|NONE OF THESE PEOPLE ARE ME.|
Sad confession: I started my first ride on the road bike half clipped-in, clinging to a light pole on Kendall's hill, refusing to move.
The problem was this: I was about to start my first road ride (speed, hills, cars) without ever having sat on a road bike before. Unless you count the night before, when I thought OH MY STARS I HAVE NEVER EVEN SAT ON A ROAD BIKE BEFORE and then spent about six white-knuckled minutes riding it on the flat.
Or I suppose the problem could be this: I'm really scared.
In any case, we'd just put our helmets on and Kendall was on his bike and I was straddling mine and explaining to him that I hadn't actually ever ever ridden a road bike and something about my concerns re: hills and what-about-cars and he just said– "You talk when you're nervous" and he rode off.
He rode off.
And did I do the sporting thing and follow? Well, you know.
So Kendall is at the bottom of the hill (it's on a hill, his house... I'm supposed to start downhill??) shouting, Come on Helen and Let go of the pole Helen and Leetttt GO of the POLE Helennnn! for the whole village to hear, and I'm calling back various high-pitched lies like, Just a second! and I'm coming! and Wait wait I'm nearly okay! and vividly picturing myself dying in a bike-filled crash on Kendall's hill.
Eventually I pushed away, like jumping off a cliff (I thought) and although it took me a good block and a half to actually finish clipping in, we were away.
He had to shout at me a lot at first – mostly "Don't brake!" and "DON'T LET ME HEAR YOUR BRAKES" and "I'll know if you're braking" and "WHY ARE YOU BRAKING??". But after a while I got the idea – don't brake on the corners, don't brake on the downhills, maybe don't brake ever, don't think on the climbs (what are you going to think about: somebody has set my legs on fire?) and you know, enjoy the spectacular German scenery when you're not visualising your own spectacular maiming.
We went far. We did long climbs. We went fast. Well, Kendall went fast (he loves danger, he asks danger out on dates) and I reached a max speed of 30mph on the downhill. Which is nothing to experienced cyclists. But – 30 miles per hour, people. Can you see me going 30 miles per hour without a car surrounding me??
Neither can I.
But it was amazing. And my handprints are still on the light pole.