Answers To My Questions

If you read Train On the Hills and Race On the Flats you already know that I was having an epic struggle training on the hills around my neighborhood in Nashville. I sent an e-mail the to my coach asking him to address some of the biking concerns I expressed in the post. I asked three questions: Stand or stay in the saddle? When do I shift gears? Sprint or slow and steady?

Here are his answers:

When you hit a hill, you want to keep a high cadence (spin). If your cadence slows       down too much, means you are working too hard, and you can wear your legs out pretty quickly. You want your cadence to be around 90 rpm, but that only works if you  have a cadence monitor? Another bike accessory that will make you a better biker. Ultimately, you will want to ‘spin” up hills. When you want to challenge yourself, gear down one or two gears and cycle a little  harder for 60 seconds, then shift back to spinning. This will make you stronger and you will eventually be able to climb the hills is the harder gears (if that made sense). No real reason to get out of the saddle at this point. 

Check out the YouTube link….You want to mimic Lance’s cadence when he is in the saddle (most riders when they are in the saddle, except the guy in the green, Jan Ulrich.)

Lance Armstrong Climbs Luz Ardiden 2003

This is what you want to mimic.

BTW, this is one of the truly most amazing mountain finishes in the history of the TDF. Lance rides like a man possessed!

Ok, here are my thoughts, first, on the video of Lance Armstrong: HOLY MOTHER! The only thing I identified with in the first minute and a half of the video was Lance’s big spill at around the :55 mark. But as I continued to watch I felt a little butterfly in my stomach. A butterfly with the words AWE and INSPIRATION tattooed on its wings. By the end of watching the video the first time, I had myself convinced that I too, could win the Tour de France.  I’ve watched a few times now and between the excitement of watching Lance make a post-spill comeback and the killer DJ Tiesto track, I’m about ready to hop on my bike and make some things happen. As per my coach’s instructions I will be watching again to observe his technique, which amuses me a bit for the following reason: Me watching any sort of sports-related videos in the past has been about as likely as the Easter Bunny running for and winning the American presidency. In fact, the likes of me looking to someone like Lance Armstrong for technique pointers is akin to an elementary school student council member hitting up President Obama for policy advice. We all have to start somewhere, right? I got this!








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