Map of the ride – up the platte river to the clear creek trail, out for a bit, then turn around.
Time: 1:47 hours
Distance: 20 miles
Average speed: 11 MPH
Weather: cool & breezy, warmed up to mid 70s
Today’s ride was either doomed to epic failure, or the promise of awesomeness. It was the first day out with my new bike, and the weather was threatening to rain and possible thunder/lightning storms. We were riding as part of International Women’s Cycling Day, with the Cyclofemme event. Our ride organizer was the captain of the “Whirlygirls” team of women cyclists for the Venus de Miles in August.
I chose to do this ride for a few reasons:
2. Possibly test drive this team
3. Not too aggro a start on the new bike
Boyfriend and two other friends came along, and we met up with the women who was the ride lead, and another woman interested in doing the ride. I was hoping that these girls would be in my age group, and fitness range, but they were not. These were senior riders – by senior, I mean they were 20 years older than me. Not even just in age, because I am no spring chicken myself, and I have friends in the same age bracket as these ladies, but they were old in personality, and goals. When I ride, I ride to kick some ass and go balls out fast down hills, mash up them and scream obscenities at the geese on the path as I bomb past. (Don’t worry, the human pedestrian gets complete and total courtesy.)
The way these women ride is not wrong. It’s awesome. However, these were not the riders I was looking for. *hand wave* Anyway, despite that, it was a good early season ride, and the friends that joined me are fun riding partners. More water is a good thing, and for me, with more hydration, I could have easily put in another 10 miles, or worked at another 20. The new bike is a dream to ride.
There was drama though, of course. Isn’t there always?
We were heading to the meetup point for the ride, and boyfriend realized he forgot his helmet, so he turned back. I slowly circled around, and unclipped from from the right pedal. As I did that, another rider got quite close to me, and I tried to unclip from the left and balance out before starting off back to the car as well. Instead, I fell. Not only did I fall, though, I fell because my foot didn’t un-clip properly, and rocketed my weight away from the balance I had on the right. Why didn’t it unclip properly?
Because my cleat ripped apart.
Um….I don’t think this is supposed to happen!
Yeah. Down I went. Scuffed up my knee a bit, but it was alright. I was a little pissed about the shoe though, and waited for boyfriend to come back, as he had missed the fall. Fortunately, it all happened right outside of REI, so instead of heading back to the meetup point, I sent him over to meet everyone and apprise them of the situation, and I headed over to REI to see what could be done.
At this point, these pedals were the *second* pair I’d purchased for my bike. Initially, my shop had sold me on the Speedplay Zeros, which were incredibly aggressive and I was unable to master. I returned them, and got the Speedplay Light Action pedals, which I could get in and out of easily. That’s what was on my bike this morning. After two negative interactions with Speedplay, however, I was done. The REI girl tried to be sympathetic and encourage me to get Shimano SPD pedals….but, I have road shoes. No go. The bike shop had everything disassembled, and I jogged back to the shoe department in my socks, and picked out something else – the Look Kéo 2 Max pedal (in white!) – for a painful $180. I was NOT planning on dropping 2 bills this morning, but thank goodness I had my credit card on me, otherwise the ride would have been over before it started.
Sure enough, they got me fixed up, happily took my money, and we were underway about 1/2 hour later than we’d wanted to be, but it was fine.
The Look pedals took some getting used to, but I was able to get in and out of them with no problem. Let me just say – for people who think pedals are easy, and once you get them figured out, it’s no big deal – that’s fine – but the Speedplay Zeros I started off with were HARD. I’m pretty aware of my muscle control in my legs and get them to do the things I want to do….I was a dancer for 12 years, after all. But those were NOT easy. The Look pedals had me off and riding on the first day I had them, without practicing, without intimidation, and I felt secure in them.
In fact, I felt so secure that at the potty break (right where the Platte River trail splits and we headed onto the Clear Creek trail) I rolled to a stop, unclipped, and did a spectacular ass-over-teakettle fall, and ended up on my back, wheels in the air, laughing. It didn’t hurt, but that must be the sports adrenaline, because I have a giant bruise on my hip, and I shredded my other knee.
Pain is temporary… chicks dig scars.
No matter though. We went on for a bit longer, and at certain points I was testing the limits of the bike, and myself. Top speed on the ride was 25 mph, and average speed was 11 mph. I felt fine at the end, other than the gory bloody mess that was my knee.
Boyfriend and the friends and I headed to Ted’s Montana Grill after, and had some foods and beers to wrap up the afternoon.