This is a little series about how I came to love road cycling. I thought I’d separate it into parts, just so I wouldn’t have to cram two years worth of cycling experiences and pictures in a single post.
I somehow feel the need to clarify that this isn’t about me learning to cycle, and falling in love with it. Hahah, no. I learned how to ride a bike yonks ago (when I was a mere toddler) and associate cycling with one of my fondest childhood memories of cycling furiously towards the direction of a rainbow, in hopes that I could find the end of it – and perhaps even that pot of gold everyone keeps talking about.
This series is about road cycling and as I eventually found out, is a completely different form and way of cycling than what I’m used to. I would love to get technical, but lets be honest… I actually can’t aha because Hadzray has been guiding me through everything and despite him having explained everything to me I haven’t actually been listening, much less taking notes.
Sorry bubs, I love you though!
I bought my (road) bicycle nearly two years ago, and since then, I’ve only ever went for a ride in Putrajaya, Shah Alam and the Sepang International Circuit – not taking into account the hours I’ve clocked in on riding it indoors on a bicycle trainer.
The first time I rode it was in Putrajaya, on the 27th of June 2015. Hadzray had suggested that I started off there since I needed to first get accustomed to the feel of a road bicycle. I also needed to be taught how to properly use clipless pedals (essentially, with road cycling, you need to be wearing a specific set of shoes that could clip in directly to your pedals – ensuring no flip flopping nonsense as you ride).
Naturally… that night was also the first time I would ever fall off my bike – much to Hadzray’s annoyance. It isn’t my first time cycling, mind you, but having your feet stuck to your pedals require some getting used to. I fell because I had completely forgotten that my lower limbs were attached to my bicycle when I braked to a halt.
Also naturally, I received a temporary “souvenir” from the fall. Looks so extra, when the truth is that it was such a lousy fall… I was a lot more embarrassed that in happened in full view of A LOT of people than concerned for how it would affect me or my bicycle (we both survived, if that isn’t obvious).
From that day onwards, I was pretty determined to get fit* – note; I was at my most heaviest, having gained a little over 7 kilos over my final degree year.
*it was around this time that I also decided to take on a pescetarian diet.
Admittedly, I was still pretty naive as to how strong I would need to actually be in order to be able to join Hadzray and his climbs up places like Genting Sempah. But I also convinced myself that I would be OKAY with just riding on flats my entire life… just so I wouldn’t have to go through too much training to get strong hahah I aim high, don’t I?
The best thing about unemployment was that I was free to spend my days however I please, and for the next couple months, I was pretty much on my bicycle trainer for at least 20 minutes every morning – clocking in at least 10km on the stationary bike daily. Good god, writing this down is making me realise just how lousy my effort was – JUST 20 MINUTES?? But I guess thats better than nothing…
I was so into it (the routine) at times that I would drag my bicycle and the trainer outside on the balcony for whatever reason.
My commitment did yield positive results, and I did successfully manage to lose a chunk of the weight I gained over the past year.
Leading up to this year, the only other place that I cycled at and around is the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) and Shah Alam that one time. The SIC would open up their tracks for cyclists on a bi-weekly basis (if I remember correctly) over the month of Ramadhan, and I would often go with Hadzray after breaking fast.
I particularly enjoyed our sessions here; the road was in perfect condition (as it should, being an international F1 racing track), it was at night, so I could always count on the cool breeze to distract me from the pain in my legs, the sweat trickling down my face and whatever uncomfortable-ness that was taking place in my nether regions, and it wasn’t particularly challenging – translation: no crazy hills that requires climbing.
And not to forget that it was also cool lah! Cycling on a race track, free of charge at that!
But after Hadzray and I got engaged, I slowed down and eventually stopped training almost entirely. Mainly because I’m so bad with routines – I do it long enough, I get bored. So that, and just knowing that it was going to be a long time before the next time Hadzray takes me out cycling… I lost interest.
I was bored of the same ol’ same ol’ and was frankly ready to follow my husband on more challenging rides, but he insisted that I wasn’t ready still. And he was right, I wasn’t.
So 2016 was pretty uneventful, and you could pretty much say that I stopped cycling throughout most of the year.
However, I made a conscious decision to get back into it once Hadzray and I were pronounced husband and wife, because I knew very well that by then, he would have no excuse not to take me anywhere, and I would have no excuse to be lazy. So it wasn’t like I was giving up on the sport completely.
I shall continue with when I picked cycling up again after my wedding in Part II of this series.