Tonight I went for a ride with one of my training partners - Chuck. Chuck has been letting me teach him a thing or two about swimming. It was a rewarding experience for me and he is now a good swimmer, with good technique. (I assume that means it was a rewarding experience for him too.) With swimming, technique comes first then strength comes later. But I digress...tonight he repaid the favor and taught me a thing or two about biking.
I am an "okay" biker and have come a long way from last year. But I have plateaued and was in need of some TLC and some real technique. My strength cannot get me any further. I want to improve and I am unable to do it on my own. So tonight I became a biking sponge -- an earnest learner. And Chuck complied as a willing trainer and filled my brain with tip after tip. Cadence, shifting, gear strategy, butt-on-the-seat position, body position, hand placement, hill climbing techniques, when to spin, when not to spin, planning for the hills, when to push on the pedals and when to pull and how to combine that with butt-on-the-seat-position, and so much more that I may not even remember.
We worked on standing while pedaling -- which I finally got through by using Chuck's tip of applying my core muscles and pulling up on the handlebars. Then we worked on standing high and standing low and powering up a hill and the timing of when to stand. For the record, standing while pedaling makes me really, really nervous - especially combined with the forward leaning position. I kind of felt like I should be wearing a mouth guard. I tried hard not to envision myself with no front teeth. I swallowed my fear and squashed the negative self talk -- both of which have nooo place in tri training and, in fact, have no place in life.
I have a lot to practice before my next race and I left Chuck and Patty's with a great feeling about my future as a biker and looking forward to my next ride -- in earnest. Ultimately what I learned is that, as with swimming, bike technique is extremely important and should come before strength. Thanks Chuck for a great training session. I am looking forward to the next one to reinforce all the stuff swimming around in my brain!