Don't laugh: I couldn't grab my water bottles on my TT bike. Me, the girl who competed at the UCI Gran Fondo World Champs. How could this be?!?
About a year ago, I rode with a bunch of women on a @bicycle_network ride and two women in our capable group couldn't ride and drink at the same time. Kate, our fearless leader, guided them through the process by breaking it down:
Given the water bottles on my TT bike were mounted behind me (gotta be aero, baby!), they presented two additional challenges: I couldn't see them and, to pull them out of their cage, I had to pull them up and AWAY from me.
With Kate's words in my head, I practiced pulling out my water bottles with the TT bike mounted on my trainer. The action was unnatural but after twenty+ attempts, I could sip water in my living room.
It was time to add steering to the mix. For that, I headed to my local velodrome but a large empty parking lot would work, too. Once I had a comfortable pace going, I reached back and pulled out a bottle. Feeling cocky, I skipped a couple of Kate's steps, took a good gulp and tried to put it back. Big mistake. I pedalled four laps of the velodrome single-armed, blindly trying to find the slot for my bottle.
Aaaughh. I was tempted to pitch the bottle in the grass; who needs it anyway?!? The problem was: I did. In a couple of weeks I was going to do a half Ironman and being able to hydrate during that 90km bike was crucial. By now, another rider had pulled up alongside of me. "No, it's further back. Go the right," he encouraged me, acting as my eyes. I still couldn't find it and then, suddenly, I did.
I went back to Kate's step-by-step method and, at the end of two hours, I had a 90% success rate. My cute riding socks say "Joy rides" but real Joy is being able to drink while you ride.