On a roll. Again. Finally.

It’s been a source of bike rider shame: my lack of roller-riding skills. Down in the velodrome infield at Elite Track Nationals (mere weeks after winning two medals at the Paralympic Games), waves of moderate embarrassment washed over me. I was one of the only riders with her bike solidly clamped into a trainer.

I knew that I had more “skillz” than I was displaying. And it was tempting to ditch the trainer. But also, it had been so long since I’d even attempted the rollers that I wanted to practice in my garage. With the doors closed. And my helmet on.

Ask any of the Hellyer Women’s Team Pursuit squad: the only thing that might be just as important as winning a race is how you ride the rollers in the infield. Bonus style points are awarded for being able to add/subtract layers of clothing, eat, drink, or text podium pics while doing so.

Over the course of the last few years, through injury and then quitting the sport and then ultimately returning, I’d forgotten how to ride the rollers. And I never bothered to take the time to re-learn. Every time I thought I’d give it a whirl, there, in my brain, would be the litany of stresses associated with riding a bike on round, spinning canisters eighteen inches wide. In my journey back to elite bike racing, I had so many other sources of stress, that adding the rollers into the mix always proved to be one step too far.

The other day, though, with roads looking wet and the sky threatening to deliver more of that wet stuff, I pulled out the rollers. I made Justin pull his car into the garage, so close to the dryer that there was juuuuuust enough room for the rollers in between.

Secure in the knowledge that it was literally impossible to fall over, I proceeded to sit on my bike and clip my shoes into the pedals.

Then, drawing on every yoga skill I possess, I started pedaling. A few short minutes after that, I let go of my death-grip on the car door. And just like that, I was riding the rollers. Next thing I knew, I was shifting gears and glancing down at my power meter and basically just riding my bike. In one place.

Boom! Just like that, back on the rollers. Training! Progress! It feels so good.

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