Tuesday, November 4, 2014

First Hill intervals - learning as I go

Today I did Hill intervals on the Wattbike. An acquaintance posted the article link of "Make hills your friend & improve your cycling fitness dramatically" yesterday on his Facebook.

I read the article and realised that I never really do any hills when I cycle, not even on the road. I always plan my routes according to the flat areas and this is not doing my cycling any good.

Today was the first time ever I really did hill training while standing. Yes, I do peddle standing up when on the trails to conquer steep inclines but today I did hill intervals of about 15-20 seconds standing. IT WAS FREAKIN HARD!

The first thing I noticed was how my heart rate climbed to 160-165. I then felt how my quads, hamstrings and calves were screaming "tired" or "stop!" They were working hard to peddle and keep me upright. The last thing I noticed how out of breathe I was. One time I had to stop peddle altogether to catch my breathe.

I am learning as I go with the cycling. Still very new in all of this. As I type this my legs and glutes are TIRED and I know I am going to be so stiff tomorrow but the training will be all worth it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Differences in saddles

When I started with cycling earlier this year, it took me about 4 weeks to get used to the saddle on my mountain bike. The reason for this is because it was much more narrow than the ones you find on the Stationary bikes in the gym.

The stationary bikes in the gym was the only "bikes" I rode until my Coach told me about his passion for mountain biking and the more he talked about it, the more I got convinced that this sounds like such an exhilarating sport which I just had to try.

First I want to show you what the stationary bikes saddles look like in the gym. Notice how wide they are.

Right, now I am going to show you what my mountain bike saddle look like.

The following saddle is the one you find on Spinning bikes in the gym:

This one is the ones you find on the Wattbikes in the gym.

You see the difference in width on all these saddles. Now you can grasp why it took me about 4 weeks to get used to my saddle on my mountain bike because it's so much narrower. When I started riding, it felt as if my pubic bone wanted to fell out of my body and chaffing was the worst. 

But now that I am used to the more narrow saddle, I have discovered on Monday that I don't like the ride the normal stationary bikes with the wide saddles anymore. On Monday I warmed up for 10 minutes on the normal stationary bikes and the saddle was so uncomfortable. I immediately felt disgusted because the riding on the stationary bike just did not feel right. Felt as if I was sitting on a huge chair while riding a bike. 

Seems I am now converted ;) Love the narrow saddles on the Spinning and Wattbikes as well as my mountain bike :)

Next step is to do research on all types of saddles as I am buying myself a proper mountain bike end of November. Can't wait. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

My progression on the trails

A few months back I was still very much cautious when out on the trails with my MTB. 

I took it slow around corners, almost stopping dead before taking the turns. Not peddling fast enough to go over steep obstacles which resulted in the bike either going backwards or me falling over sideways. I've also tried to avoid rock gardens as much as possible after I've cut open my leg badly when I rode over a rock garden and lost control of my bike. Riding around holes and not attempting to jump them.

Yesterday I had a very short trail run at local MTB trails. I went to spent time with my parents there but also to rather practice skills than distance.  

The trails yesterday was very technical due to a lot of rocks everywhere on the single tracks. There was a lot of holes as well and very uneven ground area rather than smooth trails than previously.

I decided to tackle the trails with a different attitude. Yesterday I bunny hopped, took the corners with speed while leaning into the corners. Was very chuffed when I mastered the corners smoothly every time without going over the edge on the corner into the bushes :) I've also peddled faster to overcome the steep obstacles smoothly without rolling backwards or falling sideways. 

I have however made one or two errors in letting my peddle get caught over small incline obstacles, which almost resulted in my falling off the bike. I do try to concentrate each time to keep the peddles centered but sometimes forget. Need to work on this a bit more.

I am happy with what I have achieved with yesterday's short trail run with my bike. Here's to next time!

Friday, September 26, 2014

What I learned about MTB today from Coach Will

Today I learned something new regarding cycling races.

