I’m often at a loss to know what to write about on the blog. Sometimes I’ll look through You tube videos for inspiration, other times something from Bicycling magazine will wet my whistle. This time it’s an article in Bicycling that has me smarting off.
Entitled “Fly Up Hills”, I suspect that they’re speaking figuratively, since most cyclists reading Bicycling have a wing-to-body-mass ration resembling an ostrich, rather than a condor. If lard could fly…
But don’t despair, the very first tip is something any cyclist can do-
That’s right, the men from the Carmichael Training System say you can get faster sitting quietly in your Lazy Boy, wearing nothing but your heart rate monitor. The idea is to check to see how quickly your heart taps along when you’re sitting quietly…and how quickly it beats while you’re flexing your face muscles, your pectorals, and your flabby abdominals every time your wife passes through the living room.
Of course her only response will be, ‘Ew honey, can’t you wear some underwear when you’re sitting on the furniture?’
OK, I’ve misrepresented the ‘Mediate Uphill’ approach…
What’s really being advocated is a demonstration to yourself of how much energy is being wasted when your tense up your face muscles, clench your jaw, ‘white knuckling your handlebars, or showcase every cord in your neck. When you sit ‘zen-like in your chair at home, you’ll have a very nice heart-rate. When you sit ‘warrior-style’, your heart-rate will elevate.
Take home lesson: When climbing, consciously relax everything except the ‘piston-like’ legs beneath you. No sense sending oxygen to the ‘grimacing’ muscles.
Positions On The Bike
Here’s where I could use some reader’s informed input. Of course, ignorant input is welcome too. Just click away on the ‘Comments’ section.
The folks at Carmichael advocating sitting further back in the saddle if you’re short of stature in order to get more power ‘over the top’ of the pedal stroke, and to encourage heel drop through the bottom of the stroke. I suppose that sounds A-OK to me.
But for those who are tall, the admonition is to slide forward in the saddle in order to generate maximum force.
Why the difference? Aren’t we supposed to be riding a bike that’s proportional to our height? Does it have something to do with the ‘length of lever’ of our legs? Or is it just something to write about by an author who’s having a hard time finding a nugget of truth that hasn’t already been written about far too many times.
Speak, faithful readers…we await your wisdom.
Raise Your Fitness Level
Here it is, tucked away nicely in the middle of the Bicycling article. The very tip that few riders want to hear.
If you want to ride uphill, you need to increase your lactate threshold level.
The bottom line…get in shape, man!!!
- You can meditate your way up a hill.
- You can slide around in your saddle.
- You can whistle Dixie.
- You can hydrate.
- You can try all sorts of tricks.
But the minute the road tips upward, the guy who has the best ability to convert oxygen into watts will pull away from the rest of the ‘tricksters’.
So here’s what you do…do some research on how to raise your lactate threshold level, work hard getting it done, and then look forward to surprising the guys you ride with on the next climb.
When they ask why you’re so much better riding up hills, tell them you’ve discovered a training method that involves a Lazy Boy, a heart-rate monitor, and nudity.