This past weekend was a change of pace for me. Instead of back to back training rides, I participated in a skills clinic offered by Savvy Bike on Saturday, and TRL’d my second ever training ride on Sunday. I spent the weekend focusing on learning new skills and practicing them while riding with an amazing group of new and returning ALC’ers.
The strangest thing about Saturday? Sleeping in…well, sleeping in after feeding Marty. After lunch, I made my way to Portola Valley Town Center and met up with our instructors, Bob and Annie. After introductions and some ‘class time’ we headed out and spent the better part of the afternoon learning how to climb and descend. We learned when it makes sense to climb in the saddle (long, slow climbs) versus out of the saddle (short, steep climbs or for a posture break). We talked about finding (and holding) your line, counter steering, looking where you want to go, and when your hands should be where on your bars. Bob and Annie were really amazing – they both had some really good pointers and techniques that I think will be invaluable as I move forward with my training in the coming months. As part of our exercise, we wound up going to the top of Alpine Rd – something that was offered as ‘bonus miles’ on a training ride last spring. I declined the extra mileage then, so this was my first time to the top – what a fantastic stretch of road! It gets a little bumpy (and has a few steeper sections) but is a really nice ‘up and back’. The other, not so fun, part of our exercise resulted in me losing my balance and falling…twice. Both times I was practically stationary, and had plenty of witnesses. It was a humbling experience – but, I remembered to laugh. Everyone falls, and everyone picks themselves up and keeps going.
Sunday, I headed out to Del Norte BART in El Cerrito to help out with a 32 mile training ride. The ride was a basic ‘out and back’ from El Cerrito to Vallejo and back, including the Carquinez Bridge. There were some nice climbs (and even better descents) which gave me ample opportunity to practice the skills learned on Saturday. I also spent some time practicing emergency stops, and biking at a pace slower than I’m comfortable with, all while providing support and encouragement (mostly smiles) to our group of riders. The ride was a fairly quick one – we had all our riders back in before 2pm. Afterwards, I sat in Berkeley traffic on interstate 80 (shocker, I know) as I made my way back to San Francisco. Once home, I cleaned up and spent the rest of my day and evening reviewing cycling news and training resources.
This week, I’m hoping to get out on my bike after work one afternoon – it’ll be a night ride, with the time change, but I haven’t ridden the park in a while and could use some time working on my climbing (there’s a few blocks on Kirkham road that are perfect for short uphill sprints). The weekend will likely be back to back rides, a fun Saturday night out celebrating my last weekend as a 39 year old, and some time spent looking ahead and beginning to make my goals for the coming year. The next few weeks should be interesting, on a number of fronts – stay tuned!