I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Lady Parts

It’s a holiday! You know how it is. Get a lil time off and the Missus be all in your face talmbout “quality time.” I saw an opportunity to ride with others and – get this – I wasn’t even dreading it. I woke up and procrastinated only because I hadn’t slept well. I racked my girl up and off we went.

Yes. Red Rocket. Though I am now comfortable with her clips, I still giggle whenever I hear the sound of my left foot making contact. “Ahhhh,” I sighed as we started off. “Success!” Now, only 19.99 miles remain. Sweet! Then I remembered why I am not comfortable riding with others. I had to like, really pay attention. Worse, as I fumble and get to know m’lady’s gears, people see me struggle. “Everything okay?” I really do appreciate that people in these groups actually seem to genuinely care about complete strangers doing the same thing. The uniting quality of sport is amazing. “Yeah!” I replied. I generally am okay. I just suck sometimes, tee hee. But that’s okay! I’m new at this.

I knew there would be opportunity to stop, which I need. Not just to stay alive through intersections, as all cyclists need, but to hydrate and fuel. Lady J + removing hands from handlebars while moving = nope. I don’t trust it! I don’t trust me. Red Rocket is so sensitive, man. One wrong move and she’ll kick me off like a damn angry horse. I had been playing with my gears like Coachie said in order to increase my average cadence. “Spin up the hills!” she tells me. As I ran out of gears in the big girl ring, I switched over. “Click!” said Red Rocket. “Uh, there’s no resistance,” said my legs. Some more clicks and I was able to get her under control. Winning.

After the first stop, I was feeling as confident as a Lady J could feel. Then I clipped in righty to go again and attempted moving forward. “Um, nothing but resistance,” replied my legs. Hmm. Maybe it’s just cause I’m lame and it’s hard to get going as I start up a hill. I began to walk Red Rocket upward. I tried to start again. “Crunchcrunchcrunch,” groaned Red Rocket. Uh. I moved over to the side of the road and started to investigate. Her chain looked like…weird, man. While I don’t have a mental picture of exactly what her parts should look like, I knew that sound wasn’t cool. I kept rotating the pedals and boop! My chain drops.

I completely blame Coachie for this. Just a few days ago, she was telling me what to do in case this happened. The thought had never occurred to me prior to that. “There’s other stuff that can happen aside from a flat tire? I’ll be damned.” It’s like she willed it to happen just to make a point. Thanks for that.

One of the riders came back to see where I was, tee hee. “Uh, look.” I pointed to my chain. She got her hands dirty trying to help me but said whatever I did looked weirder than what she had seen. Of course it did. Don’t you know who I am? So I called Coachie. “Remember how I told you about the derailleur?” “Uh.” I answered. “Is that the thing that says Shimano 105?” She replied in the affirmative, told me to lift it and return the chain to the gear in which I’d had it. Big ring? Maybe. Small ring? Uh. She said that it would return to where it should be once I started and had the chain attached. I thanked her, thanked the nice rider who was making sure I wasn’t dead or injured, and we got the chain back on. Red Rocket is mobile again, hooray!

I wasn’t deterred from continuing to play with her gears the remainder of the ride. I’m tryna grow here. One might think that I would be discouraged at such a thing, but I am relieved that 1. it happened when and where it did, away from traffic, 2. that must be my trial of the day, what else could go wrong, and 3. I learned more about Red Rocket’s parts! The rest of the ride was uneventful EXCEPT for two very generous riders giving me water bottles as a prize! Even though I held them back! People can be pretty neat sometimes, tee hee.

1. Learn to pump tires
2. Learn to fuel/hydrate without stopping
3. Learn what a derailleur is
4. Learn what a derailleur does
5. Change a flat tire

Progress. 27 days.

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