I’m crap at pedalling

It’s that in-between time now where I don’t have any big adventures sufficiently close to have to be training. Usually, this means a bit more time away from bikes and spending what biking time I have playing about – trying to improve technique and just have fun. Essentially, falling off a lot.

Weirdly, it hasn’t been like that this time. A combination of Emily being away, and me working from home has resulted in all-day-eating and my mind being stuck in a very small rut. The answer? Keeping up with somewhat big miles until Emily is back 🙂

Technique-wise, I have been looking at my pedalling, though. I’ve always suspected it wasn’t good but I finally took Adam’s suggestion and tried some 1-legged time on the turbo-trainer. It was even worse than I’d imagined. With one leg against the resistance of the machine, I could feel how little of the time I was actually driving the pedal. I jerked and clanked against the cleats. My left leg was way weaker than my right. I felt like a cheap puppet being operated by a drunk.

Turbo-training in the shed… yes the puddle is sweat!

And that’s how I pedal… terribly.

It’s easy to take for granted that there is no technique to the pedalling part of mountain biking. With all the corners and the mud and the stuff to jump over. The only comparison I can make is to swimming. I can spot a poor swimmer, even if they’re moving quicker than average, by their lack of economy. You can see lots of unnecessary movement and splashing rather than efficient forward motion. So swimmers go and do drills. In the last couple of years, I’ve even done some of these drills. And suddenly it challenged the individual parts of my stroke, bringing improvements when I put things back together.

I don’t expect such a dramatic change from pedalling drills, but the thought of “free speed” is mighty appealing. Maybe I don’t just have to mash up and down on those pedals like a dumb singlespeeder. Turbo training, riding without a camelbak, tubeless tyres. What next road bikes, gears, and leg shaving? No!

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