Get up, stand up

Last week’s (yeah, I’m a whole week behind. Work’s been busy, sue me!) hill repeats focused on my “very favoritest thing ever” — standing climbs. And by “favoritest thing ever,” I mean “thing I most hate to do always”… unless you’re one of my coaches reading this, in which case I totally really mean “favorite” (because everyone knows that coaches like to make you practice whatever it is you dislike). Of course the the loud bitching I did at the summit of each loop is probably not going to fool them… hopefully the weren’t paying attention!

We rode in the same general area as last week’s hill repeats, but the trainers chose a new street for our climb. The new location, La Paloma, is actually a fairly mild hill… for the first 90%. The last 10% or so pops up pretty significantly in grade, which means you have to get your hiney out of the saddle to make the top. As much as I’d rather sit and spin, I decided to try and do the entire night in my middle front ring, which meant that standing was definitely required. At the end of the day, working hard now will make the event easier, right? So I chugged uphill, huffing and puffing (even passing a couple folks), and hit the summit wheezing (and cursing). I pretty quickly decided that the climb “wasn’t that bad,” descended and swung around to do it all over again.

Lap two actually seemed a bit easier. I managed to hold off from standing until a bit farther up the hill – keeping my energy up and heart rate down longer. This meant that I was “jogging uphill” a shorter distance, so I felt more relaxed (even though my heart rate data indicates I was working pretty much equally hard). Not surprisingly, laps three and then four (darn latecomers got off easier with one less lap) were tougher. I managed to keep the trick of not popping up until absolutely necessary, but my legs got tired toward the end. I did do all four rounds out of the saddle, although I dropped to the baby gears (not the lowest ones!!) for one.

Once the “don’t be a lazy tail, literally” abuse was done, we all headed down to Foothill College for bike rocking and emergency stop training. Bike rocking was an interesting exercise. In order to get us used to the idea of moving our bikes, the trainers had us exaggerate the movement at low speeds in laps. We had to get the outside of one leg to touch the inside of the opposing side of the saddle. Sound confusing? Yep, I thought so too. Pretty much, get your outer right thigh to touch the left side nose of your seat, then alternate. You have to forcibly push the bike down and shift your weight a lot to counter balance. As I a) hate standing and b) have approximately negative arm strength, I took while to get the hang of this one. I did eventually get it… but I’m not sure I’ll be good at it any time soon.

The emergency stop concept was much easier (and useful!) to grasp. Hit both brakes hard and shift your butt behind the saddle to keep the back wheel on the ground.  We watched a demo, then did several round of practice. The assistant troublemakers (helper trainers) stood at one end of the parking lot. We took turns racing directly at them and then slamming on the brakes at randomly given signals. I managed to get a good couple of skid marks on the pavement, but need to work on shifting my weight even farther. Of course I have to wonder how likely it is that I’ll actually remember that should I ever actually need it. Hopefully we never find out!

Dark fell pretty quickly after braking training, so we headed back to our launch point… with one more climb thrown in (just for extra fun). Our small horde descended onto Chipotle shortly after. At least we were rewarded for our work!

Garmin data (with somewhat useless lap info) follows below. You’ll have to hold off until tomorrow for the buddy ride fiasco, as it’s already after 10pm and I’ve got a 48 miler early tomorrow morning (blame work! I swear!). More soon.

Hills and Skills #3


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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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