My Sad Maiden Voyage

My maiden voyage was not the awesome ride I thought I would take. I never made it out for that ride on Sunday and it’s a really good thing I didn’t because I would not likely have had a good time. This is the sad tale of my maiden voyage on my new Pinarello. I sort of have a name for it but I’m reserving that until I figure out what to do.

Saturday afternoon late I decided that I HAD to get in my 8 mile run for the day. It had been raining in the morning but then it cleared up so I pulled on my running clothes, grabbed a packet of Hammer Gel that I’d had in my nightstand drawer since sometime last summer and headed out the door. I didn’t take water because I decided to run to the trail that had a bunch of water fountains – no problem. Or so I thought.

The running felt a little sluggish but not bad, I made my way along the most scenic route and got to the trail head only to discover that the water fountain wasn’t really working – great. I ran to the next fountain, every footfall laden with that heightened sense of need and expectation you get when you are thirsty and I just prayed that that fountain would work – it did. It also happened to be at about the 4 mile mark so I gagged down the gel, drank some more water and headed home. It was getting dark and I kept thinking about changing the route so I would have some street light but I really wanted to cover 8 miles so I just pushed on.

About 5 minutes after I got home I got totally nauseated. Then I got diarrhea. Nice. Maybe that ancient pack of Hammer Gel wasn’t such a great idea. I almost started heaving but didn’t so I just went to bed – at 7:30 on Saturday night – livin’ large!

Sunday morning was dreary and rainy and because I had been so ill the night before I hadn’t managed to put the SPD pedals on my new bike. I called friend C and asked if we were going out for a ride and she said she and friend B were waiting a while to see what the sky did. They called at about 9 and said, “we’re going!” I still wasn’t feeling so good so I declined.

Then the day wore on and found one excuse after the other not to get on that beautiful new bike. I wasn’t fooling myself, though – I was afraid. Afraid I couldn’t handle it, afraid I might drop it, just afraid. I let the day go, never having gotten on the bike.

Today I finally screwed up the courage to go for a ride at noon. I got on, not really knowing what route I would take. I covered some pretty flat ground and then decided to tackle a hill. Not a huge hill but a hill that had some steep to it. Not long and steep – just steep and really, not all that steep.

I couldn’t do it. I didn’t make it up the hill. Here I was on a brand new, beautiful bike and I freaked out and got off. I couldn’t even get back on and get going – it was that bad. I had to walk the bike the rest of the way up the hill. Now I’m very unhappy for a bunch of reasons. First of all, I think I bought the bike too soon. It seemed fine when I tested it but really it isn’t that comfortable for me. It’s the right size (50 cm, I’m 5’2″) but it just feels a little big. Also, it has a double in front and I really think I need a triple if for no other reason than for the comfort of having a granny gear.

So now I’m bummed. I figure I have several ideas for what to do but I need help so bring it on! Here are my ideas:
1). Sell the bike on Craigslist for what I paid and go to an LBS and get fitted properly for another bike
2). Take this bike in and get fitted properly so it feels better.
3). Put my bmx pedals on the bike until I get used to it and then put the spd pedals back on and kick some ass
4). Get a triple put on front and assume that the bike isn’t the problem, it’s the rider
5). Suck it up, get back on the bike and tackle that hill.

I just don’t know. I’m pretty bummed out about it now. I’m really bummed out. I am the worst shopper in the world which is the major reason I still haven’t gotten a new car. The whole part about careful consideration, taking the time, weighing the options – I’m no good at that stuff. And on top of all of that, I have so much fear around bike riding that it’s hard to separate out the real problems from the demons in my head.

Any input you have would be really welcomed – really. Thanks.

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13 Responses to My Sad Maiden Voyage

  1. Angela says:

    I hated my first real road bike and really regretted the fortune I had paid for it. It just felt so uncomfortable – my lower back hurt and my neck ached if I did any more than 10k.

    I persevered though, mostly because the bike was so beautiful. It took quite a few rides before my body got used to it but within a few months I had built up to 100k trips.

    I don’t know what your previous bike was but if you have changed your riding position significantly it will take a while to break in but you will get there.

