The bike that arrived in my hallway a couple of days later looked HUGE! I didn't worry too much as I had no intention of riding it until after Monday's race. I procrastinated yesterday and went for a run instead of tackling the beast (that currently lurks in my shed). Today I could delay no longer. I knew that I shouldn't really run again, the old knees need a rest now and then. So I lowered the seat as far as it would go, my friend is not only generous and gorgeous - she is also taller than me - most people are, but she is much taller than I am! I grabbed a water bottle and a gel seat (from spinning classes at the gym) and set off on a bike for the first time in 22 years.
It seems that riding a bike is almost but not entirely like riding a bike! You don't forget the basics. That is, you can pedal and balance well enough. Gears have changed a lot though, no need to pedal backwards as you change gear any more, and I feel my mortality a lot more than I did as a 19 year old, cycling in the Canadian Rockies with C Battery RHA! There was no way I felt confident enough to remove my hands from the handlebars to signal, or push my sunglasses up my nose! No worries, I was going on a route that wouldn't have a huge amount of traffic, and where most of my turns would be left not right!
I cycled to 'loopy bit' of the Alton 10mile route. That gave me a ride of nearly 8.5 miles - which took me 44 minutes. I have no idea if that is good or bad. It didn't feel like hard work, but I felt I was going as fast as I felt happy with. The hills weren't too bad on the way up, but they were terrifying on the way down! I spent most of thedown hill sections with the my hand on the brake - this was not the joyous free wheeling that I see cyclists enjoying while I am slogging up the hills on my Sunday morning run!
One thing that surprised me was how little I could hear as I pedalled along. When I run, I listen to my iPod. If I am running on country roads I have the volume set quite low, but it is by no means quiet. That said, I have never been surprised by a car. I have always heard them before I see them (and before they see me too!) Today I had no iPod. My bone dome doesn't cover my ears, but all I could hear was the wind rushing by. Twice cars 'crept up' behind me without me realising they were there until the last minute.
My shoulders were stiff when I got home, from tension and from holding on to the handlebars for dear life. I don't mind going up hill, but down hill is going to take some getting used to - as is the thought of taking my hands of the handle bars to signal! No aches and pains are evident - yet! I hope I don't wake up with aches in muscles I didn't know I had tomorrow morning!
Tomorrow I will run. Ideally I'd like to do this before I go to the hairdressers, but I have a busy timetable of things to sort out before heading to Bergerac for a wedding. Running kit will be packed, and I'll have another go on the bike when I get back next week!