Riding a bike flattens your bum
From beginner to alpine marathon: Rose Goldman blogs!
Part 1: What is this road bike blog about?
The short answer is cycling. One could also say that alcohol played a crucial role. Thanks to the fact that my biggest incentive is fear and a little too much wine, I've been slowly starting to figure out how to ride a bike. Or rather, how to survive a 7-day adventure called the Haute Route: over 800km, more than 20,000 meters in altitude, starting in Innsbruck and finishing in Venice.
Not worth talking about? Well, maybe so. Because even though I've been cycling for many years now, I would still consider myself a newcomer. 160 kilometers was the longest distance that I have done on the bike so far. And by no means in record time.
In addition, bigger mountains and climbs in my home country England are not there - because I come from London. We may have a few hills there, but they are nothing compared to the Alps. Now I live in Munich and can even see the mountains. But my too great respect has kept me away from them until now.
I'm not a cycling nerd and if you had asked me about my watt values until recently, the first thing that would have come to my mind would be lightbulbs. But now it's too late to back down. I have to go through the whole thing and I would be happy if you accompany me on my way - or at least on the part that you like.
Let's pursue one goal together: No matter whether just cucumbering around on the bike in the mountains or completing a first real competition - together we can try to overcome our inner weaker self.
From bike fitting to nutrition to training and stretching, I'll be going through everything in the coming weeks and months - or at least the legal part of it. I will forego EPO and unfortunately I do not have access to a private blood bank either.
But I will take as many cycling experts as possible to my chest and I want to share with you what I will discover and experience on my way to the Haute Route. Hopefully I can show you how to become safer on your racing bike, improve your training, unwind more and more kilometers and spend a lot of time in the most beautiful sport in the world - racing bikes!
Do you have a cycling related question? Than let me know!
Part 2: roller riding and buttock pain
It hurts, a lot. I'll list all the parts of the body that hurt me so that you can get a good picture of my pain. My butt comes first on the pain list. Then my legs, followed closely by the shoulders. And then everything else.
The sweat is dripping from my forehead, my face has turned an unnaturally red color, my lower lip does weird things and the women's magazine on the coffee table tries to tell me how I'm fit and can be sexy. I don't find it funny at all. But worst of all, I just can't move and even the rear wheel has been removed from my racing bike!
Welcome to training on the reel! Why do you do that? Well, roller riding is the answer to many questions in cycling: How can I train when the weather apocalypse is raging outside or it just snows again in April? How do I get the most out of my few hours of training if you also want to earn money at the same time? How can I watch TV at the same time while cycling? The answer is always: on the reel. (Or, if you are particularly masochistic, take a free role.)
What sometimes annoys me about cycling is that you just have to know some things because nobody explains them to you. But I think like Donald Rumsfeld - there are just things that I know that I don't know about. The roller trainer is a good example of this.
So far I've assumed that the pros train in the south in winter and everyone else just takes a break while it's cold outside (apart from a few crazy people who also drive in winter). Instead, the professionals and many amateur athletes train on roller trainers in winter! And every racing cyclist (and every coach!) I spoke to simply assumed that of course I also own a roller trainer.
In the end, I could only be amazed at this apparent self-evident fact - and then just buy a roller trainer. Anyone who wants to tackle a longer distance in the summer has one. And as soon as you start to think a little more about your own training plan, it also makes sense.
Entry-level roller trainers are available from 150 euros. These models are cheap, but they also make more noise and don't have as many setting options. For more money, you get more functionality and the device is no longer as loud. The most expensive roller trainers are called "smart trainers" because they can and actually know more: performance analysis, route simulation and competitions against other athletes who sweat on their roller trainer but cannot move. But no matter how expensive, you can train properly on all of them.
In the beginning, my bike trainer was mostly in the corner and stared at me reproachfully to remind myself that the thing is not just decoration, but that you have to use it. But honestly, the roller trainer was one of the best investments I could make in my training, closely followed by a personalized training plan that included the roller trainer. Because in the end my back and legs will be grateful for this preparation.
Part 3: My very first mountain!
Last month on the way home from Munich to Stuttgart I received the following message? "Are you coming with me tomorrow? We leave early, the weather should be good. We cycle across Kühtai and on the other side we turn around and do it again. ”It was my own fault. I said that I finally have to start driving mountains. But when I said that, I thought the expression on my face was conveying a clear message that this was going to happen sometime in the distant future. But sometimes even an advertising slogan makes sense: Just do it. Just do it. And that's why I did it.
The Kühtai, not far across the border in Austria, is often referred to by cyclists as a “beautiful mountain”. I definitely can't sign that. Completely different expressions flashed through my mind as I stomped up there with burning legs while the road in front of me only got steeper and steeper.
But “beautiful” means something very specific in cyclist jargon: the mountain lets you breathe deeply. Yes, it goes uphill, but the road flattens out a little again and again. So you can take a breath, have a drink - and then move on. That makes the Kühtai a good "training mountain". If you start in Kematen and drive to the top of the pass, that's 1400 meters in altitude. Not bad for a beginner. Below were a few valuable tips for me in short: Take a jacket, gloves and leg warmers, it gets cold upstairs. Drive your own pace. Do you have sunscreen? Good luck, see you upstairs!
