Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Women's Cycling Clinic....Bici Sports, Petaluma.....Brenda Lyons

Rob and I participated in a cycling clinic sponsored by Bici Sports in Petaluma. Brenda Lyons a professional cyclists for Team Lipton lead the ride and workshop afterwards. We were a group of women with varied experience. This was the first ride over 10 miles for one young woman, another was celebrating her 54th birthday, a couple of the women have riden centuries and I believe one said she'd like to ride a two hundred mile ride....and then there was Robin and I. Of course I was riding my rattely, heavy Trek and Rob was riding her new skinny tired bike. I was a little concerned about keeping up with the group....actually I wasn't concerned about keeping up.........I know my was around the roads outside of Petaluma........I didn't want to hold anyone up and wasn't sure that the clinic was appropriate for my style of pleasure riding. None of this was an issue. Luckily for me I had Ashleigh to ride with.....this was her first "long" ride on her new bike so I actually was in a position to support her. Brenda was great; she had something to teach us all. Right off the bat she pointed out that I was holding my hands on the top of my handle bars and suggested that I put my thumbs down under as a safety measure in case of a crash or fast stop I could hold on and not go flying over my bike. She also commented on my cadence; too slow, using too much muscle. She later explained that if you use too much muscle you tire out on a long ride. Brenda also made suggestions to me and others with regard to our bike set up.....adjust seat, change handle bars etc. My worry about holding anyone up was unfounded. Once we got out of Petaluma the group naturally split into appropriate levels and Brenda sprinted back an forth between us couching each of us with information suited to our skill level. While I'm not anxious to ride in a pack I learned so much on the 26 mile ride and will jump to do it again. (this ride has me thinking that maybe, just maybe I might consider a skinny tired bike)

I thank Bici Sports for the clinic and great food at the end of the ride and I thank Brenda for all her patience and sharing her knowledge.

This is a follow-up email Brenda sent to the group...........thanks again Brenda, the email is a terrific reminder of all we learned.

First of all, I really enjoyed riding with all of you! Thanks for coming out for the clinic. It was truly my pleasure to share some of my knowledge and insight with you, and all of you absolutely amazed me with your will, determination, strength and ability on the bike!Here are some of the things we dicussed during our day.On the Bike: 1.) Handlebars and hand placement. Our "on the bike" positioning component of the clinic.--handlebars have three places for hand placement :Tops/Hoods/Drops --on the Tops, always hook your thumbs underneath the handlebar for safety. --the Tops are for seated riding only.--the Hoods are generally where you will have the hands for climbing both in and out of the saddle, as well as seated riding. --the Hoods are generally considered a good all-around place for the hands because you have great control and are usually able to reach the shifters and the breaks easily--the Drops are for in the saddle riding, and can offer you great control for descending and sprinting. --the Drops are rarely used when climbing.2.) Our "on the bike" riding concept for the clinic was to learn about Cadence and Understanding Pedal Stroke. --cadence is measured in RPMs (reps per minute)--a rep is a full revolution of the pedal stroke--there are three levels that I use for cadence --Low/Mid/High--Low cadence (60-80rpms) is generally for building leg strength. typically the heart rate stays low and the muscles do the load of the work.--Mid cadence (80-100rpms) is generally for building endurance. usually the aerobic system and the muscles work together more equally in this range.--High cadence (100-120+rpms) is generally used for building aerobic adaptation and leg speed. in this rpm range, the heart rate is the area that you will feel the most and the legs will only fatigue due to speed (or rate) at which you are pedaling, rather than because you are using alot of muscle--to calculate your rpms without a cyclometer -- count your rpms for ten seconds and times by six. this will give you your rpms for a minute. it is a good way to gauge for starters.--Training Note: it is important to remember that all styles of cadence have a purpose. So practice in all of those ranges will help you become a more well-rounded cyclist.3.) Our "on the bike" group riding technique for the clinic was to learn and practice a Rotating Paceline.--we learned a "rotating paceline" as our group riding technique for the clinic.--a rotating paceline contains two lines of riders side by side, continuously in motion. one line goes slightly faster than the other does. let's say you're the lead rider in the faster line. you should cross over to the slow line after passing the front wheel of the rider beside you (the front rider in the slower line). then you drift back with the others in the slow line. when the final position is reached (back of the line), slide onto the back wheel of the last rider in the fast line. (i found this description on-line and couldn`t have written it better myself!)--we also learned what it was like to ride "double file" (or two abreast) versus riding single file. we practiced the concept of merging into single file, from double and then back again. this is helpful and important to know how to do, so that when the conditions change, you have the know how and the skill to change with them (examples of changing conditions: cars coming / road narrowing)4.) Our "on the bike" skill lesson for the clinic was to learn a little more about Climbing: I didn`t get the opportunity to climb with everyone (since we were in different groups by then), but these are the things that were covered.--climbing in the saddle can keep the heart rate a little lower.--when climbing out of the saddle make sure that the hands are on the hoods. (best position for good control).--if a climb seems to hard, try tacking back and forth and climbing in a zigzag fashion. BE AWARE of your surroundings (cars and other riders)--it`s good to practice both in and out of saddle climbing to become more versatile as a rider.--when climbing becomes somewhat labored (ore when you are riding along on the flats and it starts to get harder), pay attention to your breathing and your body tension. take a moment to relax the shoulders and focus on exhaling. it`s a good techinique to aid in handling some of the tougher moments while cycling.--optimal cadence for climbing is "generally" between 60-75rpms (unless your Lance or some other superstar that like to climb at 90rpms!!)Off The Bike:While enjoying some tasty focaccia(!) after the ride, we discussed:1.) Riding to Improve: The point is to develop your endurance over time and to build gradually. Without having to do a specific "training program" I suggested that...--you "sprinkle" in some interval efforts during your regular rides. maybe choose to add in some high cadence and or low cadence specific time on the bike. or perhaps pick a five minute strethc to really give it a go and ride a little harder than you normally would. --also practice with your riding partner taking turns pulling for a period of time. make your pull an effort, then switch with your partner and take their wheel whiole they do an effort (start off with 2-3minutes and build from there) this exercise will build your strength on the bike, as well as your confidence to ride on another riders wheel!--always rest completely after your efforts--as for increasing your time on the bike --look at how many days you typically ride. if you ride three days a week --howabout adding a fourth day once every three weeks --or if you want to be able to ride for a longer period of time try riding an extra half an hour on your weekend ride every other week. --Training Note: Rest weeks are just as important as active weeks! ALWAYS listen to your body. If you have been working on increasing your endurance, usually once about every four weeks or so, you will start to feel the effects of your efforts and become fatigued. Take a break and ride 30-40% less than your usual plan for a week (measured in time or distance or number of days) and also, do not do any efforts that particular week. You will feel refreshed from the rest!--as for some other notes: I am (obviously) a big advocate for practicing yoga. --I would suggest that you add in an off the bike routine, incorporating a stretching component, as well as a strength building (or weight bearing) element to your weekly regimen. It doesn`t take much to improve and gain benefits. pick up a book. look a few things up on-line. there is plenty of information readily available and I firmly believe that you will be happy to have added a few new activities to your regular routine!Best wishes to you all. Please keep in touch. And hopefully we will meet again at another BiciSport event!

