Well, it's been a while since I've posted up any progress reports on my riding. One, my rides primarily consisted of little short trips around 'hood, or just out to bike night, and two, my chain and sprocket desperately needed replacing, so Chris was limiting my riding radius until that was done (in CASE anything happened, so we weren't far from home).
However, I'm happy to report I've had a couple riding milestones this weekend.
We dropped off my bike Thursday to get the chain and sprocket done, and went by Saturday to pick it up (Chris drove, and I planned to ride it home). I was nervous leaving the shop, as it's in a very congested area, and I had to make a left (without a traffic light) out onto a busy thoroughfare. I was pretty freaked out about it, but knew I had Chris following me in the car keepin' an eye on me.
Mounted up, and it took me a couple minutes to work up the guts to pull out into traffic (it'd been over three weeks since I'd ridden!), but as soon as I did, *poof* all the nerves melted away. It was a gorgeous, sunny (though windy) day, and although there was a good bit of traffic, I was managing to hit green lights all the way from the shop to home. I was about halfway home when I looked back and realized Chris wasn't behind me (
), but I kept on riding. Though it was a short trip, it was an exhilirating ride. It was my first solo trip, and I did great!
As it turns out, Chris was WAYYYYYYY far behind me (took him a few more minutes to have a break in traffic, and he didn't have my luck with green lights ). I was so proud of myself! I finally felt like I was going to be okay riding alone (up till now, I really felt like I "needed" Chris with me to keep an eye on me).
So that was Milestone #1 - YAY ME!!
Then Sunday, we were attending a benefit car show for a friend of Chris'. It was down in St. Augustine (about 42 miles away), which we knew would be a beautiful ride (and my longest ride one-way yet!). But then I checked the weather, and saw they were forecasting 20-30 mph winds. YIKES!! Chris assured me we'd be okay, though, so off we went.
The ride down was beautiful.... it was a bit cloudy, but warmish, light traffic, and some gusty winds. A few times, I really, really felt like I was going to blow over (it was almost as if I was riding on ice -- the wind was literally moving me within my lane), but I just tucked in, gripped the tank with my thighs and kept at it. Though I was physically exhausted, I refused to give up, and kept on going (Chris told me later he was amazed I didn't stop at any point to rest, or get a drink).
The car show was nice, saw a lot of Chris' old friends, watched the MotoGP race, and then mounted up to head home. As we're gearing up, the wind is REALLY kicking, and I'm growing a little bit nervous. This time we were riding INTO the wind, and it had definitely picked up speed (I'm guesstimating there were gusts upwards of 40-45mph). But I was okay... only one spot (only about 15 minutes from home) where I REALLY REALLY thought "Oh crap, I'm gonna get blown into that SUV!") but I managed to keep it together.
It was an absolute blast....My cheeks hurt from the incessant giggling inside my helmet. I can definitely tell where certain skills are improving, and I can see what things I still need to work on. But now that I know I'm "ok" flying solo, I can start working on those skills on my ride to and from work.