Category Archives: Tips

My Favorite Riding Tips

2014.TaiwanSkills1

I wrote up a list of tips for a group of women that I coached in Taiwan a couple of weeks ago but I think that it would be helpful for many so I am reposting it on here. Feel free to share it with whoever you think might benefit. As always, I am here as a resource so ask questions…if I don’t have an answer I can probably point you in the right direction! :)

A few of my favorite tips…

1. Remember your riding foundation…if you have a solid body position, you are balanced and you are braking with control, the sky is the limit. Level pedals, athletic position (soft knees, soft elbows, head up, elbows out) and one finger braking.

2. When things get steep, dropping your heels can help you to maintain proper body position.

3. Keep those wheels spinning. If your wheels are spinning, you have traction. The best riders have the ability to go the slowest in the most difficult of circumstances. Practice on slopes or embankments near your home…try and go as slow as you can possibly go without locking the brakes. Alternatively, set up a cone/stick/rock and go at it with speed…when you reach the cone, start to brake. How quickly can you come to a stop without skidding? Make a game out of it.

4. Remember to be selective with your braking. Pick spots that are generally flatter and less bumpy to get your speed under control. You can brake in technical terrain and corners but it is very light braking…maintenance braking…you are braking very lightly to maintain your speed not making sudden changes in speed.

5. Rotate your hands outward on your handlebars…you can feel the small changes in your brakes much better when you are touching them at the correct contact point which is really, really important to braking properly. If your hands are sitting on your bars properly, it can also improve your body positioning.

6. Your bike will move up/down, side/side, forward/back as it rides over different terrain using your full range of motion. Your job as the driver is to keep yourself balanced and your center of mass balanced and centered over the bike. You want to keep equal weight/pressure between the front and back of your bike. If you are nervous and you shift your weight back because it feels more comfortable in a scary situation you can potentially loose traction on your front end which means you cannot steer and brake properly. Stay centered and balanced.

7. Look ahead…constantly scan between the furthest point you can see and what you are about to ride.

8. Look where you want to go, not where you don’t want to go.

9. Check your bolts before you ride…they come loose.

10. Ask questions…I am here as a resource!

Words of Wisdom

What do I have to say about trying something new on your bike?  I gave my 2 cents to all the lovely ladies at SRAM Ladies Lounge at Sea Otter. Selene over at Bicycling did a little write up about it here.

Get on it

STRAVA. My latest obsession!

I love riding with friends because we push each other and talk smack along the way but…I also love riding solo too. The only thing about riding solo is I sometimes find it hard to push myself as hard…it is easy to back off when there is no one to chase or get wild with. Stava has given it some new life. You can ride hard on your own, go home, plug in and see where you stand…hopefully knocking some of your friends off the top. :) Basically Strava takes your ride and breaks it into segments (which everyone has made and you can make too) and you get ranked on those segments. You don’t have to do anything…I literally put it in my pocket, ride, come home and plug it in and all my segments have times and rankings. People are always pushing each other to go faster so once you set a fast time, it is never safe…gotta keep on it because someone will go faster. And then you have to figure out where you lost time…and where you can make up time. So fun. Give it some time…I think you will get addicted too…. :)

Starting this Thursday, Strava and Specialized have teamed up for A Classic Climbing Challenge by Specialized. This is pretty gnarly to be honest, but well worth the challenge. Basically you have to do 105,312 feet of climbing between March 15th and April 30th…you are going to be hurting. I am going to give the challenge a go but realistically with my upcoming racing and traveling it may not (is not) be so wise, we shall see. I think you should do it…

There are a few ways you can get on the Strava program..a) download the iPhone app or b) get a Garmin. I like the Garmin option because the readings are more accurate, particularly on trails (probably ok if you are riding road). Once you get the app or a Garmin it is super simple…you just ride and plug…and talk smack too.

Oh and just so you know…I am not sponsored by Strava, I just love it. 

Photo / Specialized