Today I very anxiously and gladly joined Kooky Kash for my first ever group bike ride. I was reaally looking forward to it: the most mileage I'd gotten on my bike was a measly 4km and my dreams of being in a triathlon is slowly diminishing. But at the same time I was so nervous - Could I even go up? What if I tripped and fell? How hard really is the hill?
I went to bed with racing thoughts and slept fitfully. When I woke up this morning it was 4am, and then again at 530am. This time I did not get back to bed, but played the internet and had cereal. I dozed off for a while until 630am. Left at 7am, and predictably got lost even with a detailed map and direction on how to get there.
When we started the ride I was instantly left behind. Later I realized that my speed was just too damned slow, when I thought that that was a normal speed. One of the guys stayed back with me; and he dished out some good tips and advices - the stem of my bike is too long for me, thus making it hard for me to handle my brakes (which is why my hands always hurt!), he told me about the concept of changing gears and how to gauge your speed. This certain body part of mine was starting to hurt and throb real badly. Throughout the ride it was the only thing that was a negative, everything else was just awesome.
When we joined the rest of the group they were already at the top looking like they have a good 15 minutes rest or so. Kash has told me about the next part: a 9-10km ride uphill. She parted with a sound advice: keep spinning. At first I was wondering what that means - some sort of a cycling limbo that I do not know about, but then I figured out the hard way when we went slowly uphill. It is suicide to stop cycling - you just don't feel like starting again. So I didn't stop, and cycled, no matter how awful everything felt. Even my breathing was labored and my thighs felt like they're steam fried. As we're about to reach the top she said, "the last part's a bit steep," and instantly I wished she didn't say it because the ones we went through were already steep, I had no idea how the next one's steep is going to be like!
Going up, I was already building up the nervousness about going down. I was scared of how fast my bike can get - I have always been scared of speed, especially speed that is controlled by me. And seeing all the other cyclists zipping down like colorful shadows made me nervous. Kash told me to keep holding on to my brakes and brake cautiously. As we sped down she was like, "let go don't brake, enjoy the downhill!"
So I did. Some parts were scary and I felt like I was going out of control - being built less sturdy has its disadvantages - that I could see my shadow quivering and shaking. But the speed on these curves felt really nice, no cars to worry about, ample of space, and wind in your face. I couldn't really remember what how the rest of the ride paned out except that I both wanted it to be over (body parts were hurting!) and didn't want it to end (I'm whizzing by awesome sceneries with the wind on my face). When I hopped off the bike and started to walk, my legs felt like they're made of rubber. I had to lean against the car for a while. Kash laughed at me, said, "Well, why did you think I am standing still right now?" hahahha.
I am REALLY glad I joined this ride. It was an amazing first time for me and I love how my thighs burn and my lungs felt like exploding. Haven't felt like that for a while. I loved how mentally challenging it gets. Also, the camaraderie after the whole thing is over. Listening to grown men's jokes has always been a favorite after growing up with crude, aging, but feisty uncles and tok ayahs. I am amazed at how these so-called 'senior' uncles smoked me - and I mean SMOKED - from the beginning until the end. Why, they're splashing about in the sungai when I finally arrived, panting.