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  1. #1
    QED
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    A tale of two woes: Gearing and spin class

    It is no secret that I don't like hills. I enjoy the challenge of them but always feel like I am just mashing my way up. Someone took the time this week to explain gearing to me in a way I could understand, as a ratio. Yesterday, I finally had the chance to test out the new knowledge.

    In the way of context, I went to spin class on Wednesday, skiing all day on Thursday, spin class on Friday. Yesterday morning, I had planned on cancelling my spin class to stay fresh for the ride with a new riding partner. However, I checked and I had forgotten to cancel and when you don't cancel within 8 hours, you have to pay for the class. So of course I went anyway and the instructor killed us. So my legs, already broken down, were mush.

    I go riding with a new ride partner in the afternoon (not wanting to cancel on him either). Legs are not happy. But I have to say it was probably one of the best rides of my life so far. Beautiful scenery, backcountry roads, rolling hills, and I didn't have any problem keeping up with my ride partner even though I am riding a compact crankset and he was riding a triple. In fact, I could have gone faster . The gearing thing finally made sense. Of course, I kept it in the small ring the whole time and just shifted through the cassette. I still am unsure about how to shift the chainring from the big ring to the small while up shifting the cassette simultaneously. In fact, until yesterday didn't even know that was possible.

    And for the first time (don't laugh), my bike computer hit over 30 mph on the downhills and I didn't freak out and hit the brakes. I was quite pleased with myself.

    Today, legs are tired but not at all sore. I was just going to hang out at home and grade some papers. Unfortunately, I just looked at the schedule and forgot to cancel my 9:30 spin class. . and it is a beautiful day so I want to ride on the road also. Gotta HTFU. I am going to have calves of steel.

  2. #2
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    Skiing and riding, days apart? No mention of winter or windproof shells, what? This must be a west coast thing...isn't it?

    I think your lesson may have been lost on me. So are you saying that in the past you tried to shift from small to big and back to small at various points during the incline? It appears that this time you just started in small small and worked your way up from there as cadence dropped?

  3. #3
    QED
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9W9W View Post
    Skiing and riding, days apart? No mention of winter or windproof shells, what? This must be a west coast thing...isn't it?

    I think your lesson may have been lost on me. So are you saying that in the past you tried to shift from small to big and back to small at various points during the incline? It appears that this time you just started in small small and worked your way up from there as cadence dropped?
    I am still figuring that out 9w9w. When I can ask the question or articulate it with the right terminology, I will get back to you.

  4. #4
    waterproof*
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    sounds like a lot of fun!

    / who pays for spin classes? aren't they free with a gym membership?
    / this thread needs more heavy breathing
    * posted by Creakybot 2013 all rights reserved.
    * not actually waterproof.

  5. #5
    QED
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creakyknees View Post
    sounds like a lot of fun!

    / who pays for spin classes? aren't they free with a gym membership?
    / this thread needs more heavy breathing
    This is a highly specialized studio for cycling and yoga. It isn't a traditional gym. We do a lot of contemplation of the mind, body, spirit connection. And a freaking hard damn workout with rpm, watts, performance zones, etc. Total butt kicker. It has improved my riding a ton. But a spin instructor calls out gears and routines.

    In the meantime, I am trying to learn proper cycling techniques. I have decided that the best thing for me is to start going on group rides. I learn best from live people. I have trouble processing what you all tell me to do online. For me, it is kind of like taking a math class online or from a real instructor. I need the real instructor.

  6. #6
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    Cool, where did you ride?

  7. #7
    QED
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Chinaski View Post
    Cool, where did you ride?
    Snohomish. Beautiful area. Followed by pie and tea.

  8. #8
    smell my finger
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    Awesome that your feeling fresh and alive (mentally, spiritually). I have never considered myself an expert at anything and learn in the same way, by doing. I do hope you keep up your activity, I have to get back out hiking and snowshoeing (winter activities) with my dogs after a month haitus due to the hunting season here in Maine. You will soon realize how important good nutrition and rest are equally critical to you being able to maintain your fitness. High five to your continued motivation.

  9. #9
    QED
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    Quote Originally Posted by lablover View Post
    Awesome that your feeling fresh and alive (mentally, spiritually). I have never considered myself an expert at anything and learn in the same way, by doing. I do hope you keep up your activity, I have to get back out hiking and snowshoeing (winter activities) with my dogs after a month haitus due to the hunting season here in Maine. You will soon realize how important good nutrition and rest are equally critical to you being able to maintain your fitness. High five to your continued motivation.
    I grew up in a small town in northern Maine. Snowshoeing, cross country skiing, those are the things that keep you going in that climate.

    I am definitely going to keep the activity going. Honestly I don't know how I could cut biking and/or skiing out of my life. I skied 35 times last season and since April I have already put over 3000 miles on a new bike. Both of those activities just give me pure joy. They can be scary when I am facing a new hurdle, but for me, if I just face what I am most afraid of and do it, it is in that that I achieve the greatest potential for growth.

    And you are right (how did you know that?), the sleep and nutrition parts of my life are still hit and miss. I really try to be conscious of what goes into my body as far as food goes. And the exercise helps with the sleep. But just like all of us, there are those times that we get into a funk and those are usually the two first areas I let go. But they are two of the most critical for remaining centered.

  10. #10
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    Went running for the first time in nearly a month the other day, and I'm still sore. Pathetic.

    Arms still sore from the road riding/singlespeed, still not sure what's causing that.

    Can't imagine what it would be like to do everything right!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by QED View Post
    Followed by pie and tea.
    This is the money quote. All rides should be followed by pie and tea, except for those followed by pie and coffee.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by QED View Post
    Beautiful scenery, backcountry roads, rolling hills, and I didn't have any problem keeping up with my ride partner even though I am riding a compact crankset and he was riding a triple. In fact, I could have gone faster . The gearing thing finally made sense. Of course, I kept it in the small ring the whole time and just shifted through the cassette. I still am unsure about how to shift the chainring from the big ring to the small while up shifting the cassette simultaneously. In fact, until yesterday didn't even know that was possible.
    I have no idea how long you've been cycling or how many miles you have under your belt, but you should have no problem going faster than someone on a triple, even up hills, as you get into better and better cycling shape. It sounds as if you're very active, though.

    Someone riding on a triple may be able to go up steep hills without stopping because they can shift into easier and easier gears, but that also corresponds to going slower as well - you can spin the crank faster and keep your legs moving, but you won't be converting as much of that energy into forward momentum. So triples can make hills "more doable", but they certainly won't make you faster!

    My personal theory is that having a triple gives people a crutch so they never develop the strength they need to climb well at decent speeds.

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