Last week I went on a ride during my lunch with my brother-in-law Geoff. He’s a Cat1 racer and quite a climber and he wanted to take me to Kennessaw Mountain. I’ve done some hills, but never a mountain, and I found out really quick that I was doing it wrong. He observed that when I was going up a hill I would lose form and start pushing on the pedals instead of pedaling through to use all of my leg and butt muscles. This technique works okay when hitting the rolling hills because I’m only doing it for short bursts of time, but on the mountain those same muscles bonked pretty quickly because there wasn’t an even share of load. I did make it up the mountain, but I didn’t really count it since I had stopped three times and almost puked. Yuck.
So on the way back I tried to pay attention to my riding style. I found that when I’m on flats or decending I have a beautiful style. I pedal very smoothly and there is even work done throughout, but the moment I either need to speed up or climb, I throw that form out the window and start pedaling like someone who had never ridden a bike before! So it has been my mission over the last week and a half to correct this little issue. I have been very conscious of my pedal strokes, and on every hill I make slow my pedal and allow myself to feel the total rotation. The burn is incredible, but it’s paying off. I can feel my legs getting so much stronger. I’m slower because I have to develop those other muscles to get them caught up, but I won’t be for long.
Today I went on another ride with Geoffrey to Kennessaw Mountain and this time I made it all the way up the mountain without stopping. He stayed beside me the whole way and gave me tips. Breathe. Boy that is one thing I don’t do well when I’m in pain. He also taught me to shift up and stand when my heartrate gets too high and I need a break this transfers the aerobic state from being cardio to muscular and tho it’s not a huge different normally, it made a huge difference while I was climbing….I was able to sustain! I was so elated…I’m still high off of it!