Yesterday Asha noticed my inability to properly climb a hill and suggested we work on that today. She mentioned the technique on the Saturday ride but I obviously did not pick it up.
While going up a hill I tend to do long pushes like I would do on a flat surface. That is not a great technique for up a hill; a lot of energy goes into trying to glide up the hill. Asha has a very quick cadence she wants to see and it does not include a glide. Short quick steps. This is harder than it sounds, or like anything else, is going to take some practice and then maybe it will be easier.
We practiced this going up the Goodwill Bridge. Sprint a little, stop, talk about how I am still gliding instead of sprinting. Up some more. Inwardly I am groaning because hills still intimidate me and she is driving us higher and higher.
We got to the apex of the bridge and her suggestion was not to turn around but to go down the other side. Now there are two hills to go down, because obviously we are going to just climb back up and go down the side we just climbed. She had me doing the stepping plow again too which still feels super uncomfortable, but it does work. I like that she pushed me past my comfort zone again though. I suspect she knows how uncomfortable I am on the hills.
Next we practiced the sprinting on a flat surface. Still bad at it! Sprinting is the theme for today’s practice. She incorporated it into every lesson we did today.
We did some stepping up and down curbs too. Once again I learned my technique worked, but was not great. The main problem I had is that I would roll up to a curb parallel to it which can be problematic transitioning from the road surface the gutter surface. She adjusted me so that I approach stepping on and off at an angle.
We then progressed to rolling off curbs. Like with the step ups and downs, she wanted angles. She also wanted a strong scissor. My normal method is only from 90 degrees to the curb (so rolling straight off it) and I think I scissor very little. Once again, technique needs correction. She also wanted me to just roll off the curb and I kept hopping. Took her a while to beat the hop out of me. I was not consciously hopping, I think it was due to the wider scissor and the angle; made me nervous so I hopped.
Last lesson of the day was sprinting over bad surfaces. Short quick steps rather than my long pushes and glides. That really took some getting used to. There were some extremely bumpy cobbles to run across. We practiced sprinting into the cobbles and continued the quick-stepping across them and also striding up to them and then changing the cadence to the quick-step. I definitely need more work on this, but I am starting to get the feel for it how it works and why I would do it that way.
Once again very thankful she was willing to spend her time teaching me. She is a great teacher.
I told her I would most likely attend her classes in San Francisco in May. Stuart said he was planning to come to San Francisco too. Great, then he can play the foolish foreigner who flies to another continent for lessons (he is Australian).