Brenda LyonsTeam Lipton Professional Women`s Cycling Teamwww.teamlipton.comBalanced Forces Yoga and Fitness Trainingemail:yoga_cycle@yahoo.commobile:707-322-0050

regrouping....... Posted by Picasa

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Brenda, a REAL pro and great teacher! Posted by Picasa

heading back to Petaluma....somewhere past SpringHill Posted by Picasa

yipeee!!!! Ashleigh's longest ride!!! Posted by Picasa

hanging out after the ride Posted by Picasa

our host at Bici Sports.......bike shop in Petaluma...Thanks!!! the clinic was great! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Three Cheers for Gail

You'll have to change the header on our blog. It has now been THREE years since we've been riding. I think we can agree that every ride has been great (and some even terrific!). We are soooo lucky to live in such a beautiful area in which to ride. Thanks Gail for chronicalizing the highlights of our 3 years of riding. Here's to many more years of fun riding and great company - clink!

Journal: 10/14/06 Roblar to Petaluma, out Cheleno Valley, up and over Spring Hill, Petaluma to Roblar...48miles

Great day! Rode into Petaluma for a woman's riding clinic. Learned a LOT!! Made it over Spring Hill without a stop thanks to my riding partner Ashley(?) and Brenda (the "teacher"). Rob and I agreed at the end of the day that the 48miles felt more like 60+ with the head winds all the way back to her house from Petaluma. We've been wanting to take a longer ride and this was a good one. I love Cheleno Valley and of course Spring Hill is always a nice challenge and surprise....it seems no matter how many time I ride it I forget how many climbs there are....good stuff ...I feel strong!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Finally an update!!!!

It's been a busy summer and I don't mean riding. My daughter Paige got married this summer and I haven't been on my bike as much as I would have liked. I noticed that the last post on this blog was in February 2006!!!!! Rob and I got some good rides in. We volunteered again as course "marshalls"(?) for the Wine Country Classic........that was fun. We took shorter rides from our homes and out. We volunteered for the Amalgen (?) tour of California when it came through Santa Rosa in February.....that was exciting. We rode in the Lung Association's Breathe Easy Ride in memory of our moms. We made our way up and over Graton Road to Occidental a couple times. Robin bought a "new" road bike (skinny tires) and has joined the Petaluma Wheelmen........great group of riders. I rode to work several times over the summer while Evan and I were sharing my car. I rode to work then into town to pick up my car from Evan at his work....it worked out just fine. I changed two flat tires this summer........too many for the few miles I rode!! Rob is now retired and riding more. The wedding is over (it was wonderful) and Rob and I are trying to get more riding in together. Rob and Barry are in the middle (nearing the end) of a big home improvement project so our rides are still short (less than 40 miles usually 20 or so). This recap of the summer is good, I'm ready for a longer ride and Rob and I agreed that we will do that as soon as their project is complete!!

Somewhere near Two Rock on the Breathe Easy Ride...cute couple Posted by Picasa

Breathe Easy Ride 2006........Team Toby & LaVerne! Posted by Picasa

John & Hahnah Posted by Picasa

Wine Country Classic May 2006 Posted by Picasa

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Vine Hill and Laguna......just like the signs say Posted by Picasa

coming around the corner "watch out for the pot hole ahead!" Posted by Picasa

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mooooooooo Posted by Picasa

found the tree!!! it's on San Antonio Road.....I took a picture of this tree a couple summers ago and called it Summer Fog....it was a fogging morning and the grass was brown (or is that golden?) I think this one should be called wintergreen.... Posted by Picasa

shadow, tree......... Posted by Picasa

San Antonio Road March 2006 Posted by Picasa

Rob heading out towards the freeway.........really! Posted by Picasa

heading up and over Sonoma Mountain east of Rohnert Park Posted by Picasa

shiny red trucks and a view of the Santa Rosa plain above Rohnert Park Posted by Picasa

Matanzas Creek Winery........lavender clipped, trimmed, pruned....March 2006 Posted by Picasa

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near Rohnert Park March 2006.......Roberts Road?? Posted by Picasa