Fun Skill Drills
43“loosen your grip. the more you white knuckle it, the more you’ll twist back and forth. it’s counterintuitive, but try to relax…it sounds stupid, but at high speed everything’s magnified. any little change in balance is noticeable.” racer posting on RoadBikeReview Forum on cross-wind handling
January is a great time to brush up on skills, and make it feel like play. Begin indoors on mats used for gymnastics or fighting sports to practice Tuck & Roll, a technique used if about to T-bone another rider instead of a superman flight end-o that’s more likely to lead to a broken collarbone. If you can get an indoor venue about half-court sized, play Bump-n-Thump. Riding in a small designated circle, the object is to be the last man standing after bumping all opponents “out” by forcing their toe to touch ground. This game is a blast played in heats for an overall winner.
Similar games can be played outside. Even the coldest days are warmed by field practice. Grass drills, such as cornering and bumping culminating in a grass criterium are good times with a bunch of eager riders in need of a mid-winter boost. Form lead-out-sprinter-sweep teams for match-sprint style grass play. In a group with uneven abilities, foster strategic thinking by restricting gears or other handicaps on the stronger riders and focus on teamwork. At least one session pre-season, it’s a good idea to max out on a grass corner to remember your lean limit. Wiping out on grass in a lot of winter clothes feels more like contact field sports sans road rash and broken bones. It shows what your bike can and cannot do.
Even snowy fields can be used for skill work learning how to counter-steer, look through corners, controlled slides, forced braking-while-turning, swerving, and bunny hopping – all useful for maneuvering in surprise road situations.
Graduate to an unused parking lot for more group play. Even seasoned racers can use a brush up on skills practice after rest, solitary road miles, or reaching a new level of fitness where the body moves a bit differently.
Prayer for Bike Handling Skills
“…like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” 44Matthew 7:26-27
We know crashing is a part of cycling. We confess we mentally avoid the inevitable and must practice how to prevent and respond. We ask for opportunities to practice skills with others.
Ponder Am I working agility on and off the bike? Affirm I can find others to improve skills together. Watch for group practice options and enlist others for a drills party.
43 “Mavic SL cross wind problems,” by estone2 posting 5/30/06 on RoadBikeReview Forum
44The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society