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


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