I was falling into a trap. I was an unwitting example of the oft-quoted ?definition of insanity.? Attributed to several sources from Einstein to Mark Twain, ?The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.? Again and again I was riding the same hills and wishing for them to get easier and they weren?t.
So, I decided to take another look. I first checked with Spinning® guidelines for training for hills through our Strength Energy Zone. As an instructor, I spent extra time and effort addressing climbs in my classes and then practicing them on my own. Ok, I found some changes I could make ? especially with the seated climb ? and then took it outside.
Duh, as soon as I hit my first hill I realized that I was not sliding back in the saddle in my seated climb, I was standing too soon, putting too much weight on my front wheel by shifting too far forward, and I was hunching and tensing my upper body muscles far too much. How obvious!
Next I took some time to find out what other riders had to say about climbing. I perused several popular cycling books, googled the topic, and read Doug Katona?s blog post about climbing. I came up with a few pointers that I was able to incorporate in my riding. For example, maintaining a good rhythm is key and gearing is meant to facilitate doing so. Grinding down is bad. Relaxing into the climb is good. To my surprise, the reader/rider was often advised to slide back in the saddle (well, yes) and to sit more upright, even moving the hands to grip the straight part of the handlebars. (Hello, and what is our Spinning® seated climb? Try hand position 2, slightly back in the saddle, and relaxed upper body. Again, head slap.)
Of course, conditioning is a huge part of riding successfully and that is what our Spinning® training does so well. Experience is invaluable and yes, we should keep trying, keep riding, even keep doing the same things over and over until we build strength and develop power. But it is silly to remain stagnant and sometimes it is a good idea to shake things up a bit. Besides, there?s nothing like attitude. An attitude adjustment is a powerful and very personal tool. I shifted my attitude as well as my gears, approached climbing from a new perspective, declared I would become (relatively) good at it, and am busy (though gradually) working towards that goal.
Now that I ?like? hills, I?m seeking them. Gotta help.
Blog posted by Linda Freeman 6/22/2011 for www.spinning.com.
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