Rethink your training methods!

"Golf pros hit balls on the range, swimmers practice with wooden paddles on their hands, and athletes in other sports do other things that improve performance by enhancing muscle memory. Too many cyclists just ride their bikes." Mike Kolin

      The tradition of the bike ride is to grab your bike and be gone, tooling around the neighborhood, riding to a friends house or running some errand. That's easy enough to do and the satisfaction comes partially from the ride and partially from the arrival at a destination. Cycling can live long in that capacity with out the need to ask more of your bike or your body. On the surface biking is easy.
      Now think about another activity like softball, tennis or piano playing. How would you rate these in terms of "easy to do?" You can join a friendly beer drinking softball league where you'll practice throwing and catching the ball. All in all it's pretty easy to play softball but it does require coordination and a little thought about the mechanics of your body's actions. I'd say softball has a long life before you feel there is a limit to your skills.
     Tennis on the other hand has a novelty effect for people who are untrained at it. Hitting the ball back and forth over the net is a neat game to play if both players are of similar skills. How long would it take before you ask yourself what it would be like to really be able to return the ball with that solid thwack good players have? If you enjoy fooling around with tennis, you'd soon be bored with your self-taught skills and go searching for a few lessons. Tennis has a shorter life span for the uncoached player than the softball player.
      So why would you even sit down at a piano unless you knew how to play or were going to dink-dink around.
      What I'm driving at is that as soon as you want to become better at what you are doing you will search out some sort of instruction. I come from a tennis and swimming background. In those sports practice doesn't mean just going out and playing or swimming. We'd practice starts, overheads, turns, forehands, backhands, strokes and everyother piece of minutia that made you a better athlete.
      When I started mountainbiking I'd tool around and spend time trying to get up and over things like curbs, downed electric poles and puddles. I'd take the road bike into an empty parkinglot and practice taking corners at different speeds with different body positions. That doesn't mean I got it right, but I got better quicker than would have if I I had just learned in the heat of the moment during a ride.
      My challenge to you is to go out and find a log, a curb or a corner and practice going up and over or around it for at least 15 minutes. Do that for three days and I guarantee you'll either come out of it doing it better, or at least realize you're doing something wrong.
      And the great thing is you can do this in your back yard, or the park right next to you. You don't need a trail. All ways start slow and build your way up, staying in control.

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