I’m A Real Cyclist Now

I crashed.

In the cycling world, apparently this means I’m now a “real cyclist”. So at least I have that going for me, right? (Yes, I’m okay, thank you for asking!) Everyone always told me, “it’s not a matter of IF you will crash, but WHEN.” Fantastic, I have that out of the way!

Bah humbug.

Bah humbug.

 Backing up – this past Saturday, I headed out to practice with my team with a totally negative attitude about biking. My head was really not in the right place, and I think I can attribute this almost 95% to my crash. The other 5% to sheer clumsiness.

I was turning left and looking behind myself to see if anyone was coming. All of a sudden I was nice and cozy with the curb…too cozy. If cozy means “facedown in the dirt”, that is. In the split second that I saw I was going to hit it, I was thinking, “this is going to be embarrassing, I’m going to go up on the curb and people will shake their heads at me, but I’ll be fine, I’ll just ride back down off the curb.” And then…black. I don’t recall my feet coming unclipped or flying over the sidewalk. Suddenly I was on the ground with a throbbing head and bruised hip.  I touched my head to make sure I was truly okay and slowly sat up as my teammates came rushing over. Dramatic, right? 

The first thing my coach asked was obviously if I was okay, and if my head hurt. I wanted to cry; a little because it hurt, a little because I was embarrassed. I know it’s nothing to be embarrassed about, but hey, I just hit a curb for basically no reason. A teesny bit embarrassing.

I dropped my chain (which is a fancy way of saying it came off the gears/rings – meaning pedaling will not, in fact, propel the bike forward, which is the main goal of biking, you know ) so they helped me put that back on. Poor little Penelope. After standing up and getting the whole “it happens to everyone” pep talk, I decided I felt okay enough to keep going, knowing that if my head kept hurting I would need to stop. Thankfully my headache slowly went away and I felt okay. I only cried a few tears into my sunglasses, and ended up finishing 50 miles. On Sunday morning my shoulders and hip were extremely sore; but most of all, my neck. I’m only now starting to feel normal again. (I couldn’t even do situps or lift my heading from a laying position. Bad news.) I was hoping I would get a nice big bruise where I fell on my hip to make me look tougher, but I rarely bruise so I barely have anything. Dang it!

 So, to recap: I crashed. I’m fine. Watch for curbs. I need to get my bike tuned up, one of the gears is grinding now. Yay. Also, Ralph’s Italian Ice is the best cure for bike crashes. Fact.

Happiest place in the whole wide world.

Happiest place in the whole wide world.

Now…onto less painful news…10 days to Rev3Quassy (might be more painful, actually). Since I’m a “real cyclist” now, I am totally not scared anymore.

Just kidding, I’m terrified. But enthusiastic! I really am looking forward to it, I just have these nerves that I haven’t had since my first half-marathon. Nerves are good though, right? We all need a little excitement in our lives! And as Brendan reminded me this weekend, “YOU DO THIS STUFF FOR FUN”. He was a little bit reminding me that I don’t need to freak out and a little bit accusing me of being crazy. Both valid points.

Isn't he a doll? He acts like he doesn't love running 5Ks with me but I know he secretly does.

Isn’t he a doll? He acts like he doesn’t love training with me but I know he secretly does.

Semi-related topic, he has actually started a list of “Ways You Know You Live With A Triathlete”: Reason #1 – there’s a wetsuit hanging over the shower rod and you hear things like “hold on, I can’t go to bed yet, don’t turn off the light…I have to hang up my wetsuit”. Evidently that’s a nerdy thing to say! Silly Brendan. He doesn’t what what’s coming to him over the next couple months!

Back to Quassy…we just got the athlete guide for the event. My swim wave (females under 35) starts at 7:30AM – the first wave begins at 6:50AM (pro men) and the last wave goes off at 7:45am. Based on past rules, I would have 15 “extra” minutes before the timing for cutoffs even began, however this year the cutoffs are designated as follows:

  • Swim Cut-off: The swim cut off is 1:10:00 from start of the last swim wave.
  • Bike Cut-off: You must finish the bike course within 5:30:00 following the start of your swim wave.
  • Run Cut-off: 8:30:00 from the start of the last swim wave.

