Real new hill repeats

Old idea, new location. A good portion of the summer team met up with Al and Jamii (IPF instructors) last Tuesday night for our first “Hills and Skills Clinic” – also known as the new and improved (or so I’ve been told) hill repeats. Instead of meeting at Mount Eden, our repeats haunt of my last two seasons, our group converged on the quiet (until we got there) little park at University and Edith in Los Altos. After a brief introduction to the rest of IPF’s staff, everyone headed over to the base of our hill climb for the evening: Concepcion.

In quick, elementary school count-off style, we were divided into 6 groups – each of which had its own coach. My coach, Jamii (yes, we were the dynamic, multiple spelling’d Jamie-duo for the evening), gave us a pretty simple run down of the gameplan for the night. Ride up the hill, get feedback. Ride back down, get feedback. The only real specifics to start were 1) anyone riding a triple had to climb in the middle ring (build that super leg strength!) and 2) everyone needed to be in the drops coming downhill. Simple instructions set, we were off!

The team was fortunate to have a very high coach to participant ratio, which meant every person got a good amount of individualized attention. Within the first out and back round, I’d learned that:

  • I need to bend my elbows more. A lot more. Stupid stiff-armed positioning is definitely not helping my ever-grumpy shoulders and neck.
  • My hand grip for steeper climbs is… less than ideal. I should move to the top bar (to get more push-pull action), or stand up to power through the tough parts.
  • You really don’t need the baby ring for all hills. Even though we did start with a pretty tame climb, I easily crushed seven repeats in the middle ring.
  • My cadence for climbing needs to speed up. Much like my cadence in general. I’m pushing too hard and unnecessarily beating up my body.
  • I should sit back further on the saddle while descending, and lift the hiney up slightly when going over the bumps. It lowers your center of gravity even more than just getting in the drops, and getting your tail up makes it less likely that you’ll have some crazy bump and flip action.

After the first round, we pretty much climbed the hill (six more times!!!) at our own pace. The coaches floated throughout the riders and gave pointers where necessary. Surprisingly, I got a few “attagirls” on my descending position. Apparently being somewhat terrified of going downhill and doing so in the correct form are not mutually exclusive. Who knew?!

I’m pretty sure the Concepcion climb is a bit more… tame than Mount Eden, despite being similar in length. I breezed through my seven sets without many issues, whereas I typically felt like death by trip five at our old spot. I did nearly burst my heart open the one time I decided to climb standing for a bit – but that’s more a factor of nerves and poor technique than anything to do with the hill itself. That’s not to say this new route wasn’t a good workout though! I got some great pointers each trip up the hill and putting them into practice definitely left me feeling the tired legs as we made our way back to the park (especially as those poor guys were still recovering from Monday’s IPF torture-session!!).

I’ve been told that this week was the “easy intro session” — get ’em hooked and keep ’em coming back style — but I guess only actually doing it again will tell! Next week we’re in for baseline tests (so we have comparison points later in the season) and possibly a new location. Fun times!

Oh… and I’ve got Garmin data, with cadence and laps. Go me!

Hills and Skills 6-16


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What do we have here?

An often sarcastic, occasionally humorous journal of my training adventures in preparation for the Livestrong century ride. I took up cycling back in '07 in hopes of meeting new people, and, with the help of Team in Training, making my small positive difference in the world -- and haven't stopped spinning since. Follow along as my Trek road bike and I try and hash out our differences, hopefully with me upright and in the saddle.

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