What's Cool In Road Cycling

Appreciation Rediscovered

– By Bruce Hendler –

Call it what you want – appreciation, spoiled, back to reality. These are some of the things I am feeling after returning from a trip back to Northeastern Ohio in December. The reason I went back was a good one. My parents were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, and nothing could have kept me away, not even Midwestern weather in the middle of winter! I knew I was back home (I grew up there) when I landed in Cleveland on Christmas day in a blizzard. I kept telling myself to appreciate the rare experience of a white Christmas, as I have not seen something like this in over 20 years! I knew one thing; I was going to have to be creative in my workouts.

Ok, I’d admit it. We are spoiled rotten with our California weather, but the week back East taught me some interesting things. Yes, we do have the benefit of being able to ride a lot, and do pretty much anything we want in terms of time and distance on the bike year round in California. But being stuck on a trainer with limited amount of time on the bike because of family commitments and temperatures, I took advantage and was able to do some specific workouts I would have never done with consistency in California:

The trainer offered me an opportunity to really work on my pedal stroke efficiency. I like to have athletes think about being very “light footed” at the base of the pedal revolution giving them a smooth transitions at 12 and 6 o’clock. The trainer allows you to really concentrate on this given it is such a controlled environment.

The short amount of time that I could go outside gave me the opportunity to do very specific power oriented work. At the camps, we teach a specific workout called a SFR (Slow Frequency Repetitions). Keeping your heart in a specific target zone, determined by the physiological testing, you do uphill reps at 40-50 rpms seated, concentrating on the working muscles.

On days I didn’t get on the bike, Canton (my hometown) has the McKinley Monument where President McKinley and his wife are buried. The structure sits up on a hill, and the only way to get up there is to climb 96 steps! This trip, I used those steps to work on explosive power in the calves and quads. Now that I am back in California, I am actually disappointed that we don’t have anything like that here. We have great running trails in the hills, but nothing that controlled.

I guess the moral is that if you live in a climate that is not ideal for outdoor cycling in the winter, you can still do things on and off the bike that will benefit you greatly during the season. You also will have an advantage of being mentally fresh, because the cycling season is shortened. Not only did this trip give me an appreciation of California, it also gave me a new found respect for everyone back there who battles the elements. And if you are ever in Canton, Ohio for a week or so, take advantage of McKinley’s Monument and its 96 steps. It’s a great workout! Also, stop by the Pro Football Hall of Fame; two must sites.

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Bruce Hendler created AthletiCamps to provide cycling specific coaching and training to athletes and cyclists of all levels. Find out more at www.athleticamps.com.

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