Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Summer of Learning

I went on a great ride today.  The course was hilly at points but I was able to stick with the group.  It was at one point on a particularly difficult hill that I started to reflect on my many rides with Balance Cycling Team.  I'm brought back to last year's rides.  The season started out cold and wet.  My workout routines were less than thrilling.  I would either shorten each workout or wouldn't even start if the weather was less than favorable.  Consequently, I had some hard rides in May.

It was a beautiful day towards the end of May when I ended up joining a ride that was supposed to be right for my riding ability.  Soon after starting the ride I was clearly out of my league.  The pace was fast and I wasn't in shape to keep with the group.  While I wasn't dropped, I certainly could have been had the other riders decided to stop helping me along.  Part of the 60 mile ride included some rolling hills that felt like mountains.  Our club president, Ryan, rode next to me through the hills and coached me on my form.  He offered helpful feedback (while I felt like I was going to die) and stuck with me while Dan let me draft him, hill after hill.  He told me to put my hands on the top of my handlebars, look up, open my chest and breath, tilt my hips,  ride to the next sign and then the next and then the next.

A few weeks later I was on a ride with Carlos.  He watched me working to get up a hill and he offered another piece of advice- speed up your cadence.

On another ride I found myself headed to Woodbury.  We had just climbed a fairly steep, long hill and Damon rode along side me.  He told me to tighten my core to help me climb.

My final piece of advice for the season came from John.  He told me that when he goes up a hill, he imagines working his legs in a complete circle,  360 degrees.

It might sound like all I heard last summer was advice but that isn't true.  On every ride I was handed a piece of gold.  It was with every critique that I grew as a rider.  I could stay in a group ride and enjoy the hills by the end of the season.

So I want to say thank you to everyone at Balance for the support.  I enjoy the conversations, the exercise, and working together as a team.  I'm proud to be part of a wonderful group of riders!

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