It finally happened. I went down. I crashed...and it was traumatic. Ok, well it felt a lot worse than it really was.
I went to my first newbie ride a couple of nights ago with the triathlon club and it was rough! We met at a park and I assumed the ride was through the park for some reason. I've never road my bike with traffic before...ever! So when we headed out to a main road with moderate traffic and no shoulder or bike lane, I did everything I could not to freak out. I coached myself and said "Ok, KJ, just go in a straight line. Don't brake. You have people behind you." But when I did that, I felt my bike pull to the right, and I proceeded to let out every expletive I knew. Falling to the right would've landed me on a steep ditch with branches and trees. But I made it down the road without falling. We turned onto a much quieter road and it was much nicer - scenic even. I regained my composure and hugged the shoulder since there wasn't a bike lane.
Then...it happened. My bike was starting to go right again, while I was going down a slight decline so braking wasn't helping. This time, I tried to steer to the left and lost my balance. The bike and I took a tumble off of the side of the road. Thankfully I didn't do any real damage to me or the bike. I have some scrapes on my leg and on my arm, but nothing serious.
|My poor forearm... the least of the wounds|
|A little blood and mud for good measure|
No bruising. But I have to say that I was mentally toast after that. I was so angry with myself. I can sometimes be really hard on myself when I don't get something right. And I guess it didn't help that earlier in the week the cycling leader kept talking about someone wrecking last week and how annoyed she was with it. I didn't want to be that person and there I was, in the brush, holding up the entire ride. I got over it, grabbed my bike and got back on. I tried my best to do what I could but at that point, I didn't want to do anything to relive that incident again so I had a hard time staying to the right. I also stopped focusing on shifting and didn't make it up any of the steep hills on my bike. So I had to walk. Then it started to rain but by then, I was riding with the "sweeper" cycling coach (the one who stays with the stragglers) and another tri club member who I befriended at the hills workout who stayed back with me.
I was the last to finish and I felt defeated. I mean, I'm not giving up - I will do my part and practice on closed trails and paths. I need to learn my shifting and learn some more basics about road biking. I guess the newbie rides are good for practice...but definitely not a great place to learn. And I know that people fall...a lot... but I just didn't want to fall on that ride.
I have my first swim-bike-run workout tomorrow and I'm anxious to see how the bike ride goes. I haven't been back on the bike since this all happened. But I'm ready to focus.