I taught a private lesson this week to a new rider, someone who is very tentative on the bike. We started with the basics on the stationary trainer. How to stand up on the pedals while coasting and going straight, this might seem very basic, but I always tell clients that I can find people who cannot do what they can do, there are many who cannot even balance on 2 wheels! We all have our “next challenge” and whether you have been riding 2 months or 30 years, there is always something new to work on and master.
Coasting was a new skill and it took some time to get comfortable with it, check. Done after 20 minutes of practice and some changes to make the bike fit better. #2, Braking, how to shift weight back and really stop quickly, and then get a foot down. Not that easy, key is to start without being clipped in so you can put either foot down quickly.
We went on from there eventually adding clip-less pedals and tackling hills, but the thing that struck me, and that usually suprises me is how many small things you must master to really enjoy cycling. It is a technical sport, but once we master it we forget it was ever a problem and often end up on a plateau where we stop learning.
Where are you at and what do you need to work on to get to the next level? What are you focused on improving this season? Going faster downhill? Cornering more confidently, tackling steeper hills, riding no-hands, bunny hopping, jumps, some kind of new genre of cycling, standing up and jamming up VERY steep roads or trails, drafting off of a good rider at speed? Pick an area and focus on it, spend time working on it and soon you will step up to the next level and love cycling even more. There are always challenges to keep you sharp and progressing.
Spin to win,
So, you are getting faster on your bike. When you started maybe you were averaging 8-10 mph on your longer rides, but now that that you have been training for STP, RSVP, Flying Wheels and similar events your average speed is getting closer to 15+ mph on longer rides and you are wondering what the next step is?
I finished STP in one day in 1985 with 10 friends from the UW and after that I was so hooked I started hanging out at bike shops and reading every bike article I could find. Racing seemed risky and way beyond my ability, so I was happy to just study it.
When I moved to Colorado after College, I began working at the Moots bike shop and they began taking me out after work to show me how to *really* ride. I learned how to race from those guys, and when the Steamboat Stage race came to town that Summer I was ready to try my first race.
In the NW there are many races, but these 3 are the best choices for new riders :
2. Pacific Raceways or Seward Park weekly races, SBRP*
3. Jerry Baker Velodrome
*Sprint Triathlon and Mountain Biking are other common ways people start racing, but they require a Mountain Bike or you have to like swimming and running.
Beginning racer clinic at Pacific Raceways
Here is how to tell which is best for you:
-Do you ride with racer types or HPC on the road and keep pace with them? (#2 or 3 above)
-Do you have a mountain or cyclocross bike and like the dirt? (#1, the safest and best intro to racing that will also make you a better rider on the road)
By: Heather Nielson
I realize that today (June 3rd) is national doughnut day but I confess, I am one of those weird people who hates doughnuts…and pie! *GASP* What can I say. I’m forever married to my dark chocolate. I do have a sweet tooth though and I’ve found that the fewer simple carbs I eat, the fewer I crave. I wrote earlier about getting back to basics with nutrition and one of those basics is eating a lot fewer simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates come in many forms, some of which might surprise you! A doughnut is definitely a simple carb that raises your blood sugar very quickly but did you know that raisins do the same thing? They both have a pretty high glycemic index; but I would bet you would choose raisins over a doughnut in terms of a healthy food choice, and you would be right! Raisins have a lot of other micro nutrients as well as fiber in them that make them healthier for you than a doughnut, which is essentially ’empty’ or doesn’t provide any other nutritional benefit other than a lot of highly accessible carbohydrates.
Raisins and other fruits may help you satisfy that sweet tooth craving and during the summer, there are a lot more fruit in season for you to enjoy! Salsas, guacamoles are also very popular in the summer at BBQ’s and other parties. Below is a recipe (that I honestly can’t quite remember if I made up or not!) that is a fruity salsa.
Strawberry Mango Salsa
- 1 package of strawberries chopped fine
- 1 mangos, peeled and chopped fine
- 1/2 red onion, chopped fine
- 1/2 bunch cilantro chopped fine
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 Tbl lemon juice
- (and if you’re brave….) 1 jalapeno chopped
- Combine all ingredients and let marinate overnight