One of my big goals for this year is to make the switch to clipless pedals and to improve my biking confidence. I used clipless pedals when I first got my bike but then I crashed, blamed it on not being able to clip out and went back to my cages. To be honest, I’ve never really noticed a huge difference in my biking when I’m clipped in versus using my cages, so why am I making the switch you ask?
Well, although I may not notice a difference, the benefits of clipless pedals abound… especially when biking longer distances. Since we’re training for Augusta 70.3 I figured now would be a great time to conquer my fear of those dang pedals and improve my confidence in the saddle.
I switched my pedals way back in January so that I wouldn’t chicken out once the weather got warm enough to bike outside. I also had every intention of sitting on my bike in the doorway and practicing clipping in and out 100x/day, but shockingly, that didn’t happen.
On the first day it was warm enough to bike outside, I practiced a dozen or so times in the doorway and then just went for it. I clipped in and out easily, I didn’t fall, and it was a great ride. My confidence skyrocketed and all was right in the triathlon world.
And then we went out for a ride a few days later, and I fell over while standing still. Immediately, my confidence disappeared and I almost had a panic attack every time I had to stop and clip in or out. The huge bruise on my leg was a constant reminder of how terrified I was of clipless pedals.
I loosened my clips to make it easier to clip in and out, I practiced with my bike set up on the trainer, and I even had Davey buy me new clips because obviously the problem was the pedals and not me.
Here I am putting on my new pedals! I was so sure that these new pedals would magically make me awesome at biking and it was a huge disappointment when I tried them out and they were harder to use then my original ones! BUMMER!
I was at a loss. With our first triathlon of the season coming up, I had a choice to make. Either I be brave and stick with the clipless pedals or switch back to my cages.
Desperate, I tweeted this:
And I got some great advice:
So, I decided to face my fears and go clipless for the triathlon.
And then my worst fear came true. It rained on the day of our race. Rain=slippery roads. I started to imagine falling off my bike and not being able to clip out and how I’m the worst biker ever and I’m so lame that I can’t even clip into my stupid pedals and on and on my downward spiral went all the way until the bike portion of the race when I realized that I had just hopped on my bike, clipped in and started riding without like it was no big deal.
That’s when it hit me.
It’s all in your mind.
I probably should have stopped my downward spiral much sooner and started thinking positive thoughts about how clipping in is the best and how easy it is and blah blah blah.
I know from experience how much positive thinking helps when it comes to doing a triathlon. Especially since there are so many things to be nervous about. But when it comes down to it, your fear of the swim, or my nervousness about clipping in, or your dread about the run, or your uneasiness about your transitions will all fade on race day because you don’t have time to think about it. You just do it.
Look… here I am on my bike. Please note that there’s no blood, no broken bones, no shattered teeth or crushed bikes in that picture. All that stuff I made up in my mind NEVER EVEN HAPPENED.
And all that stuff you make up about how horrible the swim will be, or how scary it will be to bike with other people, or how hard it will be to run after biking… all that stuff is in your mind.
So be brave, face your fears, train hard and show up on race day with determination and confidence that you will ROCK your triathlon!