Monday, July 23, 2007

Biking Commentary

You know those sculpted not an ounce of extra body fat legs on the Tour riders?

The only thing my legs have in common with those legs is that mine also reach the ground (when I'm not on a bike).

On the other hand, no one would even think to accuse me of using steroids (well, not male steroids or muscle building whatevers) or blood doping. Nor would anyone mistake me for a male in his prime in top athletic shape.

I went on a hilly ride today, short, but hilly. The Tour riders need not fear me in the polka dot jersey competition.

So here's something I've noticed: after I ride hard, especially climbing what counts as hills around here, my lungs feel really big for hours after. Normally, I don't think much about my lungs. But after a ride, big lungs!

On the other hand, riding up a hill, I must look pathetic, like I'm about to collapse or something, because I'm dripping sweat, breathing hard, bright red. But I'm getting much better at just keeping my legs peddling. I'm also getting braver about letting things go when I'm headed downhill. And that's fun!


  1. I went down on my drops for the first time going down hill the other day. Wow. Was that ever thrilling and terrifying at the same time!

    I probably look a fright when climbing hills too -- I tend to stick the tip of my tongue out when I'm working hard ... I do it in rowing too -- and I know I look ridiculous. Add in the panting, and the bike shorts that magically emphasize my already prominent butt, and I bet I'm a treat for the eyes of all those drivers passing me on the hills.

    Re the Tour: I hate it when I see men with better legs than me.

    Promise to get to your awesome meme questions soon -- I've got a section of my diss hanging over my head at the moment ...

  2. I love that big lung feeling! I walk around and take super deep breaths when I have that feeling, just because I can!

  3. Delurking to mention that during a recent spell of hot weather, I looked so pathetic after climbing a hill that a kind woman who was watering her lawn offered to turn the hose on me. The only reason I didn't take her up it is that I was afraid that my legs would tighten up, and I was far enough from home that I didn't want to walk.

    I suspect everyone but me already knows all the advice in this month's Bicycling magazine about how to go downhill, but getting the stance right has made a huge difference in how safe and stable I feel on hills...

  4. Amanda, I'm waiting with bated breath to read your responses! I'm glad you had fun in the drops. Dang, going fast is fun, isn't it?

    Dorothy, It's cool, isn't it!

    WithNeedle, I didn't see the thing on downhill riding, but I looked when you mentioned it. Is that a mtb thing? Or could you help me on road stuff suggestions?

  5. I hadn't noticed until now (6 months later) that you'd asked about the article on downhill riding. Uh, mea culpa?

    According to Bicycling magazine, the trick to downhill riding is to get as much weight forward as you can. I knew about getting down on the drops. What I didn't know about is subtly shifting one's weight forward and off the seat. The way to feel this is to get on the drops and then coast downhill with your feet on the pedals at the same level--this brings you a little off the seat and forward. I got a lot faster coasting this way, and I also felt like I had better control of my bike. It takes me a little work to maintain the body position while pedaling, but when I can, it's a lot more efficient than what I had been doing.

    Anyway, sorry for the delayed response, and I hope this is useful.