Monday, September 20, 2010
I take one day off per week and when I say day off I mean it! I'm going to do a bunch of nothing today, and then back to work and back to the bike tomorrow.
Hope you have a good one!
Sunday, September 19, 2010
For most of my 11 years of cycling I've been more of a "masher" than a "grinder." That is, I tend to choose a bigger gear and push hard at a slow cadence (rpm) rather than choose a smaller gear and spin at a high cadence. But as this cycling year progressed I noticed that I was having a lot more pain in my knees than normal, in fact it was hard at times just to walk up a flight of stairs or what have you without experiencing sharp pain. So after my annual 300-mile, 5-day ride (which was actually 352 this year) I decided to experiment with the "grinding" technique and see what would happen.
No matter what the style, every cyclist draws on his or her muscular system and cardio-vascular system. "Mashers" draw more on their muscular system and "grinders" draw more on their cardio-vascular system. The muscular system tends to wear down faster than the cardio-vascular system, but grinding really does pull on the latter system and so it takes time to develop the ability to grind for a long time.
So 4 or 5 weeks ago I started doing a bunch of workouts designed to develop my ability to grind and I immediately discovered a few things. First, although I felt tired after each ride I didn't feel as fatigued as normal. My muscles had more "umph" left in them, and my knees were not nearly as sore as before. Second, I was producing higher average speeds even though I felt that I wasn't working quite as hard. Third, it will take time to perfect this technique because it requires a more wholistic pedal stroke, that is, a better balance between pushing and pulling with each revolution. The higher the cadence the more important "smoothness" in each stroke becomes. Fourth, this technique draws more on certain muscles than mashing (e.g., my hamstrings) and therefore it will take some time to develop strength and endurance in them.
Overall, I feel very good about this change and I'll be devoting the rest of this season, and the first half of next season, to perfecting the technique. By then I hope to be comfortable with my new style and perform all the better on my big annual rides.
Thanks for reading, hope you have a great day.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
One thing about living in Minnesota is that cycling season has a definite beginning and end. To be sure, there are some crazies who ride all the way through the winter but I'm not one of them!
So I participated in the Jesse James Bike Tour (Northfield, MN) last Saturday--I chose the 100 mile route--and that was, in essence, the last hurrah of this season. It's been quite a season: five centuries (100-mile rides), one double-century (my first and probably last), and a 350-mile, 5-day journey in north-western Minnesota. I've ridden a total of 2150 miles and hope to get in another 350 before the season is over.
Now that all of the official events are in the past it's hard to know exactly what to do on the bike before the snow flies because I don't have anything in particular to train for. This makes it challenging for me because training for events or specific goals provides my motivation. So I sat down yesterday and thought things through, and here's what I decided to do.
In September and October I'll take four rides per week, as usual. I'll spend one ride working on cadence (rpm), one on climbing, one on speed endurance, and one on recovery. My goals will be (1) to develop better spinning technique, (2) to improve my overall fitness, and (3) to prepare for off-season cross-training.
Then in November and December I'll put the bike away and focus on cross-training both at the gym and cross-country skiing. In these months I will focus on improving my overall physical fitness and maintaining my current weight, or even losing a bit more if I can.
Then in January I'll take out the indoor trainer--I have a Cyclops on which I can mount my road bike--and begin the process of preparation for the 2011 cycling season.
I'd love to hear any thoughts or suggestions you have. Hope you have a great day!
Friday, September 17, 2010
I haven't blogged on SP in a long time. I was so busy after my latest doctoral course and then went on a couple of weeks vacation, after which I have again been inundated in activity. I have been riding a lot as usual but just unable to spend much time on SP. Well, all of that changes today: I'm back and glad to reconnect with many of you, my SP friends!
As for cycling, I've been changing my style lately and I've really been enjoying the process. I'll say more about that in days to come but for now I must go.
It's so good to be back!!!
Monday, July 12, 2010
I'm in the northern suburbs of Chicago this week for some doctoral work. I tried to get a ride in this morning and thus went to the Des Plaines River Trail only to find that its crushed lime rather than paved as a website I read said it was. Oh well, I spun around the neighborhood for about 6 miles until it occurred to me that someone might think I was stalking or something and then just went back to my room and got ready for the morning. I searched mapmyride.com to find a route in the area and, thank God, I found one so I plan to ride a bit longer tomorrow.
Hope you have a great evening!
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