Tri-ing and Bike Fears

Remember my 2014 Race Plan? A few things have changed….I won’t be doing the Looney Challenge, but I did have a PR setting Half Marathon in April!

Run for the Lakes Half Medal

While my running hasn’t been regular, my biking has been! The local multisport group has a no-drop ride every Tuesday morning at 5:30 am. It requires leaving my house no later than 4:50 am, but its worth it. Last week I rode with them for the first time and loved it! I was coached on pedaling downhilll and taking the free speed that is available to me.

With learning something new comes a few new fears that have to be conquered. I didn’t have training anxiety with running, but biking has been a completely different story. Here are my top fears, and how I’m working on them!

Clipped In Bike

Clipping: While many people are afraid of clipping in, this is the least of my problems. I have definitely swerved and leaned a bit far a couple times, but my feet always manage to unclip when I need them to.

Flats/Mechanics: What does scare me is getting a flat and being stranded on the road. Sunday I took a leisurely ride to work on that fear. I told myself I was going to ride for an hour, I have been wanting to ride a road called Cedarbrook, as it has little traffic and decent pavement, however the middle of it is fairly desolate. I set an alarm to go off at the 30 minute mark, once I was there I pulled up my GPS, and realized I could turn around and get home in 6.8 miles, or I could finish the loop and be home in 7.9 miles. I decided to brave the full loop!

Biking Selfie

I made the trip safe and sound with no incidents. I had a little break to wait for a train on the last mile, but it was nice to get a selfie to prove my accomplishment!

I was feeling really good about my riding on Sunday, and was excited to meet everyone yesterday morning. Because I’m with a group my fear of flats/mechanics is gone, and instead I get to work on my form, power, and speed!

“The Horns”: Prior to yesterday I had never steered from “the horns” aka the curved part of the handlebars. 5 minutes into our ride we started doing intervals, and I was told to go into the horns, I didn’t listen, but leaned lower so I wasn’t as upright. Farther into our ride I felt comfortable enough to reach down. It may only be a 3 inch difference, but it feels like 3 feet!

Downhill: When I was 6 I went head over the handle bars while riding a hill, and I still have a slight scar on my knee from it. Since then I have always braked on hills.

During yesterday’s ride I was in the horns, low enough that my knees were by my chest, and any slight move I would make seemed to send the bike wobbling. Then a dreaded downhill comes.  Now I’m being told to pedal faster downhill, take a free speed, while holding onto the horns. And bonus! There’s a curve to this downhill.

I didn’t totally lose control. But it wasn’t good. It especially wasn’t good that I had someone riding on my left. The turn was to the right, and I almost knocked the guy over. Thank goodness he’s a legitimate athlete and could handle my rookie freak out. I didn’t cry, I don’t think I even swore. But I was not comfortable. I didn’t fall, and I survived the rest of the ride, which included more hills and more turns. But I was not comfortable.

Tonight is open water swimming. I’m going, without a wetsuit. Pray for me. I bet I have a whole new post about swimming fears in a week or two!

(edited: I didn’t go swimming due to rainy weather, but I swear, I will get in the darn water soon!)

What fears do you have? Do you avoid them, or conquer them?



    1. The coach I had riding with me says that there is more control when you are holding onto the horns, but I felt like the bike was much more sensitive. I really need to be in control, so I’m not automatically a fan of driving from the horns, but I hope by trusting myself and learning to do it, I’ll be able to transition to aero position a little smoother.

  1. aww katie, this is such an inspiring post – it seems like just yesterday you were worried about mastering your bike, and now you’re pro-like and loving it 🙂

    1. Woah, a doctor just called me informative!?!? What is smarter than a doctor, is that me!? The horns were awful, but it did make a difference in wind resistance.

  2. I have a fear of clipping or rather unclipping and is one main reason I don’t have a road bike. I was getting freaked out just reading about your downhill experience! I would have felt the same way.

    1. When I was pedal shopping (which is not included in a bike these days!) you can get pedals that have a clip on one side, and a regular pedal on the other! If I didn’t have lofty ambitions for triathlons I would have gotten a hybrid bike with that kind of pedal.

  3. Wow, you have done MUCH more bike training than I did! I’d really love to learn more about biking but I don’t really know of any bike groups near me (and even if I did I think I would be too intimidated to join!).

    I don’t have clip in pedals, honestly they scare the heck out of me, but they are so much more efficient! I did see 1 person with a flat during my tri, but they were totally prepared and were taking care of it…if I got a flat I would have been done.

    1. I did a duathlon last fall with my mountain bike, and I must say that I wish I would just go back to riding it! Mainly because I feel so safe on it (I’ve had it for over 10 years) But I am loving the challenge of the road bike. So far getting ready for triathlons has been much more of a mental game than running has ever been. Don’t discredit those bike groups! the multisport team I hang out with I was a part of their facebook group for a year before I went to any events. Now I’m wishing I had gone last summer, but oh well. Ask your goal run/bike shops if they have any group rides, its a great way to learn!

  4. For what it’s worth Katie, I think the “free speed” issue is a bit over rated. Now, as you know, I am a Fat Slow Triathlete, so the downhills are the best part of my race cuz I am, ya know, fat, but many of my coaches here in Florida coach us to coast the downhills in order to take advantage of the “rest”. I also know that there are coaches that will argue against this, that spinning the legs clears lactic acid (a fallacy by the way because lactic acid is not what the burning sensation is. I wrote about that in my blog a few weeks ago.), but for me the rest is welcomed and makes the longer rides more doable. As with anything, though, it’s all about what YOU are comfortable with. If you like riding the hoods, than ride the hoods. There’s no law against it and the difference in speed is negligible. Kind of like arguing over Ultegra and Durarace gearing. Is 3 grams really going to make a difference? 😉

    1. I love that in this sport you can argue over 3 grams. I am definitely the slowest/largest (not tallest) person at the workouts I attend, which is why I appreciate your blog!

      1. At my size, the 3 grams is not going to make a difference to me. Even in the articles I have read on aero trials etc, it really makes little difference with elites, but not being one I can’t really argue that point. .006 seconds per mile faster only equates to 6.72 seconds faster in the bike leg.

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