Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A Steady Cadence


Long holiday weekend, no reliable internet at home, no posting. So sorry...and thanks to everyone who has taken the time to check in on Two-Thirds the Venture...it seems I'm off to an okay start...

Had a few great rides this past week - no slacking, no complacency, just great training rides. Nick, one of my training partners to whom I will refer in all future posts as Weasel Boy (I'll explain later...), helped me figure out some basic gear shifting and bike handling skills that I've felt like I've been lacking...what he suggested was finding a steady cadence that felt good and then trying to maintain it no matter what the terrain is like. This, of course, means downshifting to an easier gear on the up-hills and keeping my legs spinning at a constant rate on the down-hills. What I found was that it gave me something to focus on other than how much my legs were screaming, and that I wasn't getting dropped on the hills nearly as much. Aha! Cadence is a good thing.

I also realized that I hadn't really had a biking focus (and by focus I mean like in swimming where we focus just on rotation or just on the catch etc.), I just wanted to get stronger and faster...but I don't think I was riding smarter until we had the cadence discussion. I'm totally psyched now to get back on my bike and be able to really focus on that aspect...especially because it's easier to measure my progress when it's obvious that I'm not the last one up the hill!

I also did two really great open water swims over the long weekend. My Hunny was kind enough to escort me both times in a kayak so I didn't need to worry about motor boats or anyone running me over...I need to borrow a GPS and measure the swim but my guess is that it's about 1500 yards. The first time I did it, it was WINDY...the second leg of the triangle was directly into the wind and since I usually breathe only on one side (my right), I was predictably swallowing half of each wave that broke over my head. ACK! So, I figured what better time than to practice breathing on the other side? I can do it fine, it's just not quite as automatic...so I happily realized that this solved the drinking-the-lake problem and continued on. BUT NOW I couldn't seem to swim in a straight line and sighting on my weak side felt like patting my head and rubbing my belly (you know that weird, awkward I-can't-get-this-coordinated feeling...like crossing your arms the other way?) so I was swallowing the lake again. Well, knowing full well that I can't bike and run on a full stomach of water (or with lungs full of water for that matter) I decided I needed to master sighting on my weak side... that's what preparation is for, right? I took a couple breast stroke pulls and determined that I would get it...and you know, I managed just fine once I started counting to myself - one count per arm stroke, one count on the sight, one count to breathe...and I got into a groove, a rhythm, a steady cadence... hmmm...sounds familiar, eh? It works in the water too! How very cool, I thought. The second swim wasn't as windy but I did half breathing on my strong side and the other half on my weak side. Muscle memory is a good thing! Bring on the waves, race day!

I didn't make it to any parades on July 4th but my timing is true to form...what better way to reinforce a focus on cadence than with a few dozen marching bands!

2 Comments:

Blogger Wil said...

Check you out with your uber-training self! Awesome job!!! Missed ya - glad your back ;)

8:48 PM GMT-5

 
Blogger Flatman said...

Cadence is the one thing that has improved my riding the most...

Do you have a cadence functionon your bike computer? If not, get one!!! It will really help you peg your training.

Congrats on the great workouts!

9:32 AM GMT-5

 

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