Wednesday, January 11, 2012


power camp has tough days, and not-so-tough days, yesterday falling into the former category and today the latter.
alpe d'huez was yesterday's theme: picture steep grades and competitive cyclists zipping past you up them.
spin-o-rama was today's theme: picture a gerbil on that neverending, incessant, monotonous, spinning wheel.

I prefer to work somewhere in between the two, which thankfully we usually do.

today during our 40-minute, 110-120 revolution-per-minute, zone 3A (fairly low) work segment, our coach, greer, walked around with the mirror.
our classroom has a few of these mirrors, the kind you can buy at home depot to attach to the inside of your closet door. tall and narrow in a white artificial wood frame, they have a simple cardboard backing and are lightweight. today greer picked the "skinny" mirror, my favorite, the one that takes about ten pounds off and reflects back a svelte, muscular image. yep, good times.

the purpose: to let us see our form as we ride, to catch wobbly or angled knees, misaligned feet, bouncing, pointed toes, rounded shoulders, all of those things we are reminded to correct. as well as allowing us to see ourselves, it gives the coach an opportunity to study our form and pick up on opportunities they might not see from their perch in front of the room.

when greer propped the mirror in front of me this morning, my first thought was oh thank you, it's the skinny mirror. I look great! (I'm grinning -- but I really do like the skinny mirror.)
then I focused on my form. knees look good, everything looks dead on, I don't see anything that obviously needs correction.
greer stood there, studying my legs, her eyes focused on my calves, my ankles, my feet. silence. then,
"are your ankles flexed?"
"ah, not sure exactly what you mean..."
"like are they tense? can you relax them? because what I see is a lot of tension there, like your calf muscles are bulging, more than they should be. can you relax your foot?"

okay, wow. this is the first time in my four years of power camp that anyone has ever said this to me, and I think she's dead on. anytime we have fast spinning workouts its my ankles and shins that give me the most grief.
why? because I always--fast or slow--work so so hard to drop my heel that I create unreasonable tension in my ankle. it's been drummed into my head to drop my heel, so (me being me) I am going to darn well be a good heel-dropper.

"I'm being really picky here," greer continues, "this is a really little thing."
but to me it's big, it's something I can work on, and maybe if I tweak this, these fast spinny days won't bother me so much. I concentrate on relaxing (imagine that), and know this is going to take a while to figure out. but I'm all over it, what a great insight.

and the moral of this story, as with so very many other stories in life, is that to perform best--to be your best--you must find that perfect balance between not enough, and too much.


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