Christmas capers


I have completed lesson 3 of the 10 lesson DVD I bought. I feel a bit silly doing the drills in a public pool. Especially when the local squad is swimming lots of laps quickly a few lanes away. I’ll be watching lesson 4 tonight or tomorrow so I can keep moving with it. The DVD can be used as a stand alone tool but I’m glad I read the book first. I like to understand the theory of things first to know why they work โ€“ not just that they work. I think my maths teachers at school found it frustrating. I wanted to know why the formulae worked, not just how to use them.


I am on holidays at the coast visiting my parents. The other day I went for a bike ride with my dad. It was quite leisurely so I can’t call it training (but the km were still added to my training tally for my Sydney-Melbourne virtual trip). The ride reminded me how much easier it is to get some km under my belt on a bike. I had forgotten because pretty well all of my bike work this year has been with my bike attached to a stationery trainer in my lounge room.

When I got back from the ride, I realised that my goal of training my way from Sydney to Melbourne is achievable if I ride 10-15km per day for the rest of the year!

So I went for a ride this morning. Christmas day. In the drizzly rain. 13.6km. Before breakfast.

Even on the stationery trainer I find it hard to maintain a consistent cadence. My coach says I should aim for a cadence of approximately 90 which is best for being able to run off the bike in a triathlon. I thought I was doing quite well this morning. I had set my garmin watch to show cadence and it was sitting on about 70 then 80 then 90 and I remember thinking “this is a lot easier than I remember”. Next time I looked it was about 120 and I was coasting along a flat stretch. Hmmm. I looked a little closer and discovered I was looking at the calories screen not cadence. One more tap and I found the cadence. 

My average cadence was only 36 for the hour long ride so again, it was quite a lazy session. However, I learned a number of things today.

  • It’s even harder to keep a consistent cadence out in the real world with hills (nothing major around here though), bridges, corners, pedestrians, cars and the like.
  • When riding in the rain it can be hard to keep shoes on pedals so it just might be time to suck it up and brave the roads with my clipless pedalsโ€ฆ
  • I am nowhere near ready to ride 20km and follow it up with a 5km run. My legs were like jelly after the 13.6km and there weren’t many hills.
  • Practising on a stationery trainer doesn’t help develop balance and coordination for steering.
  • Riding on a stationery trainer doesn’t teach you to check that your brakes work before heading out on a training ride.
  • I can’t stop my bike with the brakes. I can slow down, but I can’t bring it to a stop. This is something I should probably have checked sooner rather than later.
  • You can’t sit up, let go of the handlebars, swing your arms, stretch etc and continue pedalling and hope to stay on course.
  • If you notice a pod of dolphins, it’s not a good idea to watch them instead of where you’re going!
  • They should still put mud guards on road bikes. Who wants a dirty brown stripe up their back???


My patience is wearing thin. I cannot yet do the required 30 calf raises which is the test for me to be cleared to start running again. I want to run anyway. At the same time I’m petrified of taking those first few steps in case I do the same thing again and end up back where I started. This is my first injury so I’ve never had to “come back from injury” before. How do you manage it? How does one develop a mindset that sees the risk of injury as acceptable? I assume footballers don’t run out onto the field every game or training session thinking “what if I break my arm/leg/neck?” What is it about them that makes them weigh up the risk of injury and still decide to play? I don’t use my cleated shoes because I’m scared of falling off and hurting myself. I’d rather have a much slower time but be more likely to remain injury free. I know I can still get hurt with my sneakers and “normal” pedals. So the injury risk is not totally eliminated. When I finally get the all clear, will I be able to make myself run again or will I chicken out and say goodbye to my triathlon dream? I don’t want to. I want to convince myself it’s worth the risk but I don’t know how to change my mindset. It’s 136 days now until the Sprint Triathlon I am looking at doing. Not that long to build up my strength (physical and mental) to step up to this bigger distance. I want to do the race, I’m just not sure at the moment that I want to do it badly enough to risk another injury. What is it that will finally flick the switch in my brain?

I didn’t take a camera or phone with me on my ride this morning due to the inclement weather so this decoration at my parents’ front door will have to suffice for today’s post. (Mum bought it on a cruise ship โ€“ The Rhapsody of the Seas I think.)

Merry Christmas.





2 thoughts on “Christmas capers

  1. Don’t worry about clipless pedals! I got my first road bike in August and immediately started used clipless pedals. I was terrified that I might fall off and cut myself, as I panic at the sight of my own blood, but I’ve not had any major incidents in 4 months ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve managed to hit the deck three times:
    1) I was about to cycle across a road from a junction when a car started speeding down the road. I managed to unclip one foot, but toppled the other way.
    2) I was trying to cross a busy main road on a cycle lane with lights and I unclipped the wrong foot.
    3) I was trying to start cycling again after stopping on a mountain in Portugal, but I couldn’t get any momentum.
    I can honestly say that I’ve not sustained any injuries. All of my incidents have been stationary or at very low speed, so although I’ve not been able to get my feet out, I have been able to cushion myself a bit with my hands… I’ve also learnt the lesson that until I’m really confident, it’s best to unclip both feet when coming to a stop!!! The gains for me have been fantastic – it is much easier to pedal and maintain a smooth stroke with clipless pedals and I’ve also learned to do some cycling drills such as pedaling with one leg only ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck! x

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