Reaching for Water
Spending lots of time on the roadbike has improved my speed and endurance more than I ever thought possible. Unfortunately, my bike handling skills are lagging so far behind that the gap is becoming almost comical.
What's causing some frustration at the moment, is that I can't drink water on the bike while in motion. Other cyclists will nonchalantly remove their water bottle from the cage without reducing speed, drink while continuing to cycle as if this were the most natural thing in the world, then replace the bottle in the cage and keep going as if it never happened. For me this maneuver is impossible to execute; I need to stop the bike in order to drink.
Prior to now this was never a problem. For the most part I cycled alone, and if I needed a drink I simply stopped the bike any time I felt like it. And the paceline rides I went on were only 20 miles, plus our stops at intersections were sufficient to sneak a quick guzzle. But now that I am going on longer rides and with groups of people, I am finding it more difficult to manage my water intake. I need to learn to drink without stopping the bike!
It's just so sad, because I've been practicing the water thing since summer, but progressing at a snail's pace. I can now grab the bottle with my left hand, but the bike jerks wildly when I attempt to yank it out of the cage. And if I do pull it out, what on earth will I do with it? Should I need to turn or stop the bike suddenly, will I be able to do it with one hand holding a bottle? Panic! Panic! Swerve! Panic! Yes, I am really that neurotic.
It doesn't help matters that I am extremely resistant to being taught. "No, really! If I could do it, so can you. Look, I'll teach you." Yeah... Suffice to say, I've never met a well-meaning cyclist whom I couldn't frustrate with my inability to learn technique. So, for now I'm stuck drinking water at stops and gazing in awe at those who can drink while cycling. Maybe some day I will read this post and laugh. Till then, I can only resume my snail's progress.