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
By: Heather Nielson
I’m right in the middle of reading another ‘fad’ diet/nutrition book but not because I want to follow the lemmings down another road of house-hold-name diet trends but out of pure curiosity and because the scientist in me believes there is truth and good data behind most well thought out and researched theories. Data is data. How it gets interpreted over time and the additional information added that helps further explain things we don’t understand is what science is and I’m a life-long student. This diet-fad book I’m reading is ‘The Zone’ and was written 20 years ago. I read the Paleo diet book and the Paleo diet for athletes about 7 years ago and as a biologist with a nutrition background, that made a lot of sense to me and have since been following more or less a paleo diet. Turns out, the macro nutrient recommendations given in The Zone are nearly identical to the Paleo Diet, with a few minor details. However, the authors give their recommendations for different reasons. Is one more correct than the other? Are the reasons one gave wrong and the other right?
A winner never stops asking questions and never stops learning. Diet and nutrition are another ‘game’ we play that all of us want to WIN at; and like a training plan, you have to try things and do what works for you, but never stop asking questions and try not to get stuck in one eating mode because just like your training, if you keep doing the same thing, you’ll plateau. When you start your base period of training, most often your coach will begin with the basics: endurance, some neuro muscular drills, form, cadence, maybe some gym work; so with nutrition, let’s start with the basics.
In truth, most of us know how to eat healthy in general and we know when we’re not eating healthy. We also don’t want to eat healthy 100% of the time because we want to enjoy life with a glass of wine, some ice cream or the basket of fries; and why not?! Life’s too short! You can’t win at anything if you don’t also learn balance. It’s not realistic to expect to eat 100% healthy 100% of the time; but do you really know how much of your diet is healthy? I’m not suggesting you download the latest ap and start measuring your food and counting your calories and macro nutrients from now until the end of time BUT it wouldn’t be a bad idea to try it for a few days or a week just to see what you’re really eating. Eat normally and pay attention to the trends. If you want to start making changes based on what you notice in your diet then I would strongly suggest making one or two small changes at a time, wait for a few weeks, see what happens then try changing something else. Long term habits are built slowly and a ‘diet’ should be one you can follow realistically for the rest of your life.
Here are some basics to look for:
- How much added sugar are you really ingesting? Where can you cut back?
- How big (calories) are each of your meals? Do you eat most of your calories during the early/mid day or late at night?
- Are your weekend splurges too much that they negate all that discipline during the week? (One cookie is probably fine! The whole box…..)
- How much alcohol are you drinking in an average week really? (That stuff turns to fat so easy)
- What does your macro nutrient profile look like? Could you use more protein? Less carbs?
Here are some small changes you could start making:
- Make sure there’s at least one serving of fruit &/or vegetable every time you eat a meal
- Make sure your snacks are not high-glycemic foods that can quickly turn to sugar and therefore fat (there are some nifty glycemic index aps)
- Make sure most of your food is whole food and not processed
- If you want that cookie or candy bar, that’s ok but time it with your training so that your body uses up the calories as quickly as they’re being dumped into your blood stream, otherwise they’ll turn to fat quicker
- Start eating smaller portions and snacking more often so that your blood sugar stays more level and you start to feel fuller more often and quicker
Start with those basics and see what happens! If you hit another plateau then it’s time to start asking more questions and keep winning!
Well, there is one thing that you could do that would totally change your riding. Push it harder! Say this mantra to yourself right now ” I suffer and love it!” You have more left in your tank than you think. You have more ability than you give yourself credit for. You know how after a really hard ride you say to yourself “I think I could have done better”, well you are right! Warning…this is my Chelan camp ramble…I am here every May for our 5-day training camp and every year it gets me fired up!
You have a beast inside of you that is just waiting to express itself. You will never know how much harder you could go, how much more intense you could work, again and again to get faster and better unless you force yourself to do it. It only takes a mind shift to embrace more suffering. Enter the dragon…challenge your limitation, your self fulfilling roadblock getting in the way of what you want. It never gets comfortable, it never gets easy, you just get used to more suffering and harder work and you adapt. Get clear on what you want, your goal. You find a way, you keep digging, you get set-back and you adapt and find another way.
That is the way of the Dragon, the beast inside you, that wants to roar. It is a war, a war against laziness, a war against slowing down, a war against aging, a war against youth that don’t know how easy they have it, a war against all the missed opportunities, a war against the rejection, the missing out, the not being picked, the party you didn’t get invited to, all the times you had the door shut in front of you. Well it is time to crash the door in, ride your beast in and LIGHT. IT. UP!!!
One thing I have been thinking on this Chelan trip this year is how good it is to work hard. How good it feels to push it past where your body wants you to stop. To push it into new realms of hard work and feel that deep down tiredness. It is always hard to start doing longer and harder rides, it is something you just have to suffer through to enjoy the rewards. I just watched a war movie after a great day of riding…so many good young men and women die in war, what can I do to enjoy my freedom, to not take it for granted, to live life as well as I can live it, to rise to my best level, to savor every drop.