Friday, July 25, 2008

grab a big gear and get out of the saddle

I have a friend who rides a mountain bike. he used to ride a road bike, decades ago, so he knows the other side as well.
when I started riding a few years ago, he gave me a short list of advice. two things stuck with me:
1. cadence, cadence. it's all about cadence.
2. when climbing, every so often grab a big gear and get out of the saddle.

at that time, I didn't understand either bit of advice, as he used words I was slightly familiar with, but in ways that were foreign to me. cadence? well, sounds like rhythm. must be about pedals going around and around. "grab a big gear?" huh? saddle, ok, I got that.

and now, it all makes sense. I have had cadence drummed into my head (be a spinner, not a masher, spin those legs around), and I get it. cadence has even become one of those beautiful words for me. it flows, it's smooth, I like it. which does not mean that I always keep a beautiful one when riding. but I get it.
and the big gear: make it harder, stand up and push yourself a bit. give your bottom a break, and let your legs have a new experience for a minute or two. I get this one, too. (though I still am completely confused about "gearing up" and "gearing down" . . . which way is which? are higher gears harder or easier? I'm always backwards here.)
these bits of advice took a while to connect with my reality, but once they did, they became staples in my bicycling larder.

the other day I was talking with a friend about her goal of becoming "unstuck." she felt that her life was hovering instead of expanding and soaring, and she told me about some steps she was taking to un-stick herself. this is a great visual, and it quickly connected in my mind with grabbing a big gear and getting out of the saddle. grab that big gear: try something new, different, challenging, or on your list of future goals. get out of the saddle: leave your comfort zone, expose yourself, reach further than ever before.

cadence: keep going, keep moving, keep your momentum, switching gears when necessary.
grab a big gear and get out of the saddle: reach for those stars, give yourself a new experience, push just a little more than you think you can.
because you can.

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