In all honesty, I was pretty nervous. Especially when after 20 minutes someone in our group joked “And where does the mountain finally begin?”. But seen positively: At this point in time, the group has not left me behind! So I was able to keep up for at least 20 minutes.
The rest was quite an effort, but it wasn't impossible. And it hasn't made me question all of my previous decisions about starting cycling. As was the case with many other bike tours.
The landscape at Kühtai is beautiful, which distracts you from the pain in your legs. And there is a pizzeria upstairs - what more could you want! At the top I felt like Rocky Balboa on the steps, Sir Hillary on Mt. Everest or whatever was the name of the first person to conquer the north face of the Eiger. It feels good.
Aaaaaaber, after such a high flight it has to go downhill again of course. Literally. I almost forgot because of the success of the promotion, the delicious pizza and the great people around me. What you drive up you have to drive down again. Especially when you've parked the car at the bottom.
It was awful! Terrible from start to finish. And especially on a steep ramp in the middle, when I had to stop at a bus stop just to get along a bit. Since I hadn't seen a bus in the whole day, waiting wasn't an option. I always thought I was a good cyclist, but when the bike hurtled down into the valley with me, wobbled under me and smelled of burnt brake pads, I couldn't even remember my own name!
It turns out I don't have any downhill talent, which is a problem. In the end I reached the bottom, got congratulations and a can of Spezi, but on the descent I hated every second.
I can't say that thanks to the downhill tips I've received since then, I've become an absolute pro. But the joy of spending the day in the saddle and with friends, making it to the summit on your own, outshines the terrible thoughts I had during the descent. I would do it again tomorrow.
And I know that cycling is a skill, a skill that can be learned. Here are a few helpful downhill tips that have helped me. Some of these are a bit obvious, but this was the first time I heard them!
- John Findley from Palmare Coaching advised me not to overwhelm my balance bikes. You should either steer or brake and not both at once. So slow down before you go into the bend.
- Don't look at your front wheel, look where you are going!
- Try to actively relax, even if it's only for a few seconds! This allows your hands to recover briefly from braking and are ready when you need them and not cramped.
- Keep the center of gravity as low as possible and shift back as far as possible.
- Did you know: The front brake decelerates better and faster than the rear. I did not know it….
- You can brake harder than you think. A bit of stuttering brake (always briefly pulling the brake on and then releasing it) is a great way to keep your own speed within limits.
My opinion is: the more you hate something necessary, the more you should take care of it. And if you have to start with a small, flat practice run, then that's the way it is.
Many women (and men!) I have spoken to have admitted that they find the descent a lot worse than the climb. This shouldn't be an excuse for me, just a sign that you just have to practice some things and you shouldn't worry if it's not so easy at the beginning. The sooner you get into it, the sooner it ceases to be a challenge. Who knows, maybe I will become someone who just loves the slopes. I don't think so, though, that this will be the case.
Part 4: Good wheel strokes and first attempts at screwing
“Let me know how it went. I always find it exciting to hear from people who set themselves unattainable goals! ”One of my cycling friends recently said goodbye when I told him that I would be competing in the Haute Tour Dolomites.
Ah, that's probably the typical German directness that everyone always talks about. My compatriots, the British, do not have this ability - hardly anyone here says exactly what they mean. Two examples: If a British man mentions something “apropos” at the end of a conversation, that was certainly the main reason for the conversation. Or "That was definitely my mistake." Means: "It was 100 percent your fault!"
Well, signing up for the Haute Route was definitely my own mistake, but keeping telling myself what a HUGE MISTAKE it was doesn't help me either. Yes, I want to ride the Haute Route Dolomites. Yes, I know that it is 800 km and 20,000 vertical meters in 7 days. Yes i'm working out. Yes, I know it will be painful. Tell me something new!
Because there are quite a few tips that I don't know and that would actually be helpful. But luckily there is Google. What does 50/34, 11-32 mean? I don't know, but Google knows and so do I now. Not knowing something is nothing to be afraid of and nothing to be embarrassed about.
Those who want to climb mountains should familiarize themselves with these numbers. 50/34 are the number of teeth on the large and small chainring on the crank. The rule here is: the smaller, the easier the aisles. 11-32 are the number of teeth on the smallest and largest pinion (the gears on the rear wheel). The rule here is: the larger, the easier the walk. Sounds strange, but that's how it is.
I wholeheartedly advise everyone to familiarize themselves well with their bike. I was always scared of it - I'm not a mechanic and I don't have a tool kit - I have an Allen key or two, that's it.
And there was always this voice in my head: What if I break something? Or fix something and then it falls apart while driving? Or the worst thought of all, what if I can't get something right and then go to the bike shop and explain to the mechanic what I've done? I couldn't stand the sight on his face.
But you don't have to care about any of that! Just watch a couple of videos on YouTube and start with something simple like “change handlebar tape”, “how do I clean my bike properly” or “mend a tube”. Next, you might ask a technically gifted friend if he can show you something - and then check if everything is safe.
Start by taking a close look at your racing bike. Yeah right now.
