Jolly

The Devil Wears Cleats

Training Diary 5 Comments

Turns out I’m not a total natural in cleats. Which is disappointing, as I thought I would be.

Why, I don’t know. Based on my only similar experience, which is ski boots attached to skis, where I generally use falling over as my preferred method of disengaging one from the other, my surprise at being rubbish at cleats is somewhat inexplicable.

My most spectacular ski unclipping was probably when I skied off the edge of a piste. Luckily there was a toboggan track about 1.5m below, so I was cushioned (slightly) in my fall. Not because of unfortunate tobogganists catching me in their lap. No, just because the toboggan track had some snow on it. If I’d managed to propel myself about a metre further into the forest beyond, there was no snow. It had all melted, as it was an unseasonably warm February in Europe at the time. I escaped injury, and even bruising. Just my ego that took yet another bashing… (I was in ski school at the time. Adult ski school. So I had an audience of about 12 other newbie skiers who were all substantially less inept than I).

This morning, I have been doing turtle impersonations. If lying on your back with a bike above your head can be described as a turtle impersonation. Which on further consideration probably isn’t a very good analogy. But that might be because my first attempt to figure out how to clip-in resulted in the barbecue assaulting me. I swear the damn barby jumped out and bashed me as I was contemplating the mysteries of how to disengage my foot from the pedal. Anyway, I may have tipped sideways and banged my head. Just slightly.

With great foresight (having already scraped up one side of my leg), I took the bike onto the grass. With even more great foresight, I decided to figure out the unclipping mechanism prior to clipping in this time….

This led to one successful unclipping, with just one foot clipped in. Woohoo!!

Buoyed by my imminent mastery of cleatage, I clipped both feet in.

At least I managed to fall onto the other side (which is the better side – the one away from chains and gears and all the whizzerdary), legs akimbo, bike attached. So now I have matching scratching on both legs…

Sorry Melissa – I will remove all grass from your bike and shoes.

Oh, did I mention I’m borrowing a bike?

And cleats?

Yes, so my actually-not-at-all-like-a-turtle-impersonation-involving-a-bike* was performed using not-even-my-own-bike.

I promise to master the art of cleatage before I do any damage!!

For anyone reading this who is also a wannabe triathloner, don’t let me put you off. Having talked to many other beginners at the club, my level of incompetence seems to be particularly high on the scale of ineptitude. Laura has NEVER fallen. Whereas I have a 66% fall rate, based on my 3 efforts. I blame Scott for telling me that I would fall many, many times. I don’t think he actually envisaged quite this many though…

To all those who have mastered cleats, I salute you. You have my utmost respect.

To those who invented cleats, I believe you are directly related to Satan.

But I will not be defeated.

Now, all I need is to identify a spot with no humans and many soft landings. And a whole lot of luck.

Wish me luck, guys. xx

cleats
Nice bike, devilish cleats, treacherous BBQ

*No turtles were harmed in the writing of this post. I feel this disclaimer is necessary, as there may have been some discussion about aggressive swimming techniques over coffee this morning. I may or may not have admitted to making up for my lack of speed and ability in the water with a penchant for swimming over people a little over-enthusiastically in water polo. For which, I would like to apologise. And give assurances that it won’t happen in triathlon – because I will be so far behind the body of swimmers, I won’t be able to get up to shenanigans…Anyway, from there, we got onto the topic of turtles, dead or alive. As you do. NO TURTLES WERE HARMED, OK!!

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5 Comments

  • Deborah on 20th May 2016

    I almost had to google cleats until I got further down the article!

    Good luck!

    • Author
      Jolly on 20th May 2016

      Ha! Yes, four weeks ago, I would have had to google it too. It’s amazing how quickly you get absorbed into the tri cult club and all it’s jargon! Still working on plucking up the courage to get back on the bike with the darned devil shoes on!!

  • Ingrid on 20th May 2016

    When I first read the word cleats I was thinking of the cleats my husband wears when he goes rock fishing!

  • Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid on 21st May 2016

    Well, you’re on step, or one cycle ahead of me! I can’t even ride a bike without training wheels! It wouldn’t be a tri unless it was trying! You know what they say, you just have to get on your bike!

  • Tamsyn on 23rd May 2016

    Do you have a turbo trainer? (Or a spin class where you can use your shoes?) Perhaps practising unclippig on a stationary bike would be helpful and then when you are more confident you can get back out on your bike and try again. It might also be that you need to loosen your cleats so that it is easier to unclip. Good luck! It does get easier 🙂

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