Spinning

Tonight’s ride was my usual low-key ride from the local library. I like this ride for a few reasons:

1. It’s low-key. We average 10-12mph over 20+/- miles. Great for recovery riding.

2. There’s new people every ride. Only a few of us are “regulars” – and sometimes even we don’t show up at the same time.

3. It’s near my house so I can ride to the start.

On tonight’s ride, I realized something. I spend a lot of time in the little ring, working my way up and down the cassette but never getting really fast. I feel pretty good about my spinning abilities in the little ring gears.

Of course when I throw it into the big ring, speed happens. It’s like an instant 1-2mph boost. Once we get out of the ‘burbs and into the city, the roads flatten out considerably – so consistent Big Ring Riding is more of a possibility.

Since I’m working on “training” for the century ride this fall and I can usually only get out twice a week, I’m going to take advantage of this ride to throw it in the big ring and see how long I can stay in it. We generally have some hills so it will be a challenge to stay in the big ring on the way up. Understanding this will be more work – but that’s OK.

You can’t go faster without an effort.

(I say “training” because while I’m making an effort to be smart about it, I don’t actually have a plan other than to ride a variety of routes, elevations, speeds and distances up to 75 miles. There’s five rest stops on the century route – so I’m mentally preparing for five consecutive 20-milers. I’m not sure what the actual distance between aid stations is – but a century sounds so much more manageable when I break it down into parts. Three 30s and a 10. Four 25s. A 50, a 25 and a 15.)

* * * * *

Other stuff spinning in my head:

* I’m also looking at some other cycling events – the Lemon Ride (July 22) and the Bicycling Fall Classic (Oct 7). The only thing holding me back is that riding in events is WAY more fun with a friend. Riding in general is more fun with a friend – that’s why I go to group rides!

* I’m also looking at updating my cyclometer to a GPS-based model. Currently considering a Garmin 800 but balking at the sticker price. However, I think it may be worth it since I’m new to the area and would not have to worry about how to get back home if I did get dropped or lost on a ride because it’s a straight-up touch screen GPS. My current GPS-based app on my phone is great but drains my battery – and should the worst happen, I want to be able to use it to get help not curse myself for trying to get ride data.

* The bike shop down the street has a Sunday morning ride with a speed I can at least shoot to attain (14-15 mph average). May try it out this weekend!

* * * * *

See you on the road!

8 thoughts on “Spinning

  1. bgddyjim

    Your plan, splitting the century up for mental purposes, a good one – just remember – don’t sit down…you’ll get plenty of that on the bike. Lay in the grass to stretch out if you must, but walking around will shake any soreness out of you.

    As far as speed goes, and I don’t know your setup, how many teeth on the little ring, but I’ve got a 52/42/30 triple and I can maintain better than 20 mph in the middle ring. I use the big ring for 23+… Your issue seems like it may be cadence – pedal faster. It takes some getting used to but get it right and you’ll fly. Good luck.

    1. Haha .. yes. I am very familiar with the Don’t Sit Down rule. 🙂

      My roadie has a compact – 53/39 paired with a 12-30. It does well on a variety of terrain although I suspect that when I decide to start doing steeper inclines I may want to swap out for a triple to get into those really low gears and stay on my bike.

      That being said, what is the secret to pedaling faster without bouncing? I can routinely get up around 16-18mph on flats with the Little Ring but throwing it into the Big Ring means I can hit 17-20 with less furious effort.

      I really need to get a cadence sensor because I have no clue what I’m currently spining at … but that will probably wait because if I upgrade to a GPS-based cyclometer some bundles come with one.

      1. I don’t like my triple – I won’t use it enough to warrant it. If you’re happy with your double, stick with that – I have to worry about cross-chaining quite a bit where you won’t. As far as computers, I don’t have one either. I used a trainer all winter long and counted strokes for 15 seconds then multiplied by 4.

    2. Haha .. yes. I am very familiar with the Don’t Sit Down rule. 🙂

      My roadie has a compact – 53/39 paired with a 12-30. It does well on a variety of terrain although I suspect that when I decide to start doing steeper inclines I may want to swap out for a triple to get into those really low gears and stay on my bike.

      That being said, what is the secret to pedaling faster without bouncing? I can routinely get up around 16-18mph on flats with the Little Ring but throwing it into the Big Ring means I can hit 17-20 with less furious effort.

      I really need to get a cadence sensor because I have no clue what I’m currently spining at … but that will probably wait because if I upgrade to a GPS-based cyclometer some bundles come with one.

      1. The trick with bouncing (or rocking – and there’s a huge difference, and it’s important) is saddle height.

        If you’re bouncing your saddle is too low. If you’re rocking (side to side at your hips to get your foot to the bottom of the pedal stroke), it’s too high.

        To fix that, have a friend hold your bike with you on it, by the seat post. Unclip your feet (if you have the clip in pedals) and put your heels on the center of the pedal spindle. Pedal backwards at a slow to medium pace… You want to bottom out, where your leg is straight, but you don’t want to rock to do it. Re-adjust your saddle until you’ve got it just right… When you pedal with the balls of your feet, you should be perfect.

        After you’ve ridden like that for a few days, take stock of how it feels… Sore spots? Lower just a hair (1 mm at a time). Knees sore? Front means raise the saddle, back means lower. You should be able to dial it in within 1 mm that way.

      2. I just had my bike adjusted and re-fit at the shop and it finally is starting to feel more like cycling nirvana again. Tuesday was my first spin on the new settings and it felt great.

        So the geometry is there – I’ve been trying to get the gearing just right to avoid bouncing. I find that if I gear down, the bouncing abates whereas if I am too low (up) on the gears, my power is being wasted.

      3. That’s great that you had it re-adjusted. If you’re still bouncing a bit, try rounding out your pedaling stroke so it’s not so much and up and down push, you’re looking for a fluid circular motion. That’s what I do if I start bouncing a bit (and it does happen from time to time, but I’m up as high as I can go with the saddle before I develop saddle sores).

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