How wide are your handlebars? What numbers are on the chainrings and the cassette? What are chainrings and where is the cassette? You don't have to remember all the numbers, but this is how you start to get a feel for your bike.
Why all the effort? Because, as is well known, knowledge is power. If you can say something about the attitude of your own racing bike or take part in a conversation about saddle height, life on a racing bike is easier. And in the end it even saves money.
It can protect you from being talked into expensive parts that you may not even need. Especially if you plan to go on longer tours and climb high mountains. If the handlebars are the wrong width, this can lead to shoulder pain on longer tours. (40cm width is a good start. If your handlebars are wider, measure your shoulder width. Handlebar and shoulder width should be roughly the same.)
And the right gear ratio (which gears you have, the numbers above) will help you a lot to get up the mountains. Some bikes are designed for flat terrain or riders with very strong legs.
Just being aware of this helps a lot when you go to the bike shop with a question or when you want to repair or replace something on the bike. It gives you more self-confidence in using your bike and other types of cycling. And most importantly, it makes driving more fun.
I still know very little. But I know more than at the beginning and I have more confidence in my bike, my set-up and that it suits me and my plans. And I'm pretty good at changing handlebars by now!
Part 5: Sex and cycling
I admit, I mainly chose the title so that you click on the blog entry;) This is about sex, but I mean the English term for “gender”, i.e. male and female, and not a Barry- White-let's-get-it-on way.
As the founder of a brand for women's racing bike clothing (Viktor + Leap), I think a lot about the special needs of women racing cyclists. And I came to the conclusion that quite often we shouldn't really differentiate between male and female racing cyclists - we are simply all racing cyclists. Of course, this doesn't stop me from being aware of the benefits of a brand that targets women. Our body shape is different from that of men, which means that our clothing, saddles and bikes should also be shaped differently. And that doesn't just mean smaller and in pink, but actually different.
Road bike events only for women: does it have to be?
Usually I ride in a mixed training group - if I can keep up with the others or the others with me, who cares whether it is women or men.The idea of a “women-only group” actually didn't cross my mind before. When I came across the RoadBIKE Women‘s Camp in 2016, I first thought: Why only women? I went anyway.
At the moment it looks like there are more men than women in all areas of cycling. A few weeks ago I was sitting in a room with other athletes and was briefed on the Haute Route Alpe d'Huez. A quick count of the 130 people present gave a male to female ratio of 12: 1. Actually, I don't care, I just think it's a shame that it doesn't more Women ride a road bike. And I think that this relationship will only change in the foreseeable future if women support each other.
Of course, men can also help women gain a foothold in cycling and have fun with it. But it just works better when more support comes from other women. And this is where events like the RoadBIKE Women's Camp come into play. To be surrounded by other road bike-crazy women who have the same (and sometimes women-specific) goals, dreams, fears, is priceless! And when I say “What about all-male camps?”, I roll my eyes harder than Merkel does with Putin.
As an avid skier, I am familiar with the backdrop of the RoadBIKE Women’s Camp from the winter months. The mountains around Bolzano are just something very special and I wouldn't miss an opportunity to go there, camp or not. The women who ran the camp were real professionals. Some had actually made road cycling their profession, others were just professionally good at making sure everyone had fun at camp. After a few days, I didn't want to leave at all.
The sense of "women’s only" racing bike events
After I liked the RoadBIKE Women’s Camp so much, I made sure that my calendar had at least one “Women’s only” road bike trip. So after torturing myself for 3 days with mostly men to Alpe d'Huez (more on that shortly), I cycled from London to Paris. And with Strongher a "by women, for women" cycling group founded by Marianne Voss and other prominent female cyclists.
To be honest, it was 4 of the best days I've had on the bike. I met 20 wonderful racing cyclists and I was able to experience both my hometown London and French cuisine on the same trip. Frank from “Bikes and Frank” supported us on the trip with his van, his calm manner and his patient humor.
During the trip we were able to talk about sports bras, period bad luck, saddle problems, sitting position, clothing stress - the typical men's nightmare topics - but also things outside of cycling. It was only 4 days, but all of a sudden I have 20 new friends and, perhaps more importantly, 20 new partners for a bike ride. They are sometimes even more difficult to find. And I will continue to benefit from the positive experiences I made in the RoadBIKE Women's Camp and on the Strongher trip for a long time to come. The only question left is where are we going next year?
Rose Goldman: who is it about?
Rose Goldman, born in England, is a passionate racing cyclist who recently moved from London to Munich with bag and bike. She not only came to Germany to live here, but also wants to make a difference in the women's cycling scene.
With her young label Victor + Leap, Rose produces functional but trendy cycling clothing for sporty women. And that's not all: In September, the 33-year-old takes on the challenge of taking part in a multi-day multi-day stage race, the infamous Haut Route Dolomites, for the first time.
In this blog, Rose reports how she is preparing for this new project with great vigor, changing motivation but a burning passion for cycling. Or just tried. With her story, she has a clear goal: Rose would like to turn even more women into passionate racing cyclists!
Or in her own words: "My aim is to get more women out there loving cycling and generally being awesome."
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