Swim: 0 m/105,145 m
Bike: 0/1,103 miles
Run: 6/384.6 miles
After eight months of riding, I finally took the plunge this week and purchased a set of clipless pedals and cycling shoes. I had been hesitant to make the purchase for several reasons:
1) The cost: did I want to spend $200+ on another triathlon accessory when I’ve spent a lot already this year (including purchasing a new bike)?
2) The need: using only toe clips, I’ve gotten my general training speeds up to about 20 mph on most rides. Are clipless pedals going to make a noticeable improvement in my performance? Will I be getting enough bang for my buck?
3) Fear: I’m pretty comfortable riding in my running shoes, and it makes it easier in transition to hop off the bike and start the run without making a second shoe swap. Like many new cyclists, I’m also worried about the embarrassment factor as I get used to being firmly attached to my pedals.
4) Timing: my “A” race is less than three weeks away – is that enough time to become familiar with the new equipment?
5) The future: what’s next for my riding? It is a long-term proposition for me, or has my Year of the Triathlon been a limited venture that wraps up after my last tri of the season?
But this week my local triathlon shop hosted a major Labor Day sale, and I was able to pick up the pedals and shoes with a pretty solid discount. I bought the Look Keo Plus pedals and Pearl Izumi Tri Fly III shoes. I’ve come to terms with most of the questions I outlined above, but No. 4 still weighs heavily on me. Once I get the pedals installed later this week, I’ll have only two weeks to get comfortable with the new gear before my goal race for the year.
Thankfully, I should have many opportunities to ride during those two weeks, since we’ll be on vacation for one of them (and I’m bringing my bike along) and then my daughter starts preschool when we get back. Not only do I plan to get in some substantial rides, but I also plan to get back on the bike a couple times each day for short spins around the driveway/neighborhood/parking lot just to get a feel for clipping in and out and also for mounting and dismounting the bike.
If, at the end of the two weeks, I still feel uncomfortable with the new setup, I’m prepared to simply reinstall the current pedals and toe clips for race day.
Although it would have been optimal to make this change at least a month earlier, I’m pretty happy that I went through with it, and that I was able to find a good deal. But the real test is going to come on my first few rides when question No. 2 gets answered – was it worth it?