My Coach and I almost always talk about cycling in my training sessions at the gym. A bit of background about him. He have been riding for a few years now and at the moment he do MTB races which consist of distances of 70km and more. 

Today he told me that he entered a race for next weekend because the climbing was 800m which was not that bad. I told him: "Oh, so that's what you are looking at when you enter races?" He said that when he sees races above 1000m he knows that those will take him more than 4 hours to complete but under 800m will take him between 2-3:30 hours to complete. "Not so bad," he said.

It was really interesting in hearing what he takes into consideration upon deciding what race to enter. For me I look at the distance of the race and not the climb. I look at where it's held as well but never considered looking at the climb of the race.

My Coach is very competitive. It's very interesting hearing how he trains as I take notes and try to apply it to my training. He told me what to do on the Wattbikes in the gym as well, which I am grateful for.

It's interesting to also see how my Coach differs to me regarding cycling. How he trains, how he enter races, etc. For me, cycling is about fun. I'm in it for how good it is for my soul, not to really better my times but rather my distance as I would not mind to build enough endurance in order to do stage races. 

Love learning more about cycling each day, thankful for those sharing their knowledge with me. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Cycling is such an accepting sport

After my ride today it came to me how cycling have opened a whole new world to me. 

It is as if I was accepted more easily by others, than when I was bodybuilding. 

I was accepted into a non profit organisation cycling team this past weekend to ride for the MTB Momentum 94.7 challenge on 8 November 2014.

I was accepted into an awesome online Cycling community on Facebook. 

I have something in common with more people in my fitness world than when I was bodybuilding.

We all just want to be accepted and for me which came from being 124kg 4 years back,  I want to feel part of this incredible exhilarating fitness world and the cycling world give me that.

In bodybuilding I struggled to find people who would speak to me regarding diets, the strong mindset you need and how to get through it all.

In the cycling world everyone is open about training, nutrition, races, having get together rides, etc. I love it.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cycling, an instant gratification sport

I think this is why I like cycling, because it is an instant gratification I get when I hit a set goal I've set out for myself.

Today I've set out a 20km goal. I did not want to stop until I've hit this mark. I did it. I've hit my mark. It was instant gratification on the spot.

This past weekend we've visited new MTB trails and although we had to stop after 4km due to hubby hurting his wrist,  the 4km I did was still great.  A new piece of trail done and it felt great. Instant gratification.

Or when I get to climb an incline or hill which I previously did and it's easier, due to my legs getting stronger.  Boom! Instant gratification!

I like sports where I get instant gratification.  Tennis is like this as well.  I just love it.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Cyclists greeting each other

Today I was back in the saddle after 2 weeks of no riding.

My goal for today's ride was just to have a chilled ride and take in surroundings. I want to take photos along the way to show you guys/gals but I think about my own safety instead. Stopping along the way to take photos is not a good idea.

I love the fact that when you pass a rider, MTB or roadie rider, they all greet you. They are such friendly people. Even SOME of the pedestrians will make an effort to greet you. I love how we all show love and compassion for each other like this.

Cycling is a whole different world from running. I've never really came across a runner/s who greet you when you pass them. Not like in cycling. Even when I go trail cycling, the cyclists greet each other.

I do enjoy trails more than road cycling. With trails you are in nature where no motor vehicles are. There's no noise of the city. It's quiet. With trails there's obstacles as well which is so much fun. The road is one long pathway with no obstacles. Can get boring at some stages. I know there are riders which ride road to get to trails, ride the trails and then ride road back home. But I can't. I don't have a cycling buddy. I have to stay on the roads where many people can see me if something happens.

Strange thing today: With being just chilled about my ride instead of seeing how fast I could cycle, I cycled 15km/ph which is way faster than normal. Seems I need to relax and enjoy riding to result in better results :)

What I saw today:

- Beautiful wooden crafted sculptures in front of someone's gate entrance;
- A man made out of tins in front of a motor vehicle repair shop;
- Heard lovely birds sing;
- Nature reserve which was very dry but that's normal this time of year (Winter);