- get more gravel miles in
- pay attention to my position on my bike to see if I'm putting adequate weight on my seat to help keep me stable on gravel
You see, based on feedback I'm getting from my Gravel Fears post, two things that should help me feel more comfortable riding gravel are 1) time in the saddle riding on gravel (hey, that's sort of poetic) and 2) my position on my bike. In short, if I have all of my weight on my hands instead of on my butt I'm not going to be very stable on the bike. My goal was to figure out how to get my weight shifted aft.
Anyway, we set out for our ride and hit our gravel (fairly loose stuff and a hill right away) and I realized pretty quickly that I put almost all of my weight on my hands and toes but hardly any weight on my sits bones of my butt. Basically, I'm really not sitting in my saddle. Doh!
I was glad for the revelation. Seems like all I need to do is stop carrying tension in my shoulders and settle my weight in my saddle and my gravel riding will go so much better. Should be easy enough to fix, right?
Or maybe not.
So I shifted my weight in my saddle and the only way that I could get my weight on my sits bones had me sitting so far off the back of the saddle that I wasn't positioned on the saddle correctly. sigh. This position resulted in my knee pain coming back. I shifted and resifted my weight but never found myself in a place where I felt I had my weight on my saddle. Bummer.
Were I a Super Positive Person I would have finished out the ride feeling great because at least I knew what part of my issue was with feeling comfortable on gravel. I would have said things to myself like "Yay! I know what I need to do! I just need to work on tweaking my bike. Someone can help me with that!" or "Yay! I'm tough! I can work through a little bit of pain while I tweak my bike to get the fit just right!" or "Yay! At least now I know what the issue is. That's more than half the battle."
I'm working on being that Super Positive Person. But when I'm tired, kinda in pain and sort of scared I don't find myself in Super Positive Person mode. Instead, this morning I found myself in Super Overwhelmed Person mode and I thought things like:
- But I don't really know how to adjust my bike to get the fit right so I'm screwed
- The RiotGRRRaveL race is just two weeks away. I'll never be ready
- I don't know who can help me adjust my bike
- The guy who helped me adjust my bike last time probably just thinks I'm complaining too much and won't help me again.
- Plus he's busy, when on earth am I going to find a time when he can help me?
- How on earth am I going to keep training for this ride if I'm in pain?
- I'm a wimp
- No one wants to ride with me because I'm so slow
- I'm too slow
- and so on
Did I mention that I felt so overwhelmed and frustrated that I cried the last two miles of my bike ride? Yep. I'm prone to tears anyway but really outdid myself this time.
Oh I am so much fun to hang out with sometimes. Geez. I can't be the only person in the world who has issues with bike fit (and thinking positive) but I sure feel like I'm the only person in this boat sometimes. Actually, make that most of the time.
But, now that hours have passed and the ride is well behind me, I can switch into Super Positive Person mode and realize that I did, in fact, achieve my ride goals for the morning. I logged more gravel miles on my ride and I paid attention to my position. So that's all good. Yay!
Also, in the afternoon, I tracked down my bike fitting friend at his work and said I needed help. He said, first of all, that riding loose gravel is really, really, tough, for everyone. He also mentioned that I could try raising my handlebars a bit to help shift my weight back.
So that's my next plan of action - adjust my bar height a bit and get back out and try it again. Let's hope I can keep Super Overwhelmed Person in check tomorrow and manage not to cry.