How Vertigo and Stop-Sign Crashes Might Make Me a Better Triathlete

I spent this weekend at the Endurance Sports Expo just outside of Philadelphia, picking up tips to help me reach this summer’s triathlon goal of “finishing within sight of the back of the pack.” (Hey, at least my expectations are realistic for my second season!)

On the advice of several professionals I met at the Expo on Saturday, I spent Sunday at Cadence Cycling and Multisport Center, which is the kind of store a newbie like me usually walks into, feels intimidated by, and immediately exits. Teams of riders in matching uniforms were filtering in and out of the pouring rain. Some of the bicycles for sale were custom models that I’m told cost as much as $30,000.

I was a fish out of water coming in from the storm, but I’m glad I stayed, and now I highly recommend the place. A kind, patient, and extremely knowledgeable salesman named Nate (a triathlete himself) spent nearly two hours helping me understand why I wanted to be buckled into my bike’s pedals via special shoes. He showed me all the different brands and shoe models, made me feel good about buying one of the least-expensive road-biking styles (as opposed to pricier tri-specific styles), custom fitted them to my feet, and gave me a free pass for a training session so that I can learn how to use the darn things.

“You will fall at least once,” he told me. “Everybody does, usually when you come to a stop sign and forget to unclip your shoes before hitting the brakes. Just expect it and don’t worry about it.”

So I look forward to that.

Meanwhile, I am trying to determine why maker Northwave calls this particular shoe model “Vertigo.” That, like stop sign crashes, seems to me like something I should be trying to avoid.

I guess I still have quite a lot to learn. Let’s hope I can at least survive the process.

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