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To cleat or, in my case, not to UNcleat

All new shiny bike is staring at me from the hallway. This is it! The last of my Ironman excuses unfortunately disappeared with the arrival of that all-important Ironman accessory – the bike! It’s very pretty  And all clean and gorgeous. I’ve been for a proper professional bike fit, too – and tried my best to look like I knew what I was doing but I don’t think he was fooled haha I think it was the two-minutes of failed effort before I managed to engage the cleats that gave me away!!

Never mind. If one is going to do stupid things, then one must put up with these small humiliations. ‘You’ll get used to them,’ the ever-patient Steve of Prestige Cycles tells me. ‘It’ll be worth it … It won’t take long …’

Well, I’ll tell you what didn’t take long: It didn’t take long to realise that my dreams of changing my name by deed poll to Amanda Pendleton Hyatt would have to be put off for a wee while. Cleats, Cleats, Glorious Cleats? Not bloody likely! Cleats! Pah! You lot out there with your ‘it just takes a bit of practice’ and ‘after a couple of tries it’ll become automatic’? You are so full of it!!!

Now, I’ll admit that at the ripe old age of 51 the speed of communication from brain to body is not what it used to be but this was a real wake-up call. I’m grateful to the youtube demo that said ‘Uncleat at least 25 times’ (gave me an initial goal) and I probably owe my life to the advice from many who said ‘Stick to grass until you’ve mastered it’!

25 times? Twenty-five? TWENTY-FIVE? Is it just me? Am I really that useless? I’ll be honest. I stayed on that grass and braked and uncleated 100+ times (in ‘batches’ of 25). All I can think is that millions of people use cleats. I cannot – surely – be the ONLY person on the planet who can’t get it?? Or maybe I am! Jeez, perhaps I AM completely useless. I certainly have the bruises to prove it. The upside is that I entertained MANY dog walkers – not one of whom, I might add, approached me to help me disentangle myself from my frequent prone position. I obviously looked like even more of an eejit than I felt haha

Of course, if you haven’t tried cleats, then you just can’t comment. Go try them! Go on! Dare ya! I mean, what’s the problem, eh? You simply twist your foot to release upon braking, right? But, I ask … BUT … do you uncleat at the bottom or the top? Which way do you lean? Did you remember to lean the direction of the uncleated foot? Every time? Did you uncleat before you braked – or at the same time? Or did you leave it too late? Or did you realise you’d forgotten and then panicked and then uncleated the wrong foot? Do you always uncleat the same side? Is that right or wrong? Should you be able to do both – in case of emergency stops?

Speaking of emergency stops …. Forget it! If my foot isn’t in the right place when I apply the brakes we are ALL totally screwed – no easy way to say it!! (Remember that next time you’re about to ‘sneak’ across the road in front of a cyclist haha)

Enough already! I will not give up. I will not give in. I will never surrender. I will NOT be the first person on the planet to admit to cleat failure! Meanwhile, though – best stay out of my way. Besides … do you really want to be anywhere near somebody who had to scrabble for the instruction booklet combined with google to work out how to change gears??

Road to Ironman? This is going to be one lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-n-g road 


** Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter – @hyatt_amanda 


cleats, ironman

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