Sunday, April 4, 2010

Century Training - Week 3; Day 7

Day: 7
Ride: Pace
Route: Hilly
Scheduled Mileage: 11
Actual Mileage: 21.82
Average Speed: 13.5 mph*
Max Speed: 29.1 mph
*Includes city street speed average

Average BPM: 136
Max BPM: 188
Calories: 651

Random Notes to Self:
  • Had my first fall today; how fast was I going at the time of my tumble? I'm so excited you asked and not at all embarrassed to reply that I was going 0 mph.
  • Need to memorize the gears on my cassette; these are my gears: Gear 1 = 25; Gear 2 = 23; Gear 3 = 21; Gear 4 = 19; Gear 5 = 17; Gear 6 = 16; Gear 7 = 15; Gear 8 = 14; Gear 9 = 13; Gear 10 = 12 (the latter numbers are the number of teeth on each cassette).
  • Learned what was causing the scratchy tick on my front plate last Thursday.
  • Found my new favorite springtime streets in Brooklyn: 5th Avenue and 3rd Street.

According to Bike 101 on The CARE Exchange, it's almost impossible to come up with a truly original way to embarrass yourself on a bike. The rest of us have already, as they say, been there, done that. Just ask your fellow cyclists for their stories about their first clipless pedal fall.

I might have an original story since I have consciously tried to avoid doing anything stupid while pedaling, and my continuing education as a rookie cyclist has now also taught me that I need to likewise avoid doing anything stupid while not pedaling. But we'll get to that.

As has become customary on Sundays, I left job #2 around 4:30am, snagged an hour catnap and met my cycling coach at 6:30am a few blocks from my apartment, at one of the half a dozen Starbucks stores in the Times Square vicinity. He put my bicycle in the car (quickly removing the front wheel for compacted backseat loading) while I bought our vanilla lattes (grande skinny for me; tall regular for him), and we headed over the Brooklyn Bridge to meet his other clients in Prospect Park.

We began by counting the teeth on our cassettes as a first step to becoming more familiar with all of our gears. It was an important individual drill because not all cassettes come with the same gears; the number of teeth can vary slightly. My coach also showed me how to clear my chain with my left shift lever if it starts rubbing above the big plate on my chain ring, which is what was causing the scratchy tick on last Thursday's ride.

We had a nice size group this morning - aside from me and the one other regular. Another indication that spring is finally bringing in the warmer cycling weather. We biked over 20 miles in Prospect Park, focusing mainly on spinning and floating drills in 39/21, 39/19 and 39/17. During the final two laps, my coach had one of his more seasoned cyclists work us out. I quickly dubbed that guy "Bringer of Pain."

Afterward, as I was quickly losing my caffeine buzz and feeling the weight of my eyelids, our group of half a dozen or so gathered briefly along the bicycle lanes to chat about what we had learned. Utilizing my new favorite stationary pose, which I had just learned from a more advanced cyclist prior to our ride, I was half-seated with the length of my right thigh balanced on the top tube. Propping my body and my bicycle with my left leg and resting my elbows on my handlebars, I was feeling like a real cyclist in my super cool seated-cyclist pose. And it was Maddy's turn to teach me the lesson that I should never get too comfortable. As I animatedly recounted a story of a prior ride, I lost my balance and - with my right foot locked firmly into my clipless pedal - I plunged sideways mid-sentence, landing with a thud on my right buttock. I immediately recognized a legitimate need for beginner bicycle shorts with padding throughout the entire rear region and over the hips.

Later this morning, while I was waiting for the mechanics at R&A Cycles to install my new Tacx Tao water bottle cages, I happened across an article by The Bike Snob in the March 2010 issue of Bicycling magazine called "You're Going Down". The gist of the article, followed by advice on how to prepare: "When you start cycling, three things are bound to happen. First, you will try clipless pedals. [...yep] Second, you will start receiving Nashbar catalogs. (Nobody knows why this is. It just happens.) [...sort of like I'm not sure how Victoria's Secret and Eastbay catalogs started arriving] Third, you will crash. [...or just topple over for no apparent reason at a moment when you are feeling at your coolest and most comfortable on your new bicycle; he didn't offer any advice for that].

The Bicycling magazine article wasn't on his blog, but here's another good Bike Snob read: The Indignity of Commuting by Bicycle: Falling Down in Public. Extremely relevant since I live in New York City, number 8 on's list of America's Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities.

Total Miles Cycled in Week 3: 108.53


Todd said...

I feel for ya. My most embarrassing fall on the OU Cycling team was during a practice run. I was pulling up to a stop sign. :)

Anonymous said...

How did you find your cycle coach? -J

Katie said...

Todd, I laughed out loud when I read your comment. Thanks!

Jessica, my cycling coach is the pro-bicycle fitter at R&A Cycles; he coaches on the side:

Helen Steussy said...

I first fell at Main and Braod Street in New Castle stopping at a stoplight. It's almost surreal feeling yourself toppling over and not being able to do anything about it.
And the worst pain is the embarrassment since we all seem to fall in very public settings.

Helen Steussy said...

By the way, Katie, can you send me a picture of this cool way to sit on your bike?
I can't picture it.

Anonymous said...

well just think you had your first fall... all the rest won't be as embarrassing!! :o)

Katie said...

Thanks, B! I would recognize that :o) anywhere!

P.S. You got it, Helen! Next time I have a chance, I'll take a photo with the guy who taught me.