Updated: Sep 28, 2018
A good friend Anna McCone and I hit up Bottle Lake Forest in the weekend for an afternoon mountain bike ride. Both of us are relatively new to the sport, this was her first off-road outing on her new bike, and I’ve only had my bike for a couple of months. I’m competing in an event called Spring Challenge at the end of September, an adventure race that consists of running, orienteering, rafting and mountain biking. It’s run by Nathan Fa’aeve, one of NZ’s multi-sport legends and has become one of the top adventure races. Based in Arrowtown (location changes each year), you can enter into a 3-hour, 6-hour or 10-hour event in teams of three (females only!). I am doing the 10-hour with two good friends Hils and Jacqs, so I really needed to get out on my mountain bike for a bit of training. (I’m super proud to say my Mum is doing the 3-hour).
As we were getting ready it was decided now would be a good time for us to try our ‘clip-in’ shoes for the first time. It’s relatively flat terrain, there were only two of us, and we were just going to cruise. It seemed like the perfect Sunday ride. I use clip-ins on my road bike, and yes, have had the odd embarrassing fall (once at a very busy intersection in Sydney), so I know the jist of how they work.
It’s a whole new ball game on a mountain bike though! Things were going well, we were discussing my blog and topics I could write about to help out newbies such as ‘should you wear underwear under bike shorts?’ (1-1), ‘the benefits of yoga while training’ (I’m all for it) and ‘when is a good time to start using clip-ins?’ The last topic was decided on, but the content of this post changed dramatically as I rounded a corner too fast, turned too sharply and hit a tree. As someone said, I wouldn’t have been going too fast if I hadn’t hit a tree!! Yes, very true.
Anna thought this would be a great photo opportunity to which I very politely declined! It was pretty funny though, and the guy that we had only just passed cruised on by (competitive much?!?). No broken bones but one very sore wrist which Bids from Russley Physio has all strapped up for me.
So would I recommend clip-ins to newbies? Yes and no. Let’s be honest I still would have crashed, but my wrist might not have taken the full brunt of the fall. They do make you go faster, and there is no chance of your feet bouncing off the pedals (I’ve read your weight distribution isn’t right if this happens), but make sure you’re confident on your bike first. I don’t think an extra five minutes is going to make too much of a difference compared to 6 weeks in a cast. So it’s back to the trusty sneakers for Spring Challenge, and once that’s done a couple of slower rides with clip-in shoes might be on the cards.