My adventures with the bike have been so-so up to now. I usually have my lesson on a Saturday, and since my venture with Christine, my confidence took a bit of a knock. It has taken me a couple of lessons to get back to where I was, and the true test came when Pata took me on a bike trail.
Two Saturdays ago, on a bright sunny afternoon, off we went amidst children, other cyclists, runners and mothers with prams. It was hair-raising! Up and down, up and down we went and I managed to avoid knocking into anyone. Last Saturday was cold and rainy, and the bike path was almost deserted, except for the few die-hards out riding. This time Pata tried to get me to change gears, but it would seem that I cannot concentrate on cycling and changing gears! So the first change took me off the bike, the second had me wobbling so much I had to make a very undignified stop. The third attempt at a gear change resulted in the chain getting stuck between the rings. OK, so I have to work this one out in a hurry, but in the meantime I have added Tuesdays and Thursdays to the biking schedule, and have more lessons with Pata as I definitely need to get out on the bike a lot more. Today for instance was bitterly cold - but I actually had a good ride. I felt a lot more confident on the bike, and could control it a bit better. Still, I can't actually change gears yet, but I am working on that.
I am doing a pre-triathlon conditioning course at MIT, so Mondays we swim, Wednesdays run and bike (or spin) on Fridays. Yesterday was the first time since the Summer that I set foot in the pool. Funny thing that, I arrived a bit late, and the others had already started on their laps. Jane, our coach told me to "just jump in". I looked down and saw that it was 7 foot, and told Jane I was going round to the shallow end to get in. She looked at me and said, "Natalia, this is the shallow end - its much deeper over there".
Well, the truth of the matter is, I just could not jump in. Luckily there is a teaching pool just behind and I told Jane I would do a few laps there. I managed to swim the full hour, as fitness is not the issue - the issue is my fear of deep water. Last night I actually realised the enormity of this undertaking. Not the distances and training, but the mastery of the mind - how to ride a bike confidently, and how to overcome the fear of deep water! Today I still felt rather overwhelmed at the thought of doing this triathlon next month. Time is so short and I still have so much to do. Lance Armstrong seems to think that a triathlon is "a wash, a shampoo and a blowdry", which it might very well be. However it does help to have a good head to work with in the first place!