Last year, the bike cutoff said 5:30 following the start of the LAST swim wave. Eeeek! I guess I don’t get that extra 15 minutes. Yikes. (But how will they know? Will there really be people out there searching for my age – which they mark on your body – and pulling people off the course based on their swim start time?) Let’s just hope I’m so prepared and have so much adrenaline and new knowledge that I dominate and can laugh in the face of that bike course. Cross your fingers.

My heart is racing just reading the athlete guide again. Thankfully, I found out yesterday that a few of my coaches will be there for support. They are even coming to the transition area early in the morning (before the swim starts!!) to help us out with any last minute questions. How fantastic are they!?

If you want to get involved and play a fun little game (come on, who doesn’t?!) feel free to join me in the “Guess Kara’s Finish Time” game. You can win a $50 Visa gift card, and all proceeds will go to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Click here for details!

 In other news, I ran 11 miles on Sunday, and swam in my wetsuit for the first time on Monday. Let me tell you…WETSUITS ARE INCREDIBLE.  I don’t even have to move and I just float. So much buoyancy. (Tip: if you’re not as strong of a swimmer, use a full sleeved wetsuit – even for a summer race – it will help you immensely!) My hair kept getting caught in the velcro that sits right at your neck, so I need to figure that out. It was painful! But that was my only issue. I felt so speedy and swimming was so much easier. I didn’t even have to kick my legs. Love it.

I don't have photographic evidence so you get this photo. Again.

I don’t have photographic evidence so you get this photo. Again.

If you would have asked me at the beginning of training to rank my sports in order from best to less-best (see how I’m trying to be more positive and not say worst?!) I would have said running, biking, swimming. While I still don’t necessarily enjoy swimming (well, training for swimming) and still know basically nothing about it, I think I would now rank my strengths as running (sort of – still recovering), swimming, then biking. Biking is really giving me a rough time…but I plan to get strong and succeed eventually. Don’t you worry! I will get out of this slump.

Lastly, click here for a super motivating race recap from my Ironman friend Dayna, who I stalked for hours on Saturday as she participated in Ironman Texas. (Remember her from Ragnar?) Ironman has a live camera at the finish line and I got to see her finish. It was incredible!! 

Dayna and I!

Dayna & I. This is NOT from an Ironman, but it is from the Staten Island Half Marathon. Basically the same thing.

Ever crashed on a bike? Surprised yourself by being stronger at something than you thought? How’s your training and/or not training going? Funny stories? I wanna know everything!

I’m a writer currently living in New Jersey and blogging about running, fitness, wellness, and motivation. I want every reader to laugh and feel empowered, balanced, and motivated! Subscribe by email to get 1-2 newsletters a month with post updates, my favorite articles, running playlists and more!


  1. May 22, 2013 / 1:55 pm

    I crash my bike about once a year. Normally b/c I think I’m so cool I can do something awesome on the bike, like pick up a dropped water bottle while rolling down hill, clipped into my pedals. Yeah, I’m not that cool.

    Secondly, wetsuits rock! Totally rock.

    • May 22, 2013 / 2:00 pm

      Haha well I hope it’s never been too bad of a crash! I saw a guy grab a water bottle from the ground once (while never stopping his bike) and I was absolutely in awe. How is that even possible?! I, however, still have to remind myself that my feet are clipped in, haha. I have a lot of learning to do!

  2. May 22, 2013 / 2:44 pm

    I haven’t truly crashed yet (not if, but when, etc.) but I have definitely toppled over at very slow speed from forgetting to unclip. Every so often I get this feeling that I’m “due” for a fall, and then I just…go over. Glad you’re OK!

    Floating in a wetsuit is so fun! I’m thinking I’m going to have to rent a sleeveless for my summer race because otherwise I might actually boil inside, but I love putting on my full-sleeve in cool water and just bobbing there.

    I am also terrified of missing my bike cutoff in my 70.3 and my bike’s name is also Penelope!

    • May 24, 2013 / 1:53 pm

      I’m still scared of toppling over at every stoplight, haha.

