Joanne Palmer: Back in the saddle |

Joanne Palmer: Back in the saddle

Psychosis leads to bike commitment

Joanne Palmer

In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at or

— Spring training is here! In a moment of temporary psychosis, I wangled a press pass for myself for Ride the Rockies. I committed myself and my true love to a petite pedal through the mountains. I used to be able to blame this type of behavior on hormones, but since I've graduated to a place where hormones have evaporated from my body, I can no longer use that as an excuse. I can only blame it on the toxic combination of cabin fever, lack of sunshine and an overwhelming desire to get in shape.

At least my true love owns a bike. He even rides a stationary bike in our garage. I do not own a road bike, and my mountain bike is pretty much an antique. Yet, one day as the snow was swirling outside my window, I said to myself, "Self, isn't Ride the Rockies on your bucket list?" To which I replied, "Yes, it's on the list, but in order to do it, you must plop your booty in the saddle of a bike for long periods of time." No problem.

What's a little 412-mile bike ride spread out across six days? The ride begins in Crested Butte, ends in Georgetown, goes up and down a couple of passes, Cottonwood, (12,126 ft), Tennessee (10,424), Yellow Jacket (7,428), Rabbit Ears (9,426) and finally Berthoud (11,307). The website shows hard-bodied cyclists wearing cute bike jerseys spinning along scenic roads. But two little words finally sold me on the whole idea: "supported ride." That is bike speak that means food stations and sag wagons will be available in case of collapse.

All of this bike speak and bucket list stuff motivated me to drag my aforementioned booty out of my warm bed and into a 6:15 a.m. spin class. If, like me, you've never been to a spin class, all you need to do is envision 22 hamsters spinning on wheels as fast as they can go.

My booty got kicked. Hard.

The music was good, the instructor was good, the bikes were good, but this hamster was, well, not so good. This good, good, good, bad pattern repeated itself with alarming regularity for the next two weeks.

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As I hobbled out of the class, sweaty, dazed and confused, a thunderbolt of inspiration hit me. Clearly something was missing. Yes, I was out of shape but that couldn't be the problem. Heck, no. There was a solution to this entire problem and it wasn't giving up. No. When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. Giving up is for sissies, and I wasn't going to do that. Heavens, no. Bike shoes had to be the answer. Everyone else was clipped in; there had to be something to that. I needed new bike shorts, shoes, and some cute socks.

I now have to set the alarm even earlier because it is still taking me at least five minutes to figure out how to get the clip into the pedal thingamajig. But what a difference the right equipment makes. Instead of hobbling out of class, I hobbled two seconds faster. Clearly I had cleared the first hurdle and was 1 millimeter closer to be coming a middle-aged Lancette (that's more bike speak for the female version of Lance you-know-who).

Stay tuned as I hamster dance toward my goal of not ending up in the back of a sag wagon between the dates of June 11 and 17.

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