It sounds like an odd part of training, but both literally and in some ways figuratively, I’m in the stage of learning how to fall.
Take that photo for instance. That’s the literal translation of “learning to fall”. This was my first outdoor ride with cleats and clip pedals. That basically translates to things that hold your foot to the pedal and make you fall a lot while you’re learning to use them.
Here are a few photos of me putting my new pedals and shoes on and learning how they work. In all honesty, the photos are more for effect. Thankfully, my coach Ryan Oilar with Forward Motion Athletics helped with the mechanics of the operation, which is clearly not my forte.
So let’s revisit my first ride. The video of my first outdoor clip is at the top of the page. It was pretty seamless as far as clipping in and not falling. If only the remainder of my bike experience could have gone so well.
Now, I’m not Rick Semmler or Ross Rowling from Sports 10, but here’s a play-by-play of the remainder of my ride: Oilar takes Bevis down a big hill where Bevis internally makes a decision to hate hills, both up and down, for the remainder of her biking days; Oilar tells Bevis to pretend like the yellow pole is a stop sign, requiring her to unclip her shoes and stand; Bevis unclips her right foot successfully, then this happens.
Bevis resigns herself to never falling again after lots of laughs; the reclip is a success, but the next stop is only a few hundred yards away; Oilar points to the next sign, and Bevis begins preparations for stopping, mentally; physically, the unclip proves successful, right foot free, and then this happens.
Oilar takes the photo-op as he always does; Bevis gets up, discusses how that failure happened, and resigns herself to not falling again; thankfully, for the ride, that would be true. Several miles later, the ride ends with other successful stops that were never documented by photos, since they’re far less entertaining.
About a week later, on my first real outdoor ride that was workout driven and not “don’t fall” focused, I successfully road out to the middle of nowhere and enjoyed the amazing weather and actual outside ride, until all the fun crashed, literally.
It was on the ride back in the hills of Vigo County, and at the top of the hill, the stop sign of death. I unclipped, on the correct side that I so aptly selected after my previous ride of constant falling, and then, BAM. The ground and my body met yet again. This time I was on a real road with real cars. A big thanks to the tan SUV that passed, asked if I was ok, and then enjoyed the brief laugh with me over my misfortune. I only wish they would have taken a video of what I’m choosing to believe was a graceful fall. (You can only get better at falls with practice, right?)
In running, I’ve done more of the metaphorical fall. A minor injury took me off my feet for a couple weeks. I’m getting back into it, but from a training perspective, this has been super frustrating to say the very least. A big thanks to Nicole in the ISU Physical Therapy and Sports Rehabilitation Clinic for helping nurse me back to health! Compared to legitimate athletes, this injury is minor, but from a new athlete who doesn’t enjoy set backs, it’s just annoying!
The positive here? I’m learning to like swimming more. You can’t fall. Nothing is clipped in. A soft-tissue foot injury doesn’t matter. In terms of the water, I’m just like Nemo at this point. “Just Keep Swimming”