      SO FUNNY your bike’s name is Penelope!! Love it! And as everyone always tells me, I’m sure you’ll be fine. (It’s easier to give this advice than take it, haha). But just get out there and have fun! Which 70.3 are you doing?

      • May 24, 2013 / 5:16 pm

        Vineman 70.3 in July! Plenty of time (to freak out) (but really to ride my bike and train and stuff)

  3. May 22, 2013 / 3:25 pm

    Eek, sorry about the crash, but at least you got the Italian Ice. That is celebrating being a real cyclist not the crash, of course. Glad you are okay too.

    I’ve never worn a wetsuit or really went swimming for a sport, but that’s good to know about them. I always just figured people wore them because the water was cold…

    • May 24, 2013 / 1:53 pm

      I always thought that about wetsuits too, but now I’ve learned firsthand how much they can help! It almost feels like cheating! :)

  4. May 22, 2013 / 8:33 pm

    ROCK ON! Sorry about the crash but now your official! I love the wet suit picture. I’ve never swam in one but I hear good things. You are going to be amazing at this tri I just know it!

    • May 24, 2013 / 1:54 pm

      Thank you so much for the vote of confidence! :) So happy we met last year!

  5. May 22, 2013 / 10:06 pm

    Yes!! I have crashed….not anything serious but all more “embarrassing” moments. I always try and get up and get going before someone can ask how I am because that is when I start crying!! :)

    I can’t believe Quassy is in 10 days!! SO EXCITING!! You are going to do great! Do not focus on the cut off times….Just swim and bike and run and you will be fine!! You won’t enjoy it if you are always looking at the time and trying to calculate what you need to do to get there. Takes up too much energy! You have plenty of training under your belt to have a great race!!

    Love the wetsuit pic! I bet you are happy about the new guidelines for IMLP!!??

    • May 24, 2013 / 1:55 pm

      Yes! Same here. I just wanted to be alone and cry, haha.

      I know, it’s SO SOON. As everyone tells me, I can swim, I can bike, and I can run. And I love all of those things (for the most part :)) so I just need to get out there and enjoy it. And YES so happy about the new LP swim start rules!

  6. May 23, 2013 / 11:45 am

    Sorry about the bike crash. Hope your neck feels 100% ASAP.
    It’s always embarassing. If I cry, it’s usually from embarassment rather than pain! The first time I fell off my bike, I rolled into the ditch with my feet still clipped in! I also just fell trail running. Sadly, I don’t bruise either so had nothing to show!
    Exciting about your upcoming race! I agree with Leslie- don’t focus on cut-off times. It’ll just add unnecessary stress!

    • May 24, 2013 / 1:57 pm

      Oh no, well I’m glad you’re okay! I’m the same way, I’ve definitely fallen while trail running too. I am just so clumsy. Thanks for the support!

  7. May 23, 2013 / 2:15 pm

    So glad you’re ok! Yes, the crashes are inevitable. Everybody has had at least one. I’ve crashed numerous time. Keep at it!

    • May 24, 2013 / 1:58 pm

      Thanks Marissa! I’m glad to see you’re okay after numerous crashes! It’s so scary…but I guess it’s a good thing we are strong enough to get up and dust ourselves off, right? :)

  8. Beth @RxBethOnTheRun
    May 23, 2013 / 9:02 pm

    You are, in a word, AMAZING! YOU RAN 11 MILES!?! I’m so proud of you. You have been strong, determined and persevered even when the going got really tough. No matter what happens on race day (even though you are going to CRUSH IT) you have already achieved so much and I hope you are so incredibly proud of yourself. I know I’M so incredibly proud of you!

    • May 24, 2013 / 1:59 pm

      I did! Thank you! Working my way back :)

      You are such a kind person, thank you so much for always being there for me and reminding me to be proud of myself. You always know the right things to say. Don’t forget, I’m super proud of you too!

  9. May 24, 2013 / 8:21 am

    I’m just amazed that you got up and kept going. Pretty sure I’d throw in the towel right then and there. So glad you were ok! You are going to be great at Quassy and I can’t wait to hear how it goes!!!

    • May 24, 2013 / 2:03 pm

      I wanted to, but didn’t want to have to do the ride later on my own, haha :)

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