I did a Sals ride with Renee last week, and had a really tough time: I felt almost incompetent, screwing up all sorts of easy things and just not feeling strong or competent. I noticed that my feet would not stay clipped to the pedals, and also that the brakes were almost bottoming out, and since I knew that bad riding would never be my fault or issue, I focused on those as the sources of my problems.
The brakes were easy: I picked up new pads and replaced the worn ones. Brake replacement used to be the most tricky part of bicycle maintenance, but each new generation of braking technology has made a quantum leap in ease of use (even as the brakes themselves became more complicated), to the point where my biggest problem was not over-thinking the job. Pull out the old pads, slap in the new ones, done — they even do their own adjusting afterward.
My pedals/cleats were a different matter. I noticed that they (the cleats) were in fact worn, and even kind of broken, and I had spare cleats ready to go, but I could not get the old ones off my shoes: corrosion had welded the bolts in place, and I was practically stripping my Allen wrenches trying to loosen them. In the end I had to get new shoes — the originals were old, had multiple other issues, and they owed me nothing; this was really just the final straw. I got a new pair of Bontrager shoes and installed the cleats.
Yesterday morning I did a towpath ride, just a test run for my new stuff. Everything checked out fine, and I even did a little bit of playing around with the heart rate monitor, riding in various zones and trying to find my maximum heart rate. This meant that I was pushing pretty hard at some points, and I managed to finish the ride much quicker than usual. Bonus!
I hopped in the shower afterward, and just for laughs I stepped on the scale. This wasn’t my usual “official morning weigh-in” protocol by any means, it was a warm ride and I was probably dehydrated, but I got on the scale anyway and it read 180.0 pounds. I hadn’t seen that number in a while! I spent the rest of the day chugging water, and my weight was back up at 184 pounds this morning. Oh well…