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March 7th, 2009:

7th training ride, Fayetteville Hill Clinic

On Saturday the 7th of March, I went out to Fayetteville Texas for a hill training clinic. This was put on my the Houston Cycling Centres. A group of three bike stores in the Houston area. This is actually my second time going to the clinic. I also met up with a lot of people that I kinda know through the organization, Bayou City Outdoors. These are fun and out going people that make the event entertaining for me. Plus they give me lots to photograph! You can go to my facebook page and see all these photos with the peoples names and whatnot, but here is were I’ll spend a little time just talking about the overall event for me.

Unlike last year, this year I drove out by myself. The drive took about 1.5 hrs and it was fast and simple. Had plenty of time to listen to some of my new music I downloaded earlier in the week. At first the day was looking pretty gray and overcast. There was a bit of a chill in the air, but nothing really requiring a jacket or long pants. Interesting thing was, while I was driving up, I realized I had fogotten my biking socks. You may ask, what’s the difference? Well the biking sock is thinner than your regular old cotton sports sock. And it also wicks mosture away from the foot keeping your foot dry in that tight biker shoe. Turned out to not be a problem. The clinic folks bring lots of equipment and stuff to sell. So i picked up a pair for $10 right there when i walked it. One of my photos has a picture of the area where I got it.

The clinic takes place in a historic old building that is some sort of meeting hall. It is defitiely very cool. Very spacious inside. Granted there were probably only about 50 people there, but the hall held everything and everyone. It’s also in a great spot to quickly be able to hop on the road and get started with your cycling. Traffic is non existant.

After some morning announcements from Bob, we split off into first seminar of my choice. There were three seminars going on at once, I chose Trainer and gears. James spent mostly the time taking about gears and some ratios. Kinda technical, but also good knowledge about your bike & gears. For this we were outside in a circle mounted up on fixed trainers.

After that, the hour for the seminar went fast, I moved off to another area and was lectured about candence and speed by Cindy, another employee of the Houston Cycling Centres. She has an aggressive brash in your face style, but it’s good. This is where, based on a few of my questions, cindy gave me some tips and suggestions on how to improve my over all performance on the bike. Essentially by keeping up my cadence, I can ride more effientally, fast and longer. She also gave me tips on what I needed to do to reach that goal.

When we finished up with the Cadence seminar, it was then time to ride. The temp was just right and the skys were overcast. The only thing was that there was plenty of was wind! Gathering up my bike and stuff, i moved out to the front of the Hall and got in line to be placed in my pace group. What surprised me the most was that I was one of three people in the 16-18mph speed group. Honestly that is a little faster than what I’m used to, but i decided to push a little bit.  For our group we had two riders from the Southwest Cycling Club. These guys are hardcore and know their stuff. Super fast and very knowledgable. Bill is a 50yearold guy and Chris is twenty something. We rolled out. For the first half i rode with Bill. We talked a lot about gearing and where to be in your gears before hitting the hill and what do to IN the hill. I tried to execute it on the biggest hill in the ride, Lomo. Which IS very steep, but not too long. I think I was too excited and totally bonked on the hill. I underestimated how hard it was going to be on getting up that hill and quickly ran out of steam climbing it.

We continued on and at the half way point I changed instructor. This guy and I talked more about how to stand on the bike while climbing and when to climb up and shift on the hill. There was another long sloping hill in the second part and we repeated it three times. We finished cruzing on in back to the meeting hall.

Awaiting us there was lunch which were some sandwiches and chips. Tasty!
Following lunch was again three seminar at once and you had to choose which one you wanted to go to. I picked the Hydration and supplements one. Cindy talked a lot about carbohydrates and about how much you need while riding. It was also a seminar to discuss the vast amount of product that is on the market. Very informational for me.

By this time things were starting to slow down some. So socializing was happening and they had busted out with the adult beverages. They began the final lecture with Hunter Allen at 5pm. Basically he was talking about taking the training to the next level by using a Power Meter on the bike. These are expensive, from $1000 to $3000 depending on the manufacturer! At 5:30pm, hunger had set back in and a few of use jumped on the dinner. i got a picture of it, it was very good stuff. there was also a banana cream pie that is supposedly to die for, but I don’t like bananas!

Pretty much after dinner, I wrapped it up and got on out of there. I had 1 1/2 hr drive to get home and it was getting late. And after a big dinner I knew it was going to be hard to stay awake while driving home.

Over all my experience with the clinic is very positive. But to be honest, at this point I’m not longer a novice. I’ve done the ms150 and know how to climb hills. The clinic is invaluable for those who are new to the whole MS150 ride, but for those who are already familiar with nutrition and know how to climb hills, the return you get back from the trip is much less. It is worth it to keep you eyes peeled to see who they bring in for the “big” seminar. Allen Hunter spent pretty much all day with the folks who really wanted to know about power meters. If you are at that level, then I can see it being well worth you while! I’m sure that they will bring another worth while guest next year.