Tri bars on friday the 13th

Tri bars on friday the 13th.
After my latest racing disaster, my motivation is at an all time high. With a big event coming up I can’t afford to miss out on training. Sadly my sprained wrist has not made this straightforward, I was advised by medical staff not to ride for several days for fear of causing further injury. This simply wasn’t going to happen – particularly seeing as this would appear to be the annual week sometime in May that constitutes the UK Summer.

It was then that a bright idea occurred – why not simply ride in an aero position, thus taking the weight off the injured area. As it turned out this was easier said than done.

I’ve had a pair of tri bars hanging around for a while, a compulsive eBay purchase that I figured would come in useful one day. As a cyclist its crucial to be prepared for anything – if this involves ‘needing’ to buy more equipment (as it very often does) its a big bonus. On this occasion I could commend myself on having exhibited excellent foresight.

After much swearing and the eventual reading of the dreaded instructions I managed to get the tri bars onto my road bike (easy as this might sound – my mechanical ineptitude knows no bounds). I set off for an easy recovery ride with a false sense of security – after all I am a racer (of sorts), how hard could it be to master the technique?

200 Yards down the road from my house I made the first attempt at riding on the new bars – this was a spectacular failure and almost resulted in the second crash of the week. This of course occurred in full view of a group of passing walkers, suffice to say there were a few audible chuckles. Nevertheless I resolved to carry on – I now had a challenge on my hands.

What followed was the most (in fact the only) difficult recovery ride I have experienced. I could just about ride on the tri bars on straight sections of road, albeit very slowly with occasional zigzagging. Every time a corner came into view I was forced to revert to a normal riding position, which drew some considerable protest from my injured wrist. The height of my humiliation came when I was passed by an elderly gentleman upon a steel touring bike with two full panniers. I raised my hand in greeting, proudly displaying my splinted wrist, hoping this would make me appear a little less pathetic. However, all it resulted in was another near crash – damaging my already suffering ego even further.

The following day (namely Friday the 13th) I set out again, this time for an actual training ride. Fortunately this time was better, I was at least able to stay upright with relative ease and even tried a few corners. Still, I have yet to pluck up the courage to ride in TT position on descents and at speeds above 25 mph. Its at this point that I am reminded of the infamous rule number 5 and wonder whether I should be riding a bike in the first place (for anyone who doesn’t understand this reference, The Rules – as laid out by the velominati is an essential read for anyone who calls themselves a cyclist).

The whole experience has left me with a newfound respect for time triallists and even if I dare say it, triathletes. They might make it look easy, but riding in an aero position is much harder than it appears from the outside (for a mediocre bike handler such as myself anyway). Its the latest in a series of many lessons I have learned since taking up the sport, judging by recent experience I still have a fair few to go.
After my latest racing disaster, my motivation is at an all time high. With a big event coming up I can’t afford to miss out on training. Sadly my sprained wrist has not made this straightforward, I was advised by medical staff not to ride for several days for fear of causing further injury. This simply wasn’t going to happen – particularly seeing as this would appear to be the annual week sometime in May that constitutes the UK Summer.

It was then that a bright idea occurred – why not simply ride in an aero position, thus taking the weight off the injured area. As it turned out this was easier said than done.

I’ve had a pair of tri bars hanging around for a while, a compulsive eBay purchase that I figured would come in useful one day. As a cyclist its crucial to be prepared for anything – if this involves ‘needing’ to buy more equipment (as it very often does) its a big bonus. On this occasion I could commend myself on having exhibited excellent foresight.

After much swearing and the eventual reading of the dreaded instructions I managed to get the tri bars onto my road bike (easy as this might sound – my mechanical ineptitude knows no bounds). I set off for an easy recovery ride with a false sense of security – after all I am a racer (of sorts), how hard could it be to master the technique?

200 Yards down the road from my house I made the first attempt at riding on the new bars – this was a spectacular failure and almost resulted in the second crash of the week. This of course occurred in full view of a group of passing walkers, suffice to say there were a few audible chuckles. Nevertheless I resolved to carry on – I now had a challenge on my hands.

What followed was the most (in fact the only) difficult recovery ride I have experienced. I could just about ride on the tri bars on straight sections of road, albeit very slowly with occasional zigzagging. Every time a corner came into view I was forced to revert to a normal riding position, which drew some considerable protest from my injured wrist. The height of my humiliation came when I was passed by an elderly gentleman upon a steel touring bike with two full panniers. I raised my hand in greeting, proudly displaying my splinted wrist, hoping this would make me appear a little less pathetic. However, all it resulted in was another near crash – damaging my already suffering ego even further.

The following day (namely Friday the 13th) I set out again, this time for an actual training ride. Fortunately this time was better, I was at least able to stay upright with relative ease and even tried a few corners. Still, I have yet to pluck up the courage to ride in TT position on descents and at speeds above 25 mph. Its at this point that I am reminded of the infamous rule number 5 and wonder whether I should be riding a bike in the first place (for anyone who doesn’t understand this reference, The Rules – as laid out by the velominati is an essential read for anyone who calls themselves a cyclist).

The whole experience has left me with a newfound respect for time triallists and even if I dare say it, triathletes. They might make it look easy, but riding in an aero position is much harder than it appears from the outside (for a mediocre bike handler such as myself anyway). Its the latest in a series of many lessons I have learned since taking up the sport, judging by recent experience I still have a fair few to go.

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