    I looked at getting my dbl ring replaced with a triple but its ridiculously expensive as you have to change the deraileur and possibly the shifters as well. Again you can get used to this as well – see your early rides as strength training too.

    It would be ideal if you could get an “expert” to have a look at you on the bike and see if it is the right fit though. If not its never going to feel right and thats got to be important if you are to tackle many events together.

    Good luck

  2. Joie says:

    If it was me I’d arrange for a fitting session at your LBS, if it’s a good shop.
    You might only need a few adjustments to make this bike work for you.
    At least you will get the low down on how your body matches up to the frame size and how the bike is set up at present.
    I bought a Litespeed last fall and it has a compact double. My last bike had a triple and I was concerned about all the hills where I live.
    Hills are hard no matter what I have on my road bike, even with my MTB hills can be hard! lol
    A double will make your stronger but I think in the end you have to go with what’s best for you 🙂

  3. jeanne says:

    yikes, sorry you are having all these problems! i wish i had advice; i’ll leave it to the pros. you will persevere!

  4. Flatman says:

    First, can you take a picture of you on the trainer so I can see your position? I could make some suggestions if I could see you.

    Secondly, I would go in for a professional fitting if you know someone you can trust.

    Don’t give up so soon, there are many things you can do to make your bike more comfortable. Selling it would be a last option, only if you just absolutely can’t make it work for you.

    Another option is to get a compact double crankset. You could do this without changing anything else.

  5. Mal says:

    Do not worry , it is normal to have bad first ride on any new bike, then start to figure out what to blame , RELAX all will be well with time
    A bike fitting is a good idea if you have someone and can afford it
    Great new blog you are really moving upscale makes my feeble efforts look silly

  6. hilary says:

    Not being a triathlete, but being a bike commuter, I basically agreee with your other commenters —

    a) get a good fitting at a LBS if possible, so that you can evaluate whether it really fits poorly or would work better with some minor tweaks (e.g, seat angle, seat placement, seat height, different crank lengths, different handlebar angle or stem length, etc. You might also want to change out a few components — you might not need a triple, but a different gearing ratio might help.

    b) any new bike requires some adjustment. it’s easy to want the shiny new toy to feel perfect on the first ride, but I know very few cyclists who feel that way — very subtle changes in body geometry can take some adjusting to. try giving it short trips around for a bit.

    of your options, I’d probably start with 2&3, consider 4 & 5, and reconsider 1 if 2&3 don’t improve things over a week or two.

    my opinion, worth the paper it’s printed on…

  7. Laurie says:

    I definitely understand your fears. I am very much afraid of bikes. I think you should give the bike more time. You only had one short ride. It takes time to get over your fears. Oh and follow all of the great advice above!

  8. Wobbly Man says:

    When I got my bike last year I went and got a 2hr 1:1 lesson on how to ride properly and got my bike fitted to me. It made a big difference to me.

  9. Wobbly Man says:

    When I got my second-hand TCR1 bike last year I got it bike fitted to me by a bike shop and also got a 1hr 1:1 lesson on how to ride properly. It made a big difference to me.

  10. LBTEPA says:

    I’m sorry that your first voyage on your new bike you were so excited about was such a let-down 😦
    You can get pedals that are flat on one side and clipped on the other so you can get started and then clip in. A fitting made all the difference for my bike so you could give it a try and see what happens
    hang in there!

  11. TxSkatemom says:

    don’t have any bike advice, but I’m sorry it was such a sucky experience. I’ll be interested in what you end up doing, though. I’m still at least 6 months away from procuring a new ride.

  12. fe-lady says:

    Maybe you just need to change out the stem and handlebars. Contact a bike shop that can see how you are sitting on your bike…
    Sorry you had to jump off on your maiden ride…now, get back on that horse…as soon as you can!

    Oh, and I loved the story about Freida!
    What a lady to try and emulate!

  13. fe-lady says:

    Maybe you just need to change out the stem and handlebars. Contact a bike shop that can see how you are sitting on your bike…and change out a few gears instead of adding another chainring?
    Sorry you had to jump off on your maiden ride- you were probably still fighting off whatever you had…now, get back on that horse…as soon as you can!

    Oh, and I loved the story about Freida!
    What a lady to try and emulate!

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