The other day, I was out for an easy morning ride with Pat. This is the one where we get to the Veloway, and I speed away from her to complete three laps, while she does two.
So I’m on the backside of the track, approaching the pesky little hill that provides the only real challenge to riding here. Usually, I’m in the small chainring, moving about 21 mph in one of the smaller cogs. I shift down two or three gears to be able to get up the hill without coming up out of the saddle.
This time, though, I zoned out. I pushed the left brifter in — but that’s the one that shifts me into the large chainring on the front. Startled, I realized I was screwing up, and mashed the right brifter in, snick, snick, snick.
By now, I had reached the bottom of the hill, and had to negotiate a sharp right turn to start the climb. But a lady on a mountain bike was in the right lane. Instead of starting in the left, picking the apex of the turn, and shooting across to the right lane to smoothly attack the hill, I had to keep to the left lane.
I hit the hill in the large chainring, several gears higher than I normally ride it. I wound up standing on the pedals this time, pushing hard to get to the top of the short grade, and watching as the lady’s mountain bike stalled halfway up, in the middle of the track. She put a foot on the ground, and I went by her. (In her defense, I well remember when I first rode the Veloway on my mountain bike. I didn’t stop, but I strained to get the pedals around on that hill.)
I’ve done this route so many times that even in the wrong gear the hill wasn’t a problem. It just wasn’t as smooth a job as I’d like. What bothers me is that it’s not the first time I’ve missed a shift like this. Most often, I’ll mean to downshift with the right brifter but click the little black paddle instead — the one that upshifts. This time, I got the wrong side altogether!
Has this ever happened to you, or is this a case of my Oldsheimer’s taking over?