I experienced anxiety for the past few days that I couldn’t help worrying what kind of accident will befall me. Finally, today. I embarked on a 23km non-competitive The Straits Times Ride at OCBC Cycle alone. No friends, no accident, no near-accident. Just focus on the road, enjoy the scenery & I get a great day of unforgettable experience.
I thought cyclist needs strong quad so yesterday I ran 12.5km and swam 1.2km. In all honesty, I don’t know what to prepare for such cycling event. I don’t know how to train.
Although totally untrained and never used my youngest son, Clement’s bike before, the marathon experience gave me confidence to do it. Physically and mentally, I trust my judgement and ability. Clement asked me whether anyone said I looked like a child when riding on his bike. I told him, “No, but who cares?” There are lots of people who used foldable bikes which are tinier.
What my first OCBC Cycle taught me.
1. Throwback to 1988, when I was 17 years old, cycling wasn’t common. I’d already owned a Shimano racer. I bought it for $650. Big money, to me, because in those days, my monthly salary was miserable $450. For the first time when I reached home, I took a good look at this piece of antique tucked at the corner of the house. This attempt re-ignited my love for cycling. My 28 year-old Shimano racer is still around to remind me what kind of person I was.
2. I recalled why I stopped cycling because of a near accident. I was at Upper Thomson near a bus-stop between a bus & a cement-mixer. I still remember the shaking ground feeling and the strong wind with sand. Sand flew into my eye. I almost fall off my bike. I revisit the thing that caused my fear. Conquer it by cycling on the road. I did it when I cycled on the way from Sports Hub to home.
3. A 5-minutes chat with a friend changed my perspective about doing a sports. A like in Facebook prompted me to sign up for Clement & myself. Support from my husband, explaining the technical knowledge of gear changing. He adjusted height of seat, handle bar and helmet. I thank these people for the awareness, getting me started.
4. Moving out of my comfort zone. Making baby steps.
5. A broken knee is a blessing in disguise – my physiotherapist said I can swim, bike, run instead of just running because of frequent running is bad for my knees especially post-surgery. The cross-training prolongs my running longevity. If my knees aren’t injured, I probably have no drive to try new things.
6. I don’t know whether there is such thing called quad cramp. I felt a contraction of muscle on my left quad for the first time in my life. Cycling works on different sets of muscles compare to running and swimming. Cycling is easy. Even when one leg doesn’t feel right, there is still another leg pedalling. It was just 1km away from the finishing point. Easy peasy.
7. Everything including my kit has to be perfect? Absolutely not true. I think I look more like an auntie riding a bike to buy grocery. I squeezed into XS cycling pants I bought for Clement 2 years ago. Clement laughed and said the butt pad looks like a diaper. Despite being uncool in this outfit, I should say it’s really helpful. My butt doesn’t hurt. If I’d waited until someone joins the event with me, to own an expensive bike, a perfect set of accessories, I’d still be waiting to start. If you insist on perfection before you embark on any journey your dreams are going to turn into mirages. In order to start all you need is a bike, a helmet – and the simple desire to start.