May 2011 Archives

Small gears

When I'm on the road bike first thing in the spring I try to keep my revolutions high and gears low. Spin, spin, spin and get the legs back in shape. Today I tried applying that same idea to unicycling. I left the 29er in the garage and pulled out the 24.

The 24 hasn't exactly been neglected. I used it quite a bit in the lab over the winter learning how to idle (until I stripped out the pedal-end threads on the crank). However, I haven't done many long rides on it since getting the bigger wheel. A spring ride though was the perfect time to give it a run.

My destination was a hockey rink about a 15 minute ride away. Sure enough I found that the rpms were higher than on the 29er and I certainly wasn't going as fast. It is a jittery ride too, compared to the stability from the stable gyroscopic forces of the larger wheel.

Once at the rink I worked on agility drills like tight circles, figure 8s, slowwwww riding, and throwing a backward rock in after every forward stroke. After about 15 minutes of that it was time to head back to work.

As I sit here typing I certainly feel my legs. No strains or pulls, just general fatigue. That's a good sign. Tomorrow and whenever I am lucky enough to take my next ride, I'll be stronger. I may take that 24 out again and keep working on the high revs.

I'm jealous

May 2011.jpg
I was picking up one of my kids at a local university last week and as I was waiting outside the dorm for the first load of clothes, three guys went past my car . Two were walking, but one was on his unicycle. The three approached the curb and without a second thought the guy on the unicycle got close to the curb, took a few bunny hops, then jumped up on the curb, hopped a few more times, jumped back down this time with a 180 twist, then back up and off he went with his pals. Sheesh. What got me was that it was effortless. His friends never batted an eye and their conversation never stopped. Great to see.

Today I rode the Gateway for the first time this spring. I changed out of the snow tire back to the Big Apple with its road tread. The horse paths along the paved trail were too wet today for much riding. I rode them a bit, but where it was muddy I thought I was doing some damage by making ruts, so I mostly stayed on the pavement. I realize I need to learn how to get up off the saddle and really pump the legs up steep hills, so on the few hills I came to on this ride I practiced holding the nose of the seat, standing up and pumping a bit harder than usual.

Rhubarb's up!


rhubarb small.jpgIn Minnesota this year, just when you think it is spring, it snows again. Even last Monday morning, sleet slashed at the windshield of my car during drive in.

Finally, finally, finally I think Winter has left for good. Daffodils, hyacinth and scilla are blooming in the Display and Trial Garden. The semester ends today; finals are next week. And the rhubarb is up!

Not too much to say about what I learned on today's ride. It was just a pleasant ride on a pleasant spring day. After a long winter, I'll take that.

Serial confidence

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Just because I can do three things separately doesn't mean I can do three things in series. I think that my confidence in completing a series of moves is only as high as my confidence in the completing the most challenging move.

Yesterday I was riding the fair grounds and focusing on riding off curbs. This is new for me. I was having about 75% success, but wasn't very confident when I approached the edge of the curb. Here's the interesting thing that I found. When I was doing a sequence of moves like mount - turn - ride off curb I had as much trouble with the two things I could do easily (mount and turn) as I was having riding off the curb. My confidence in the sequence was only as high as my confidence in riding off the curb, and if affected my other moves. In particular I remember needing about 5 attempts to do a simple mount in front of the livestock pavilion because I was so focused on my anxiety about going over the curb. Once I was up and riding the curb wasn't really a problem.

So what did I learn? The lesson learned, I think, is to focus on each individual move as they approach in the sequence. Mounting is mounting, not mounting so I can ride over a curb. Later in the ride I made a mental note when mounting to read the brand name on the pedal and that helped me to focus on the mount and forget the curb.

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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