shifts, where the big bar came in and out but the little bar stayed stuck in. (I’m sure there are technical names for these parts, but damned if I know them). Still, I kept at it for a full Friends episode, trying to find that place on the saddle where my hiney is actually comfortable and trying to get used to that spinning motion again. The weight bearing on my shoulder/elbow wasn’t too bad, but the angle at which my left arm sticks out is dang weird. By the time credits were rolling, I had determine my bike needed to see the inside of shop. The shifter issue was driving me batty.

Two days later I took the beast into Palo Alto Bikes for repair. A quick inspection showed that my problem was “likely unfixable”. Apparently the shifter things is part of a whole unit that they can’t really pull apart to repair. The shop guy offered to try to bend the piece back straight, but if it failed I was looking at a $200-250 repair bill to replace the part. Eeeeep! To remind you, I had just replaced the rear derailleur on the bike the week before my accident at a cost of $200. $450 in parts in six months?? I really need to get this under control – the entire bike only cost $1400! (Seriously, who knew cycling was for the rich?) Twenty minutes later I received a call from the shop that everything was fine; the shifter was fixed. Woohoo! Only, after testing, it’s not really fixed. The plastic piece can be bent forward for a short amount of time, eliminating the clicking issue…but after a few shifts it reverts back to it’s normal (aka screwed up) state. Sigh. For now, I’m trying to just deal with it. Maybe Santa will bring me a new shifter (or a new bike?!) for Christmas! Hint hint.

So I brought my oft-abused bike home and planned to hit the road for real this week. I get everything ready to go, only to realize that I don’t own a helmet. At least not one without a giant crack in the middle. Well, crap. Off to Performance we go. I pick out the helmet that I want only to find that the Campbell store only has Mediums in bright-ass red and blue. Now, I try not to be overly matchy-matchy with my bike gear, but come on! I am peach/pink colored with red hair. My bike is silver, purple and black. In what world does electric blue match this?! The sales guy is awesome however, calls the Mountain View location, and secures me a white and silver helmet in my size. Woot! I head over Monday and pick up my new Giro Atmos helmet (which, conincidentally kinda matches my bike) at a 15% discount…plus reward points. Mind you, the thing still ran me well over $150 post-discount. As Charles said, “Well, it’s more incentive for you not to fall anymore.” Like I ever intentionally fell? Thanks hon!

Helmet in hand and bike in psuedo-repair, I was out of excuses (ahem…reasons) not to ride. Wednesday afternoon I suited up and hit the road. For real. And while the ride was ultimately successful, I can’t claim it was too exciting. Being that it was my first time out in months, I confined myself to a few trips up and down my street followed up by an exhilarating spin…around the block.

I did discover a few things on my ever so short trip. For one, I can’t easily switch my “default clip out foot”. I’ve always clipped out on the left, and I thought that with that being my bad arm, it might be easier to start out on the right each time instead. No go. My brain thinks about clipping out on the right, and then executes a left foot de-clip. Oh well, it was worth a shot. My overall comfortability and confidence on the road were pretty low; possibly lower than when I started fresh (after 12+ years of no riding) back in May. I’m sure that will get better the more I get out, but I was dang slow coming off stops and even going around turns. Sigh. Additionally, the vibrations from the road are definitely less than comfortable on the arm, most especially the elbow. Hopefully strength training and some additional rides help this out – and quickly! I’m going to try and hit up the pacelining clinic on Saturday and see how riding goes with actual people around on actual roads. Wish me luck!


1 Response to “A Rich Man’s Sport”

  1. 1 Ron November 29, 2007 at 6:43 pm

    Welcome to the real world šŸ™‚

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What do we have here?

An often sarcastic, occasionally humorous journal of my training adventures in preparation for the Livestrong century ride. I took up cycling back in '07 in hopes of meeting new people, and, with the help of Team in Training, making my small positive difference in the world -- and haven't stopped spinning since. Follow along as my Trek road bike and I try and hash out our differences, hopefully with me upright and in the saddle.

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