I have a love/hate relationship with cycling.
In real life, I don't see myself as a skirt at all. But put me on a bike and, for some reason, I morph into Uber Wimp. No, make that Queen of the Uber Wimps. Will says that I'm the only person on the face of the planet who cycles slower downhill than up. And the saddest part about his statement? The fact that it's totally true. I dread downhills. I'm that person who wears out a pair of bicycle brake pads in no time. Who only overtakes people on a climb. Not because I'm such a good climber, but purely because I go too slowly downhill to ever overtake anyone. But they say the first step to healing lies in acknowledging, right?
So with all of that in the back of my mind, I set off on my first ride in two years this morning. It was a little before 06:00 a.m. and the streets were still quiet. The aim of the ride was simply to ease back into things: To remember how to change the gears. To refresh my memory on clipping into and out of those darn pedals. And to get back home in one piece. Oh, and one other thing: To avoid bumping into the Yellow Train at all costs. [The Yellow Train is a group of super talented riders who regularly train in our neighbourhood. I'm talking major-race-podium-position good. I just couldn't bear having them swoosh by at the speed of light and shouting "fun riders keep to the left!". That would just dampen my enthusiasm. (This has happened to me once before and obviously left a scar. Don't the pros know that all the little pieces of glass and thorns gather "on the left"?! There were us mortal fun riders are always instructed to ride? Yeah, I have issues.)]
Things went surprisingly well: I used the first kilometer or so to work my way through all the gears. And then obviously the first downhill (with a slope of about 3 degrees - a real zinger. Or not.) to test my beloved brakes. I even managed to check back over my shoulder a few times. Awesome. But then, just as I started contemplating going pro, I saw them headed in my direction: The Yellow Train. Darn. A whole gazillion of them.
Thank goodness for a little side street that conveniently came up to my left. I made a dash for it and prayed that that little side street wasn't part of their route for the day. Phew.
I'd forgotten how to zero the little cycling computer on my bike, so I have no idea how far I went. It couldn't have been more than 10 kilometers (a whole tenth of what Will does almost every day. I know, I know - I'm a machine), but at least I got back home in one piece. With a tad more confidence than I started out with. For now, I'd say that's mission accomplished.