I am an all or nothin' kind of girl. I don't do half way. When I decide to do anything I jump in head first and go for it. Because of this, a lot of people would assume that I am full of self confidence. Not so. I always feel pretty stupid as I am trying anything new or out of my element. Especially around anyone who might actually know what they are doing. I tend to avoid those people at all costs because I don't think me looking dumb needs to be on display for all to see.
On another note but actually related is the fact that I majored in Fashion Merchandising. The clothes that you wear send a message, regardless of whether or not you realize this fact. I am kind of funny about this one. If I don't have time to shower and get all the way ready for the day but have to go out, there is no way I'm going to try to fake it and just put on make up and do my best with my hair. I'm just going out grubby. I don't want to look like I tried to look nice unless I really did. This is part of the all or nothin' deal. So when you are doing a sport and you are wearing all the garb, the message I get is that you know what you are doing. You can walk the walk and talk the talk.
So, and this is how that relates( I know you're wondering where I am going with this), when I went out and bought myself a road bike I was sure that was all that I was getting. Again, not the case. I realized I needed a helmet. Then the guy at the bike shop starts talking to me about gloves. What in the world would I need gloves for? Then he explains about how if for whatever reason I crash I could really tear up my hands. Yep, I bought the gloves. Then he starts talking to me about (wait before I continue, you need a Nacho Libre accent to read this next part, even if its just in your head. Ready?) stretchy pants. Um, no thank you!!! Me in stretchy pants, not so cute! Ah, but he tells me all about how the stretchy pants (no he didn't call them that, and yes, I know thats not their real name, but it is in my head okay?) anyway they have padding in them and it keeps your tush from being really sore. Oh yes, that did sound good. So yes, I now own stretchy pants. Next he started in on buying a riding jersey. Pockets in the pack to carry your stuff, elastic around the waist so your shirts not dangling around, longer in the back since you are leaning forward. All good reasons, but I had to draw the line somewhere, and so the jersey did not make the purchase list. As you can probably tell I know absolutely nothing about cycling. But I keep toying with the idea of a triathlon, and so I'm jumping in head first, but I am so far from my comfort zone!
Before my first ride I put all my stuff on and actually looked down the hall to make sure nobody was around before I left my bedroom. I don't really look like a REAL rider, but still, wearing all the stuff I did buy, made me feel more than a little self conscious. By the living room I was out of luck. After I walked past Wes, he asked me what was wrong with my butt. "It's called padding son," I called out as I kept on walking. When I got in to the garage and Jeff caught a glimpse of me he called out,"Yes! I can't believe it! I can't believe you are wearing stretchy pants!" ( And yes he said it with a Nacho Libre accent) Apparently I used to make fun of him for wearing them when we were dating, I totally don't remember this, but obviously he is scarred from my remarks. He just laughed and laughed and then went and grabbed my camera. Nice! I am now the "butt" of my own jokes!
My mom joined me on my first ride. When she asked where I wanted to go I simply said, "Anywhere there are not REAL riders." And I meant it! I don't want to look like I know what I am doing because I totally don't! I am sure there are tons of little rules, riding etiquette, that I know nothing about. In fact my greatest fear currently, other than being seen off of my bike by anyone I know while I am wearing my stretchy pants, is getting a flat out there and then taking forever to fix it while on the side of the road, all the while the REAL riders, who can change a tire with their eyes closed, whiz past me.
So for now I am just fine riding solo, asking lots of questions and figuring things out. When I feel like I know what I am doing I may just go back and buy that jersey!