This week my bike underwent two big transformations: new PINK handlebar tape and clipless pedals! I am excited about the former, and very nervous about the latter. Both are influenced by my friend, Angi.
I've mentioned Angi before. I met her this past year on dailymile, and she has since become my biking partner. Over the summer, most of my long weekend rides were done with her. She motivated me to go longer, and helped me get up big hills I never thought I could do. She helped train me for my first Olympic-distance triathlon, which I did in September....and in fact came to cheer me on for the entire 4 hours I was racing.
For months she, and her husband, Steve (who taught me how to change a bike tire!) have been urging me to trade in my clunky pedals with toe cages for clipless pedals. Clipless scares me. The idea of being CLIPPED IN while I'm riding, and having to quick-release before I stop, is terrifying. I have to quickly get out of my toe cages, too, and remember falling a few times when I first got them. I hate falling.
But they have been pushing me to try them, even giving me Angi's old pedals and shoes (we are the same shoe size). Apparently, using clipless pedals will give me more power when I ride, which I can definitely use when climbing hills (ok, who am I kidding...I am so slow on the bike that I can use the extra power even on flat rides!) So this week I took my bike into the shop made the change. Yesterday I took my bike to a local park where I practiced riding while clipping and unclipping, clipping and unclipping. Right now, I feel moderately comfortable unclipping on the right side; I can't stop on a dime, but I think I can unclip given warning. I can't unclip as easily on the left side, but that's ok...even with my toe cages I always, always undid my right foot to stop.
So all that is well and good...but here's the thing: Angi is now battling breast cancer. She found a lump about a year ago, but didn't think anything of it. However, during a routine mammogram in October, she found out it was cancerous. She had a mastecomy in November and while the doctors are optimistic that they got it all, she is facing a few months of chemotherapy.
Her husband wrote on his blog that he changed his handlebar tape to pink to show his support for Angi, and that he is not changing it back until she is cancer-free. I am joining him. I can't wait to be able to change it back to blue. Angi will beat this---she's a tough athlete, and has an unstoppable determination and optimism. I have already promised her that when she's ready, I am doing a 5k with her; her first race post-treatment.
Please, please....if you're a woman, get your breasts checked. Check them monthly, get a mammogram yearly, and if you feel a lump, please consult your doctor immediately. And please, please...send positive thoughts, energy and prayer to my dear friend Angi!