I can only assume that since I’m a new cyclist I’ll have several parts of these “new cyclist lessons” and feel that it is my duty to let you all know about them in case any of you are newbies or feel that one day you’d like to ride a bike in preparation for a tri or due to dumb running injury.

This lesson could actually be part 2, since I sort of went over some stuff at my last triathlon. Like, learn how to put your chain back on and try not to fall over due to your saggy shorts. I digress.

Yesterday I decided to head up to the paved 7 mile loop that many cyclists train on. There are also a lot of runners and roller-bladers and roller skaters. The roller skates crack me up since they are so old school, but you’d never catch me on those cause I’m basically terrible at anything with wheels.

I headed up to Flatwoods trail with a buddy nice and early since he needed to ride and agreed to give me some much needed pointers. He helped me the first two miles by going over the gears and then he told me to jump behind some speedy (well, speedier than me) dudes and practice drafting. I asked him if he thought they’d mind and he said, “If they do, I’ll jump in front.” They didn’t seem to and I plugged along behind them for about 5 or 6 miles hitting about a 19-20 MPH speed! Then I got tired. The good news is that I finally found the “sweet spot” of gearing. It seems that I’ve been riding in the wrong ones for pretty much all of my time on the bike. Oops!

There’s a lesson! Learn better gearing BEFORE racing. Heh. (I did get some gear training previously, but I think it finally clicked yesterday.)

My little buddy then sped off while I continued on my ride. I was happy to see that I could hold a 17 MPH speed for longer than I ever had in my gears and I continued to try to draft on groups as they went by. They’d usually drop me but it was good practice to try to build up to a group ride.

As I rode along I saw a very large group of walkers. They were pretty spread out across the path and I had to slow way down to go around them. I didn’t want to hit anyone and definitely didn’t want to fall myself. As there were walkers on both sides of the paved trail I got nervous about getting around them. It thinned out a little but then I saw some emergency vehicles blocking the entire path in front of me. There was some room on the right and a cyclist coming back toward said I could get by on my bike, but I decided I’d stop and walk it around them.

I’m glad I did because I doubt I could have maneuvered around them. As I rubber-necked by, I saw an older woman being placed on a gurney. She was crying and had her leg wrapped. I asked a man standing by what happened and he said she was hit by a cyclist. Ouch! Apparently the cyclist suffered a broken collar bone and she broke something in her leg. I have no idea who was at fault or how it happened but I’d guess they were both a bit to blame. As Cay-See once told me, a bit of trepidation can be a good thing in cycling. There’s a lesson!

While we chatted about the accident another female cyclist rode up and was asking if we saw a man with a baby trailer behind his bike. I said I had not seen him and she said she was going to tell him not to ride with that trailer. I wondered why and she went on to explain that it was a very young baby and that you can do damage to a baby, by the shaking, in one of those trailers if they aren’t at least a year old. I guess this baby was lying down and not even six months. Yikes! As we were talking the man she spoke of rode by and off she went to catch him. (I have no idea about any of this stuff since I have no kids, but I could see how putting a baby that young in one of those trailers may not be the best idea…) There’s a lesson!

Needless to say, it was a very eventful day at the trail for me! I got in my 25 miles and managed to stay out of all of the drama. But at least I learned a few things. I’m seeing some progress on the bike and am feeling better because of it.

I did get in my long run this weekend, even though I cut it to 9 miles instead of 10 due to heavy legs and the PC’s (poopy cramps). I also swam a TON on Friday and Sunday. Yay! My ventures into the triathlon continue…

Happy Monday.