Happy Tuesday! This means we are one day closer to the weekend, and 2 days of long fun rides (weather allowing)! As you know, I have been riding a little over a year now, and while I have greatly improved, there is a long ways to go.
I sometimes find a little piece of advice, a small tip, can be the key to opening the door to a new level in training. Whether it is bike fit, form changes or just a different way of looking at what you are doing, it all helps.
There are many components that go into a good ride. Form and cadence are key. I too often see people relying on their expensive equipment to up their ride, when really the key lies within themselves. That’s right, people, carbon is only helpful when you have skills. Without skills, you are just falling on an costly piece of composite.
So, what is good form? It begins with a good fit, and I highly recommend letting an experienced person at your local bike shop assist in this. Once you have a good fit, you want to work on the basics, getting out of your toes, getting the most out of every pedal stroke and making your core keep you still so your legs can do the work. Flat back, engaged core and not putting excess weight forward. One of the first things I was told when I began to clip in was to think of the bottom of my stroke being akin to scraping mud off my shoe. This motion allows for our large strong muscle group of hamstrings and glutes to engage. You can get more out of each pedal stroke and work less on harder climbs when using this technique. It takes some mindfulness to begin, but will become second nature. I find shifting back slightly in the saddle while engaging my core to keep my back flat allows for this motion to be more natural. A great way to get this down is spin class, or on a trainer at home. I personally advocate spin for beginners so a more experienced rider can assess and correct you as you learn. Spin has helped me avoid a number of bad habits early in the game.
And the best tip of the day, courtesy of my spin instructor, Jasmine, is to smile. Try it, it truly helps when you feel like you have no more to give.
So there you go, short and sweet and to the point. Happy riding!