Do you easily stick with paceline as they hammer along on the flat roads, only to get dropped as soon as the bunch hits the first climb? Or do you catch everyone before the top of the climb only to get passed again downhill or shelled out the back on the flat? Well my friend, it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and ride some different terrain! Don’t be a cycling one trick pony.
You can’t sugar coat it. You can’t get around it. No good at hills? You need to get out there and ride some damn hills! Suck at time trialling? Get aero and bang out some long intervals!
One big advantage to riding hills – fantastic views!
I’m pretty handy at holding a wheel and cutting it in the paceline, but I struggle slightly uphill. I climb with the front half of the bunch but I should be better – and I often get dropped downhill. Sometimes, you have to bite the bullet and work on your weaknesses.
In attempt to become a more versatile cyclist, I’ve been pointing my bike skywards and hitting up some of the beautiful mountains Hobart has to offer. I’m working on my climbing AND descending.
One such ride is straight up Mount Wellington. Not all the way up mind you, I don’t wake up early enough to make it that far before work! It’s still over 800 metres of climbing in the first 16km (that’s over 2600ft in only 10 miles) followed by a quick stop at the roadside to throw on a gilet before bombing it back down into town.
My climbing has gotten better and my descending skills have VASTLY improved. I have always been a rubbish descender, on the brakes early before awkwardly fighting the bike around corners. Lately I’ve learnt to be much smoother, using the brakes less, trusting the bike and my ability to efficiently fly down those flowing mountain roads.
I can feel myself descending faster with more panache and finesse. Or at least, that’s what I tell myself. I did have one sketchy moment when a wallaby hopped out onto the road as I was tucked down doing 55kph. Emergency obstacle avoidance, now that’s another skill well worth practising!
So work on your weaknesses folks, that’s the only way to improve! Oh and of course it also doesn’t hurt to just … #pedalharder