Two things before I begin to flesh out this idea. First of all, I know that 2012 is actually the "Year of the Dragon". Following the rabbit (2011), it sounds pretty ferocious! I suppose that powerful would describe it more accurately. Secondly, I had already framed this year in such a way well before I saw the Specialized bike on Friday night.
Now, I do not by any means consider myself to be a "biker chick". I bought my lovely Fuji - lavender with floral details- a few years ago. At that point, I thought that running would be a taboo activity for the rest of my life, and I wanted to find another activity that would allow me to push myself physically. Cycling or biking did not, however, immediately WOW me. In fact, I felt like a nervous wreck every time I went out on the bike, sure that I would fall and be subsequently run over. And I did fall - a lot. It took me a very long time to master clipping in and out. Fortunately, a car never hit me and the only thing that suffered great damage was my ego. By the end of the summer, I felt a bit more comfortable on the bike, but I couldn't say that I had developed much of a skill set. The following year, biking 'took' a bit more. I went to a clinic in San Francisco and learned how to climb and descend correctly, and it also helped my confidence on the bike. It wasn't until last year, however, that I actually started to log in regular weekly miles and put time into spinning classes to build strength. Training for Wildflower served as the main impetus to spend time in the saddle, but as I put in more miles and grew accustomed to shifting the gears and my weight, learned when to push and when to hold back, I found that I actually enjoyed the experience. I never thought I would get to that point, so I was happy to call that success! Additionally, I managed to mount and dismount properly during the two tris in which I participated and didn't do anything too rookie-ish. Again, that was success to me!
All this aside, maybe the best part about the bike is for me is that Michael and I can share experiences together. Last year, we started to explore more local routes, and we also headed south and west and tootled along the coast on our bikes, taking in some wonderful scenery on PCH. We also traveled to Colorado with the bikes strapped to the top. In Boulder, we were able to appreciate the roads for their bike-friendly nature (huge shoulders!), and from Frisco, CO, we climbed up to Vail pass to enjoy the sweeping views that it afforded us.
Now that I finally feel competent on the bike, I'd like to push myself on it. Yes, I'll continue to ride just to log in miles and to ride further (I'm a total weenie on the mileage front), but I'd also like to focus on strength and speed this year. More importantly, I would like to ride with friends or a random group. I don't mind riding solo or as a couple, but I know that riding with a group would help me improve - I would have to push myself a bit more. While it might feel like I'm just beginning again and my ego will suffer as I huff and puff and barely keep pace, I know that it would be a great challenge physically and also in a more general sense since I would have to agree to ride with people. And then talk to them before, after and during the ride. Ack!
So, that is the focus for the year. Which is why I am happy to say that I have already been in the saddle a whopping two times this year! Once last Saturday and once yesterday. Yes, I'm lame but I'll take that as a successful step. I think that it was the end of January before I got out on the bike last year! Last Saturday's ride was a good "get back in the saddle" experience, and yesterday?! Well, I now regret not going further, but I realized that a Saturday when everyone else is inside watching football is the PERFECT moment to go for a nice, relaxed ride. The weather was great, there were no cars out, and it was a lovely experience overall.
I'm now hoping to have many more of them this year!
Especially if I get a new bike.
(Thou shalt not covet, thou shalt not covet, thou shalt not covet....)