Thursday, April 15, 2010

Unicycle Stuff, Which May Or May Not Bore The Hell Out Of You

I'd been trying to increase my training mileage in the last few weeks, extending my average ride to four miles or a little more.

That was working, for my endurance, and my average ride time was inching over fifty minutes, but I noticed that I was starting to have occasional pain in my calves.

No big deal, because strained muscles are what happens when you try to ramp up mileage. Unfortunately, though, it wasn't strained calves--it was the beginning of achilles tendonitis. In both legs.

Not riding isn't really an option at this point, because I enjoy it too much. That required a new approach while I tried to manage the tendonitis, so I started focusing on shorter rides (about three miles), but with higher RPM's.

A digression to the wayback machine: about twenty years ago, I cycled fairly seriously. It wasn't crazy serious--I don't think I ever went past 200 miles training in a week--but I learned quite a bit about cycling. And I rode with a guy who was a world-class triathlete for a few years, and he'd also been a national class cyclist, so he taught me proper technique (or tried to). So I always rode at about 90 RPM, even when I first started riding.

That history comes in handy now. I rode at a fairly steady 100 RPM today (I start bouncing if I try to go higher than that), and it felt much easier on my legs. Plus, instead of riding at about twelve minutes a mile, I was riding at nine, which is a significant speed increase.

The trick, of course, is to ride at that cadence without falling off. On a paved course, though, it was fine, and I didn't have any problems.

There were four school buses in the park where I rode, and a huge mob of little kids were having a picnic lunch at a covered pavillion. When I rode past, all the kids starting yelling at once.

It's too bad Eli 8.8 wasn't with me. They would have completely lost their minds.

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